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If I Wanted to Get to Dublin I Wouldn’t Start from Here: Part 1

The evidence suggests that most Master Data Management (MDM) projects are starting in the wrong place and heading in  the wrong direction!

After recently watching a very entertaining “Three Shirts Video” by Jim Harris in which he talked about how people approach MDM, I left the following comment:

Hi, Jim.  Great video.

This approach to MDM puts me in mind of a story about a visitor to Ireland who is lost and goes into a local store to ask for directions. “Can you tell me how to get to Dublin from here?”, he asks. To which the storekeeper replies, “To tell you the truth, if I wanted to get to Dublin I wouldn’t start from here!”

And that is the problem with the current approach to MDM. Too many people are starting in the wrong place and as a result will never get to MDM!!!

Where is the wrong place? Looking at existing data!! This is SO wrong that it is like looking in the dumpster outside a restaurant for the ingredients to prepare a gourmet meal!

Where is the right place? Building a Corporate Logical Data Model (CLDM). The CLDM will define EXACTLY what all the master data entities should be and avoids the fragmentation and flawed structures caused by the current approach.

For example, any enterprise starting with a CLDM would never split Party into Supplier and Customer! Nor would it ever have product structures made up of concatenated free text fields, like the product example in Jim’s video, that exist in so many badly structured legacy databases.

The CLDM is the wiring diagram for MDM. Any enterprise trying to manage its Master Data Entities without it is going to waste a lot of time, energy and money and, in spite of that, never end up where they need to be.

Some things are fundamental, like the keel of a ship, the main spar of an aircarft wing and CLDM in MDM.

Another thing about the CLDM is that it totally simplifies this whole practice. Instead of battling with the complexity of existing bad data, it brings clarity and power through simplicity. It completely removes the mystique.

Ironically, that might be why people do not use!

Regards, John

In his video Jim also gave some examples of data extracted from existing databases that demonstrate how these structures can cause people to misinterpret them and build the flawed structures of legacy systems into their MDM models.

In the next two posts on my journey to Dublin I will show what these errors are and, more importantly, how having the CLDM will enable you avoid them.

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