What Does a Next-gen MDM Solution Look Like? Ready for the Digital Enterprise (Part 3)

Master Data Management (MDM) solutions are entering a new stage of maturity. Driven by the rising demands of Cloud and big data, next-gen MDM is drastically different, offering greater capabilities, hybrid deployment options, a variety of entry points, and more business user flexibility than ever before.

The market forces shaping the evolution of MDM are complex and include:

  • The need for companies to differentiate on customer experience
  • Ever-increasing and changing regulations
  • The economic impact of Cloud adoption on IT strategy
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Digital transformation strategies, and more

These and other market realities have resulted in the evolution of a new generation of MDM solutions that help organizations deliver new and improved business outcomes.

To help navigate this MDM evolution, I’m publishing a four-part blog series: “Understanding Next-Gen MDM.” This third series installment focuses on how modern MDM is ready for the digital enterprise.

In Part 2 of this series, I discussed the importance of flexible, full-featured deployment options.

Big data, big change

The early days of MDM were a simpler time. When it came to master data management, organizations were focused a straightforward goal: develop consistent and reliable customer attributes, such as names, addresses, and phone numbers. Going hand-in-hand with these moderate goals was small, manageable data. Even large organizations, who had millions of customers, focused only on the key attributes of the customer. They focused primarily on customer records and didn’t have to push the boundaries by looking at leads and prospects. This same approach was applied to the supplier, location, product and other type of data. This meant, the total amount of data MDM needed to manage was paltry—by today’s standards.

Now, of course, companies have data, often referred to as Big Data, that is many orders of magnitude larger than before. One reason customer data volume is growing is because companies manage prospects in addition to customers. Another reason is that they are widening the net of what they want to know about customers and prospects, to include everything from income, to influencer relationships,  hobbies and social media habits.


next-gen MDM solution
The digital enterprise requires agile use of data from a multitude of sources and types, including transaction, interaction, and IoT data.


Big data has ushered in the age of the digital enterprise, in which organizations must use all the data at their disposal to innovate quickly, in support of their own, unique digital transformation. It’s a big job. Only next-generation MDM technology has the advanced capabilities needed to harness all that data.

Variety yields complexity

The widening net of data isn’t just a volume problem. The difficulty lies in the growing variety of data. While we once focused only on key structured data attributes that define a master entity, now we also have both structured and unstructured transaction, interaction, and IoT data to manage.

  • Transaction data: Tells how customers spend; includes customer purchases, from point-of-sale, card swipe, Google, Android or Apple Pay systems, etc.
  • Interaction data: Tells how customers behave in relation to different channels; includes chat transcripts, audio and video, social media posts, photos, surveys, etc.
  • IoT data: Tells what customers may be doing; includes location and status data from wearable devices, kiosks, security cameras, vending machines, appliances, etc.

Each of these three data layers are more complex to manage and govern than the last. But it is worth the trouble to properly tame this tangle of new data, because combining all three to enrich master data can give deep and meaningful insight into customers’ income, interests and habits.


next-gen MDM solution
In the digital enterprise, MDM lies at the center of an increasingly complex ecosystem of data.


As if that weren’t enough, companies also increasingly buy and lease supplemental data from a growing array of third parties. These include:

  • Physician data for health care
  • Business relationship data for B2B enrichment
  • Contact validation data
  • Consumer data
  • Geo-coding data
  • Legal research data

By supplementing what companies know about their customers, partners, and suppliers, third-party data sources help companies increase the effectiveness of their marketing. When third-party data is well integrated with transaction, interaction and IoT data, organizations enter the realm of the digital enterprise.

Turning potential into reality

The potential of the digital enterprise, among other things, is that organizations can tackle far more ambitious marketing challenges. Not only will they have accurate and reliable contact information, they will have the raw tools to connect hundreds, or even thousands, of data points, leading to a very detailed understanding of each customer. This in turn leads to high-engagement, personalized customer experiences that win customer loyalty.

To activate that potential, however, they will need next-generation MDM tools. Growing data—and growing data objectives—means MDM must do much more than it once did to contribute meaningful business value. Next-generation MDM solutions make light work of integrating more data from more places.

Furthermore, while legacy MDM solutions still focus on traditional “match and merge” capabilities—the ones that were the holy grail of early MDM—next-generation solutions deliver readiness for the digital enterprise alongside a broad range of advanced capabilities that help find, improve and deliver data to the places its needed. (To learn more about these advanced capabilities of next-gen MDM, be sure to read my first blog post in this series.)

This combination of harnessing the digital enterprise, while also creating high-quality data that integrates easily into a multitude of business processes, is what next-generation MDM from Informatica is all about. In part 4 and the final blog in this series, I will discuss a very important feature of next-gen MDM – it’s ability to deliver master data-fueled applications designed to support business-led initiatives such as improved customer experience, accelerated product introduction, demand-driven supply chain and more.

For more about how MDM supports the digital enterprise, be sure to join us in February for a webinar on Marketing Data Lake where I discuss how you can build next generation MDM capabilities on Hadoop that help you answer some of the pressing marketing questions.

Missed Part 1 of this series? Catch up and read it now!

Missed Part 2 of this series? Catch up and read it now!