Master data management (MDM) is one of those topics that everyone considers important, but few know exactly what it is or have an MDM program. "MDM has the objective of providing processes for collecting, aggregating, matching, consolidating, quality-assuring, persisting and distributing such data throughout an organization to ensure consistency and control in the ongoing maintenance and application use of this information." So says Wikipedia.
I think that the lack of MDM will become more of an issue as cloud computing rises. We're moving from complex federated on-premise systems, to complex federated on-premise and cloud-delivered systems. Typically, we're moving in these new directions without regard for an underlying strategy around MDM, or other data management issues for that matter.
As cloud computing becomes more relevant, and more data, applications, services, and processes are moved out to cloud computing platforms, the need for MDM becomes even more important. The trouble comes in when considering that our data is already a mess before we've cloud-enabled anything. Moreover, typically MDM is something that enterprise should do, but never find the money or the time for it. Instead, over the years enterprises have stood up enterprise application after enterprise application without regard for the strategic health of the data.
The use of cloud computing, while holding the promise of doing much more with less money, has the potential of driving MDM out of reach quickly. It's tough to get those doing cloud computing to consider the overall enterprise architecture, let alone MDM. Thus, I suspect that the issues around MDM will get worse as cloud computing continues to be a popular option for enterprise IT. MDM will be an afterthought, and that means major money spent down the road to retrofit an MDM solution that spans from on-premise to cloud-delivered systems, and that won't be easy. However, I'm not sure how to stop that from happening.