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Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration for a Global Enterprise

Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration for a Global Enterprise was written by Alex Berson and Larry Dubov. It was released by McGraw-Hill, 2007 and is available on

Book and Authors Overview

About the Authors

Alex Berson is an internationally recognized expert, thought leader, author, and educator in various areas of information technologies. Throughout his professional career, Alex Berson has held key technology and management positions in several major corporations including BearingPoint Inc., Merrill Lynch, Entrust, enCommerce, Dun & Bradstreet, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Solomon Smith Barney, and others.

Mr. Berson holds graduate and postgraduate degrees in Computer Sciences and Applied Math, and focuses his professional activities on Identity Management; Information Security, Risk and Compliance; Master Data Management (MDM), Customer Data Integration (CDI), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM); data warehousing and data mining; Web Services, service-oriented architectures; and middleware and enterprise application integration.

Mr. Berson is a member of Standard & Poor’s Vista Research Society of Industrial Leaders (SIL). He is also an active member of professional associations in the industry, such as the IEEE Computer Society, ACM, and Aberdeen Group’s Technology Forecasting Consortium; standards organizations including OASIS, OMG, and Open Group; and various industry consortia including Securities Industry Middleware Council (SIMC) and the Data Warehousing Institute. Alex Berson sits on the advisory boards of several technology and financial services companies. He has published numerous technical articles and direction-setting white papers in trade magazines. He is the author of a number of best-selling professional books including Building Data Mining Applications for CRM, Data Warehousing, Data Mining and OLAP; Client/Server Architecture; SYBASE and Client/Server Computing; and APPC: Introduction to LU6.2.

Larry Dubov is a recognized expert and thought leader in the implementation of complex business-driven technology solutions for financial services, banking and pharmaceutical verticals with the primary focus on Customer Data Integration (CDI), Master Data Management (MDM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), data warehousing, and operational data stores. He has gained both depth and breadth of technical knowledge in multiple areas of Customer Data Integration and Master Data Management including data and solution architecture, customer recognition, customer-centric data transformations, data stewardship, and information quality. He has developed a strong holistic vision of the CDI problem domain and CDI implementation methodology based on practical experience gained through successful project implementations. He is a recognized speaker on the topic of Master Data Management and has participated in a number of MDM-CDI conferences. Larry has held senior technology and management positions with consulting companies BearingPoint and FutureNext ZYGA. Larry formerly worked as an independent consultant for a number of companies across various industry verticals. The list of Larry’s clients includes Fortune 1000 companies and established mid-size organizations: Merrill Lynch, Bessemer Trust, Washington Mutual, Cenlar Bank, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Hoffmann La Roche, Aventis, Estée Lauder, AT&T, and Daimler-Benz.

Larry spent two years at Princeton University as a visiting research scientist working on mathematical models for optimal control of molecular processes. Earlier, during his career in Russia he gained a strong scientific background with Ph.D. and Dr.Sci. degrees in Mathematical Physics. Larry is the author of over 70 publications.

A combination of multiple backgrounds—science (physics, chemistry, and advanced math), deep knowledge of Information Technology, and understanding of business processes—helps Larry see unique approaches to complex business problems and offer their solutions.

Book Foreword

Finally we have the book! One that is from seasoned practitioners who are destined to stay on the cutting edge of deploying enterprise Master Data Management (MDM) solutions. While the web has greatly enabled our intergalactic research capabilities (in addition to the SOHO restructuring of corporate America, globally distributed workforces, etc.), at the same time it has destroyed our abilities to gather information for making savvy business decisions because it has flooded us with data. In this new state of “data affluenza,” we all need navigators to assist us in collecting, compiling, and correlating relevant information that will enable us to create a competitive advantage in the new global economy. As chief research officer of The CDI-MDM Institute, I am directly involved with Global 5000 companies and their race to gain a leading edge via MDM and its siblings, customer data integration and data governance. Clearly, enterprise MDM will redefine competitive advantage via a new acme of customer loyalty as the main driver for customer profitability. For example, numerous financial services providers and telcos still tragically suffer from their myopic focus on accounts or product lines, which results in an inability to have a panoramic customer view. The corporate evolution from account- or product-centricity to customer-centricity opens up a new IT solutions market1[1] for not only a next-generation software platform and requisite systems integration services but also a completely new level of process analysis consultation regarding relationship hierarchies, data governance, etc. Although established in the Global 5000-size enterprises to some degree, enterprise MDM solutions are still an emerging area. Clearly, Master Data Management, especially customer MDM, is not easy. When the seasoned veterans and true thought leaders at last take up the pen, we know that the market has gone mainstream and is no longer an early adopter. At this point, the potential reader should not need any more encouragement to read this book by two of the most experienced practitioners I know of. Alex Berson and Larry Dubov started working on CDI engagements before our industry had yet rallied around the term “customer data integration.” Not only is such early-adopter experience and knowledge extremely valuable to others undertaking such MDM journeys, but it also puts tremendous pressure on such thought leaders to keep pace with the volatile technology mix that comprises an MDM ecosystem (we are already looking forward to the next edition). Fortunately, as such thought leaders, they are called upon repeatedly to sharpen their insight into the “why” and “how” of these initiatives. My team of research analysts and their Global 5000 IT clients dearly value the knowledge and skills that experienced systems integrators such as Alex and Larry bring to any CDI or MDM endeavor.

