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Master Data Management system delivers consolidated, complete and accurate view of business critical master information to all the operational and analytical systems across the enterprise. There have been numerous blogs, articles and whitepapers about how MDM helps organizations achieve business value, different approaches companies take to implement MDM and best practices followed.

In this blog post, I am trying to list down some of the important features the Master Data Management product (or the MDM solution in general) should have so that the organizations implementing MDM can realize maximum benefit from the initiative in a short duration of time.

Here is my list of key MDM features.

DATA MODEL
    • Out of the box support for multiple domains like Customer (including partners, suppliers), Product, Location and Account.
    • Efficiently manage relationship between domains (Customer to Account, Customer to Product, and Customer to Location etc).
    • Categorization, grouping and hierarchical management of master data entities.
    • Easy to configure and administer reference master data.
    • Support for localization and internationalization.
DATA QUALITY
    • Configurable & easy to implement simple and complex data validations.
    • Ability to integrate with data quality tools like IBM QualityStage, Trillium.
    • Real time support for standardization of data (Person and Organization names, Addresses, Phone numbers, Email and Identification numbers).
DUPLICATE RECORD PROCESSING
    • Powerful data de-duplication algorithm to remove duplicate records (Or identify duplicate records).
    • MDM product should be able to collect key data elements of master record which is getting added and find duplicates in the repository. This can be achieved by having good fuzzy search algorithm built into the product (As pointed out by Henrik).
    • Ability to easily configure critical data elements required for matching according to organizations requirements.
    • Easy to setup survivorship rules to persist accurate, up to date and most recent information resulting in creation of single record.
INTEGRATION
    • SOA enabled services as I discussed in my earlier post – MDM and SOA: The Perfect Marriage.
    • Support collaborative, operational and analytical styles of implementation.
    • Option to load data in batch mode. (Mergers and acquisitions and initial load of data need a faster, reliable and easy load option).
    • Option to build intelligent rules to notify important events associated with master data.
    • Ability to setup easier integration with 3rd party applications and business processes that consume data. Provide connectors and adapters to propagate data to any application, database in real time.
CUSTOMIZATION OPTIONS
    • Flexible data model and services layer.
    • Extensible business services and ability to build composite business services using existing services to meet specific client requirements.
    • Option to introduce new domains with minimum development effort.
    • High performance, scalable and standard based architecture.
TRACKING CHANGES
    • Audit functionality which capture and retrieve WHO – WHEN – WHY changed the data.
    • Efficient framework to store and retrieve historical information about master data, support regulatory compliances.
    • Track changes coming from source systems and build cross references to each connected system.
SECURITY
    • Ability to integrate with existing active directory products of the organization.
    • Easy configuration of data visibility rules (Who can see what? Who can change what?)

I know this may not be a complete list. So, I request you to provide your valuable comments about the features listed here and your inputs about any prominent characteristics which I have failed to recognize.

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