Not long ago, it merely made sense to deploy multi-domain Master Data Management (MDM) systems. The boons for doing so included reduced physical infrastructure, less cost, fewer points and instances of operational failure, more holistic data modeling, less complexity, and a better chance to get the proverbial âsingle version of the truthââespecially compared to deploying multiple single-domain hubs.
Several shifts in the contemporary business and data management climate, however, have intensified those advantages so that it is virtually impossible to justify the need for multiple single-domain platforms where a solitary multi-domain one would suffice.
The ubiquity of big data, the popularity of data lakes, and the emerging reality of digital transformation have made it vital to locate both customer and product data (as well as other domains) in a single system so that organizations ânow have the opportunity to build relationships between those customers and those products,â Stibo Systems VP of Product Strategy Christophe Marcant remarked. âThe pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is in managing those relationships.â
And, in exploiting them for competitive advantage.
Mastering Relationship Management
Understanding the way that multi-domain MDM hubs facilitate relationship management requires a cursory review of MDM in general. On the one hand, these systems provide access to all of the relevant data about a particular business domain, which may encompass various sources. The true value is in the mastering capabilities of these hubs, which facilitate governance protocols and data quality measures by providing uniform consistency for those data. Redundancies, different spellings for the same customer, data profiling, metadata management, and lifecycle management are tended to, in addition to implementing facets of completeness and recentness of data and their requisite fields. Managing these measures inside of a single platform, as opposed to integrating data beforehand with external tools for governance and quality, enables organizations to account for these standards repeatedly and consistently. Conversely, the integration required for using external solutions are frequently âa one time activity: data cleansing and then publishing it to the MDM platform,â Marcant said. âAnd then thatâs it; itâs not going back because it would be another project, another integration, yet another workflow, and yet another opportunity to be out of sync.â
The Multi-Domain Approach
Such limitations do not exist with the quality and governance mechanisms within MDM, in which different types of data are already integrated. However, when deploying multi-domain hubs there are fewer points of integration and workflows related to synchronicity because data of different domains (such as product and customer) are housed together. Moreover, the changing climate in which digital transformation, big data, and data lakes have gained prominence has resulted in much greater utility produced from identifying and understanding relationships between dataâboth across and within domains. Multi-domain MDM facilitates this sort of relationship management so that organizations can determine how product data directly correlates to customer data, and vice versa. According to Marcant, a well-known book retailer uses such an approach to understand its products and customers to âbetter tailor what they offer them.â
Connecting the Dots between Domains with Data Modeling and Visualizations
Understanding the relationships between data across conventional domains is done at both granular and high levels. At the former, there are much fewer constraints for data modeling when utilizing a multi-domain platform. âFor example, if youâre modeling products, then having the opportunities to model your suppliers, and possibly the market, the location where you make this product available… now you have the opportunity to track information that these are the intersections between suppliers and markets and products,â Marcant noted. He stated that outside of customers and products, the most relevant domain with Stiboâs customers include location, suppliers (supply chain management), and assets.
The ability to represent relationships with modern visualizations produces a degree of transparency and insight that is also an integral part of managing those relationships in multi-domain MDM. âItâs the ability to visualize information in a graphical manner,â Marcant observed. The charts and linear connections facilitated by competitive multi-domain MDMs exist across those domains, and are applicable to myriad use cases. âBeing able to visualize relationships between people and organizations and departments is important,â Marcant said. âIf you do a merger and acquisition you want to literally see on your screen this chart and be able to map a node to another node.â The visual manifestations of those relationships is a pivotal output of the dearth of modeling constraints when deploying multi-domain MDM.
Extending MDMâs Relevancy
Ultimately, the modeling liberties and visualizations associated with multi-domain MDM are responsible for extending the relevancy of Master Data Management systems. That relevancy is broadened with this approach by incorporating the domains that are most apposite to customer or product domains, and by visually rendering that relevance in the form of relationships across domains. It also provides a level of velocity unmatched by conventional point solutions for integration, data quality and governance when deploying single domain MDM hubs. That expedience is heightened with in-memory computing capabilities, which manifest in MDM via quickness in searching, profiling, onboarding and exporting dataâand in producing results relevant for certain business processes and functions. âThat speed is not only cost-saving in terms of labor, but really what it means down the road is that if you work faster, your product is going to be available for sale earlier,â Marcant mentioned.
Preparing for Digital Transformation
Of all the factors influencing the advantages of multi-domain MDM, digital transformation may indeed by the most formidable. Its impact on customer expectations is that âevery single one of the consumers, they think their interactions at the store and online has to be consistent…that what they touch here, is reflected in like fashion there on the screen,â commented Marcant. As such, the management of relationships between the various domains of MDM is a valuable way of implementing that consistency, and of keeping ahead of the developments within and across the domains that yield competitive advantage. Organizations benefit from understanding how geographic location relates to supply chain concerns, and how those in turn influence their customer and product information. This advantage is reinforced (if not produced) by the comprehensive system of reference in multi-domain MDM systems and by their penchant for charting the relationships that exist between the many facets of master data today.