—Aaron Zornes, Chief Research Officer, The CDI-MDM Institute, San Francisco, and Conference Chairman, CDI-MDM SUMMIT[1]

About This Book

This book is about interesting and exciting new developments in the area of information management. These developments are focused on new ways of structuring, choosing, understanding, and integrating information that is needed to run a business, service customers, and comply with numerous regulatory requirements.

To paraphrase Claude Shannon, the “father” of information theory and the concepts of information entropy, information is that which resolves uncertainty. Our entire existence is a process of gathering, analyzing, understanding, and acting on information. Progressive resolution of uncertainty is the key to the way we make business and personal decisions. The need to sustain new regulatory pressures and achieve competitive advantages by managing customer-level profitability and risk-adjusted return on investment drives profound changes in the way business and government organizations operate. Traditional account-centric and application-specific silos of business processes restrict organizations’ ability to meet the aforementioned challenge. Therefore, in order to succeed in today’s highly competitive global and dynamic markets, businesses are making serious investments in the new customer-centric processes and technical capabilities. These new capabilities should allow organizations to effectively select, acquire, understand, and manage accurate and relevant information about customers, products, partners, patients, inventories, prices, and other areas of business concerns.

In doing so, enterprises are collecting and processing ever-increasing volumes of information, especially as business conditions change, markets shrink or expand, companies grow organically or by acquisitions, and customer retention becomes one of the key business metrics.

As we entered the digital age, this accumulation of data has been accelerating. Now we have access to the ocean of information that was created by or stored in computer systems and networks over the last several years. In addition, we also brought with us data that previously existed only in nondigital form, such as books and paper documents. We have learned to digitize that data quickly and efficiently, and thus created even more computer files and databases, all the time hoping that all this “stuff” will be managed transparently and effectively by our reliable, trusted computer systems and applications. The reasons for engaging in this data collection are obvious: We live in the new age of digital information where the Internet and the World Wide Web have made enterprise boundaries porous or fuzzy in order to attract a large number of customers and to enhance their experience. In this new digital age, an agile enterprise can become competitive only when it has access to more relevant, accurate, timely, and complete data about business conditions and performance metrics, enterprise customers, prospects and partners, products and markets, and a myriad of other things. Having the right data at the right time is even more imperative if you consider the challenges and the revolutionary nature of transforming a traditional account-centric business into a customer-centric, global, agile, and intelligent enterprise.

Given the ever-growing amount of data that is collected and managed by the business units of global enterprises today, we are facing the difficult challenge of creating, finding, selecting, and managing data that is complete, accurate, relevant, and secure, and that is uniformly available to all businesses and users who need this data to run the business. This challenge of creating and managing a new authoritative system of record is the focus of Master Data Management (MDM). The issues, approaches, concerns, and applications of Master Data Management and its customer-focused version known as Customer Data Integration (CDI) are the subject of this book.

Who Should Read This Book

The topics of Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration have very broad applicability across all industries. Indeed, the notion of transforming business from account-centric to customer-centric enterprise applies equally well to any industry segment that deals with customers, including financial services, health care, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, retail, etc. We can make similar arguments for areas that need an authoritative source of product information, pricing and market data, and reference data in general. The same logic applies to government entities that need to have a complete and accurate view of individuals for a variety of legitimate purposes, not the least of which are law enforcement and national security.

To discuss major issues related to Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration, the book covers a broad set of topics including the areas of business transformations, data management, information security, regulatory compliance, and business process redesign. Therefore, this book is a must-read for a variety of business and technology professionals across all industry segments and the public sector. The audience for this book includes business unit managers; business process analysts and designers; technology project managers; infrastructure and operations staff; data analysts, data stewards, data quality managers, and database administrators; application developers; corporate strategists; information security specialists; corporate risk and regulatory compliance officers; and members of the offices of the CFO, CSO, CRO, and CIO.

