Andy on Enterprise Software

Common sense starts to prevail

October 30, 2007

Regular readers of this blog are probably tired of hearing about me advocating that MDM vendors need to move beyond single domain solutions (CDI, PIM) into solutions that can cater for a wide range of master data types. I have spoken at a number of the very useful CDI/MDM Institute (previously CDI Institute) conferences organised by Aaron Zornes, which are pretty much the only MDM conferences out there, and initially (as indicated by its earlier name) Aaron seemed fairly sceptical about this message. It is therefore encouraging to see him starting to lean this way in an article in DM Review. In the article he bases this view on multiple conversations with people responsible for MDM at large enterprises.

This is quite right; perhaps I had this view initially because I used to be a technology strategist at Shell and so was trained to think this way, but it has always seemed blindingly obvious to me that single domain solutions are at best a sticking plaster when it comes to MDM. There are simply too many classes of master data to contemplate fragmenting MDM solutions by domain, each to a potentially different vendor. Large companies don’t like dealing with more vendors than they have to, and common sense tells you that it is easier to get economies of scale in terms of skill sets. never mind software licenses, by using technology that is capable of dealing with all kinds of master data in the same way. Personally I would be cautious above vendors who bolt on wider domain capability to existing technologies that were initially hard coded around a specific domain such as customer or product. It is never easy to re-architect software to do something that its original designers never intended. It will be easier for the pure play generic MDM vendors to add better performance etc than it will be for a CDI vendor to be genuinely able to deal with multiple domains consistently.

Having already changed the name from “CDI Institute” to CDI/MDM Institute” it’s only three letters away from ending up with the “MDM Institute”.