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The Link Between Data Warehousing and MDM
Dave Waddington By: Dr Dave Waddington, Senior VP and Head of Research, The Information Difference
Published: 3rd June 2010
Copyright The Information Difference © 2010
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“Analytic MDM” has become established as one of the styles of MDM implementation adopted by businesses needing to effect a significant improvement in the speed and quality of their business reporting, often centered around one or more national, regional or enterprise data warehouses.

This is unsurprising since the “dimensions” of a data warehouse are essentially master data (e.g., hierarchies of products, customers, locations, etc.). Despite the close relationship between MDM and data warehousing, a glance at even the recent literature on these topics reveals that these two important areas tend to be treated as entirely separate.

At The Information Difference we were interested in exploring the linkage between master data and data warehouses and to understand the scale, scope and success rates of MDM and data warehousing initiatives in business. We have therefore conducted a survey into the link between data warehousing and master data management.

208 respondents completed the survey from all around the world; the majority from North America (57%) and Europe (27%). Over half the respondents (53%) came from companies having annual revenues greater than US $ 1 billion. The respondents represented a wide spectrum of industries.

The key findings from the survey include:

  • Almost half (46%) the organizations surveyed have one or more data warehouse and MDM implementations.
  • A substantial proportion has “live” MDM implementations (48% for those with both DW and MDM).
  • The majority (57%) of implementations of MDM are “enterprise-wide”.
  • MDM implementations manage a median of 4 million records.
  • Although the common master data domains of “Customer” and “Product” still unsurprisingly received the highest rankings, the mean number of domains is 4 with a median of 3.
  • A median of 5 full time equivalent (FTE)s is required for ongoing maintenance of the MDM implementations.
  • Fully two-thirds have data governance in place showing an improvement over our earlier studies.
  • Almost two-thirds of organizations are feeding their master data directly to the BI applications.
  • There is a strongly held view (81%) that master data should be sourced directly from the MDM system; some 36% were already doing so!
  • Fully two-thirds consider their MDM implementation to be at least moderately successful with only 1% rating it as unsuccessful.
  • Only 27% of organizations have a single data warehouse. Organizations have a median of 3.
  • The number of source systems is also revealing, with a median of 10.
  • Of those who have already implemented MDM, the dimensional data in the warehouse (essentially the master data) is overwhelmingly maintained in their MDM system.
  • The scope of the data warehouse implementations for three-quarters of organizations is “enterprise-wide”.
  • More than half of the organizations surveyed update their data warehouses on a daily basis with only 10% using a trickle feed approach to achieve near real-time data.
  • Despite the importance of ensuring only high quality data is uploaded to the data warehouse, 43% still rely on Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) tools for this process.
  • Most organizations have had live data warehousing for a mean of 8 years (median 7 years).
  • Organizations are positive about the success of their data warehousing implementations with 82% considering their implementations to be at least moderately successful.

The full report is available for purchase from The Information Difference.


Published by: IT Analysis Communications Ltd.
T: +44 (0)190 888 0760 | F: +44 (0)190 888 0761