Due to the complexity of the MDM-CDI problem space, many Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration initiatives happen to be multiyear, multimillion dollar projects that involve large teams of employees, external consultants, system integrators, and vendor-supplied professional services organizations. All these professionals will benefit from reading this book.

Finally, the topics of MDM and CDI are getting “hot” and attracting significant attention from the general and specialized industry analysts. All major industry research and analyst organizations including the Gartner Group and Forrester Research have initiated appropriate coverage or created research services focusing on Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration. Many vendors that have or plan to have MDM-CDI solutions in their portfolios are organizing user groups and vendor-sponsored conferences. Dedicated organizations such as The CDI-MDM Institute have leaped into existence and are aggressively organizing industry-wide forums and conferences. Technical and business professionals who plan to attend these types of conferences would find this book very useful.

The Style of This Book

This book is different from research and analysts’ reports on the subject of MDM and CDI in that it does not base its discussion strictly on industry-wide surveys and published statistics. Rather, the book is based on the actual professional experience of the authors who continue to be involved in some of the more advanced and large-scale implementations of MDM and CDI in the commercial sector, especially in financial services and pharmaceuticals. The book has been structured as a self-teaching guide that includes an introduction to the business problem domain related to MDM and CDI, and a discussion on the core architecture principles and concerns that should be interesting to those readers looking to learn not just the “how” but also the “why” of the MDM and CDI architecture choices.

The book includes a rather detailed discussion of the issues related to information security and data protection in MDM and CDI environments. The authors feel very strongly that MDM and CDI designers and implementers should address these topics at the inception of every MDM-CDI initiative, whether or not a chosen vendor solution provides these capabilities directly or indirectly.

In addition to being an architectural primer for MDM and CDI, the book is also a practical implementation guide that can help MDM-CDI practitioners to avoid costly technical, business process, and organizational mistakes. To that end, the book includes several chapters that provide a step-by-step discussion of the practical issues and concerns relating to the implementation approaches of MDM and CDI projects.

And for those readers who are looking to select a vendor solution, the book offers a brief overview of the state of the art in the vendor solution marketplace for MDM and CDI.

The book concludes with a few thoughts about the trends and directions in the area of Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration.

The book includes a fair amount of diagrams, figures, examples, and illustrations in an attempt to present a lot of rather complicated material in as simple form as possible. Due to the high degree of complexity of MDM-CDI, wherever possible, the book combines theoretical and architectural discussion of a specific subject with some practical examples of how these issues could be addressed in real-life implementations.

The book is about a “hot” new but very dynamic subject. All material included in the book was current at the time the book was written. The authors realize that as Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration continue to evolve, and as the MDM-CDI vendor solutions mature, changes to the material covered in the book will be necessary. The authors intend to revise the book if and when significant developments in the areas of Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration warrant changes.

What This Book Includes

The book contains five parts and three appendixes.

Part I

Part I of the book defines the business imperative, drivers, and benefits of Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration. It also discusses the challenges and risks associated with transforming an account-centric business to a customer-centric enterprise.

Part II

Part II of the book continues the MDM-CDI discussion by taking a closer look at the architecture and design concerns of MDM-CDI solutions, with a strong emphasis on the design issues of CDI Data Hub platforms. Part II offers an architecture backgrounder that introduces readers to several key concepts including the enterprise architecture framework and service-oriented architecture.

Part III

Part III deals with major regulations, compliance requirements, and risks associated with implementing MDM-CDI solutions. This part offers detailed discussion on general information security goals, techniques, and approaches. It concentrates on several important themes including general data protection, intellectual property, and content protection using Enterprise Rights Management. This part of the book also provides an in-depth look at authentication, authorization, access control, policies, entitlements, and data visibility issues that have to be addressed in practically every MDM-CDI implementation.

Part IV

Part IV of the book discusses a broad set of issues, concerns, and practical approaches to implement an MDM-CDI solution. Part IV specifically talks about how to start a successful CDI project. It provides an in-depth discussion on the implementation aspects of customer identification and processes designed to discover and leverage the totality of customer relationships with the enterprise. This part of the book also discusses implementation concerns related to data synchronization, data quality, data governance, and data management standards.

Part V

Part V of the book concludes with a brief discussion of the market landscape and an overview of the relevant vendor solutions that were available on the market at the time of this writing. It also provides a brief discussion on future trends and directions for Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration.


The Appendixes include a list of common abbreviations, a Glossary of Terms, and a summary of relevant regulatory and compliance rules.


  1. US $2 billion in software and services by 2010 per the CDI-MDM Institute annual MarketPulse report.
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