Enterprises are awash with data from customers, suppliers, employees and their operational systems. Most enterprises have data warehousing (DW) or business intelligence (BI) programs, which sometimes have been operating for many years. The DW/BI programs frequently do not provide the consistent information needed by the business because of multiple and often inconsistent lists of customers, prospects, employees, suppliers and products. Master data management (MDM) is the initiative that is needed to address the problem of inconsistent lists or dimensions.
The reality is that for many years, whether people realized it or not, the DW has served as the default MDM repository. This happened because the EDW had to reconcile and produce a master list of data for every data subject area that the business needs for performing enterprise analytics. Years before the term MDM was coined, MDM was referred to as reference data management. But DW programs have fallen short of providing effective MDM solutions for several reasons.