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Master Data Management in Practice: Achieving True Customer MDM by Mark Allen, Dalton Cervo

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Metadata

Metadata can be defined as data describing other data. It varies from simple catalog information, such as tables in a database, their names, sizes, columns, type of data, and number of rows, to more complex information, such as purpose of the data, who uses it and why, who owns it, who created it and when, who is allowed to change it, and so on.

It is very common to see different LOBs have different and sometimes conflicting definitions of apparently simple data elements. The more cross-functional data integration there is, the higher the possibility of misinterpretations and disparate understanding regarding data elements. Metadata management becomes more important as repositories are integrated and shared among multiple LOBs within the company.

Before a Customer MDM type of data integration, the many LOBs operate in silos. This often generates disagreements, but a common understanding and a unified jargon typically prevails. Moreover, the combination of many years of operation and a somewhat more specialized type of communication lowers the chances of misinterpretations and inconsistencies.

However, there are differences among the multiple siloed systems within the enterprise. Besides, a new Customer MDM repository will generally have its own nomenclature as well. As an example, a customer in a legacy CRM system may be either a prospect or a current customer, while the concept of prospect may not exist in the legacy AR system at all. When both CRM and AR are migrated ...

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