Gartner MDM Conference

Gartner MDM Conference

I just got back from the Gartner MDM Conference. I learned a lot and had the chance to talk to a lot of people about MDM and what they are doing in their organizations. Maybe it was because of the sample I happened to talk to but it seems like a lot of people are interested in MDM but not a lot of them have projects in place. I assume that’s an indication of the state of the MDM industry – while some people have been doing MDM for several years, the mainstream is just now feeling the need to learn about MDM.

One thing I learned that explains some confused conversations I’ve had with several people is that Gartner is using some of the same terms I have been using to describe MDM but using them to mean very different things. I don’t think I disagree with what they’re saying but I think some translation between their terms and the terms I have used might help. The main point of confusion is in what Gartner calls the styles of MDM. The way I describe the MDM Hub contents uses different terms but I think in general we’re talking about the same things:

Gartner’s terms

My terms

Registry Style – store references to master data. Data continues to reside at source system. Data quality controlled at source. Bidirectional data flow (into the hub and from the hub out into the source systems).

Registry Style – pretty much the same concept and obviously the same term

Coexistence Style – Data as well as references to source systems stored in the master data repository. Data quality controlled at both the source and the MDM hub. Bidirectional data flow (into the hub and from the hub out into the source systems).

Hybrid Style – again, pretty much the same definition but with a different label. We agree that there’s often a natural progression from the registry style to the hybrid or coexistence style.

Transaction style – Master Data resides solely at the MDM repository. All application use MDM as their source of master data directly.

Repository Style – again, pretty much the same thing with a different name. I think there some disagreement on how practical this style is.

Consolidation Style – MDM repository just a destination for master data. One directional flow into the MDM repository – data never goes back into the source systems. This style used only for analysis.

I’ve never really talked about this style of MDM repository. Quite a few MDM project start out using MDM primarily for analytical data so I suppose this might make sense but I look at this as a minor variation of the hybrid style so I haven’t talked about it as a separate style.

As you can see, I’m pretty much totally in agreement with the Gartner style classification but I have been using different terms. I’m not sure what to do about this. If I change to use the Gartner terms, I may confuse people who have been reading my articles for a while. On the other hand, I think it’s pretty obvious why some people have been in violent disagreement with my analytical MDM is really the same as transactional MDM stance. I have been talking about two different uses of MDM data while using the Gartner meaning of the terms, they are two different kinds of MDM repository. I think I am going to change my terms in this case to analytical and operational uses of master data because transactional has two different meanings.