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Blog: Kalido updates MDM tool

MDM, what's that all about?

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Kalido announced the latest release of its master data management solution, MDM 8 Release 3, today. Now, I have real problems with MDM, because in my old-fashioned way, I expect product codes, customer numbers and the like to be subject to data analysis like anything else and stored in databases or data warehouses as appropriate to their business access patterns (see my comment here).

If these codes are accessed in near real time and updated constantly, they belong in a transaction processing database; if they are used in time-series analyses, they belong in a data warehouse. Check out some of the “related articles” at the bottom of this one for some cynical views of MDM.

However, talking to John Evans, director of product marketing at Kalido, gave me a small insight: MDM is not primarily about data but about workflow… It's about dealing with inconsistencies in “master data” resulting from company acquisitions, the merging of independent divisions, localised usages in geographically distributed multinationals etc. Yes, this should all be consolidated in one company-wide database, but sometimes you have to be practical.

You may want to let newly acquired cultures carry on using their own codes and classifications, for a while at least; but you surely must map them into consolidated Head Office reports in a way that makes sense – and is consistent from report to report.

Who said that DBAs couldn’t be practical? Just about everyone, but it ain’t true; as I remember it, being a DBA was all about the art of compromise (well, mostly).

So, I can see a role for Kalido. Its latest release claims to assist with complex master data governance workflows and custom data validations. It has Web services-based APIs and expanded reporting options. If you don't have a strong story on consolidated product codes, customer numbers and the like, then Kalido may well be worth a look. Even if you do, it may help you deliver new services to your business masters.

My only remaining concern is that if you are the sort of developer that allowed Master data to get out of control, are you going to be the right sort of person to bring it under control again – even if you’re given a good tool? Oh yes, but it’s all about company acquisitions and global consolidations – there are valid reasons for having unmanaged Master Data. Phew!

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