MDM 101 – Reference Data
So, the next concept is reference data which is really just master data. But it’s a little different from some of your big complex core domains. So, reference data’s typically just your simple list that you use to describe things, and most of your operational applications will already have reference data embedded in them, the simple example, the list of languages I just used. Your CRM and ERP applications both might have their own list of languages that obviously have overlapped. They probably both have the definition for English as a language, but they might use different keys to define those languages, and different descriptions. So this reference data, typically, a simple list that exists in multiple places are referenced by multiple domains, so the language example that I just described.
Reference Data Examples and Outline:
The opportunity with reference data management is to centralize and standardize these different reference lists that the organization uses throughout the enterprise. The easy thing to do would be to say, in the language example, I’m going to get both lists of languages from my two different applications, put them in one place, and define a crosswalk. So that now I can translate English from this system, its equivalent value in this other application is a different value, and I can translate and crosswalk data between these applications. And reference data is typically a prerequisite for your larger, more complex domains.
You can see here, there’s a number of different reference data examples. There are some organizations that will start off with MDM with just trying to tackle reference data. We have customers that have had quite literally hundreds of reference data lists that were being managed in different applications, they had different spreadsheets and utility tables scattered about, that tried to consolidate and make sense of them. And so, for those organizations, it was worthwhile just to get an MDM hub in place and just tackle reference data as an initial step. From there, they could start to tackle other key domains.