A lot of the master data management (MDM) vendors I read and hear about seem to be emphasizing the data quality message. Why are they coupling a data quality discussion with MDM? What is the role of data quality tools in MDM?

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Well, some of them are data quality vendors who are simply hanging the MDM shingle. After all, MDM is a new message and they're getting tired of listening themselves talk about name and address correction.

Your question implies that the MDM stack is more complex than just data quality — and you're absolutely right. Data quality tools focus on fixing data and don't necessarily address other MDM features like organizational relationships and hierarchy management or real-time linkage to source systems. But the fact is businesses want to integrate their data. In the act of integrating it, they need to clean it up, and MDM solutions do both of those things. That data quality is a by-product of MDM is a happy circumstance that smart vendors are leveraging as part of their value proposition.

This was first published in May 2009

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