We hear/read a lot about master data management (MDM) but not so much about product information management (PIM) and customer data integration (CDI). Why is that? Has MDM overtaken the other two, or are people just grouping all of them under the MDM umbrella?

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Psssst! Here’s a secret: the vendors did it. (I know. Knock you over with a feather, right?) The CDI vendors decided that they wanted to do PIM, and the PIM vendors realized that they could support CDI, and the data quality vendors looked at their data-matching algorithms and went, “Hey, wait a cotton-pickin’ minute!” – and the third-party data providers said the same thing for different reasons. No one wanted to hang out new shingles for everything, so they all packed themselves together under a single one reading “MDM.”

That, combined with the emergence of the current marketing buzzword “multi-domain MDM,” has effectively killed the individual rubrics for mastering customer and product data. CDI and PIM have suffered the same fate as the term “decision support” did in what is now the business intelligence market: They became outmoded (although the originals are still a lot more descriptive than their replacements are).

Now all I have to do is change the title of my book from Customer Data Integration to General MDM Concepts for Everybody! Hello, Wiley? Are you there?

This was first published in November 2010

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