Over the weekend note blogger David Linthicum did a blogpost on eBiz regarding master data management (MDM) and cloud computing. The crux of David’s argument is that while the profusion of cloud computing will exacerbate the need for MDM, the rush to embrace cloud applications could potentially drive MDM into the background at many companies. That, ironically enough, since organizations can save so much money by replacing big enterprise systems with lighter SaaS applications, in the headlong rush to embrace cloud applications “MDM will be an afterthought” and get pushed aside even as the need for it intensifies.
I agree with David that the migration to cloud computing is going to further spark demand for MDM, but I don’t agree that MDM is going to get pushed aside. The reason I make this argument is that we already have a few customers at Siperian who are using MDM with cloud-based applications, and it’s working out very well. These customers are combing MDM with the cloud in the following two ways:
1. Using MDM to create a single version of the truth before enabling the cloud-based applications (i.e., they’re cleaning up data from multiple in-house CRM systems, and feeding reliable, consistent customer data into Salesforce.com)
2. They’re combining customer and other forms of data from the cloud-based applications (e.g. Salesforce.com) along with internal CRM applications to create a single version of the truth to enable operational and analytical business processes.
As organizations grow the number of cloud based applications, they have to control the key data that they will use across those applications as well as internal applications and data warehouses. MDM enables organizations to do just that—either for enabling cloud-based applications or creating a single view of the master data across cloud-based applications and internal applications. Thus a strong foundation of MDM will be the key to successfully taking advantage of cloud computing.