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Editor's note: Join ebizQ for BPM in Action on June 23, 2010.

For the past several years, companies across numerous industries have been warming up to the idea of multi-domain master data management (MDM) and its promise of synthesizing corporate data about customers, products, vendors and locations, in a uniform manner using the same processes and tools. Customers today have a wide range of choices for MDM, from custom applications to single-domain products, and industry-specialized products to multi-domain generalists.

The MDM Evolution

Over the past decade, there has been growing market awareness and an increased appreciation for MDM solutions that are not dedicated or limited to only one subject area or domain, such as customer data integration (CDI) or product information management (PIM) solutions. Nor are organizations convinced that the best solution for their particular business need is a data management software platform whose major claim to fame is based on exclusively serving only that particular industry. Rather, there's every indication that as the MDM marketplace continues to expand and mature, so does the appeal of a single MDM solution. However, the single solution needs to be flexible enough to comprehensively expand and support several subject areas, disparate processes and industry-specific use cases throughout the enterprise, while requiring only one investment in software, services and training. This precept is, of course, the ultimate promise and goal of true master data management.

This is not to say, however, that MDM software specializing in specific subject areas is on the wane. Indeed, one need only consider Gartner's ongoing Magic Quadrants for Customer MDM and Product MDM, and Forrester's CDI Wave, to understand that single-domain MDM continues to thrive. Neither is it a forgone conclusion, that a multi-domain solution trying to make inroads into, say, the banking industry will routinely win deals against one of its competitors who has dedicated years of product development towards developing very specific data models and user interfaces for the financial services sector.

Thus, in a competitive sales cycle, where two account executives are on either side of the issue, there is a short list of generic pros and cons that represent a potentially misleading dichotomy.

Single-Domain / Subject-Specific Multi-Domain / Subject-Neutral
Specialist Generalist
Depth Breadth
Industry-specific processes & terminology Non-restrictive, highly configurable
Single subject area template Non-restrictive; highly Configurable
We know your industry You know your industry


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