Does Analytical MDM Exist, and Other Tales from Las Vegas

Gartner MDM Summit in Las Vegas last week had all the trappings of a good technology conference: lots of buyers, rich content, and a little fun. Andrew White stripping during the keynote was a moment of considerable suspense with the audience wondering how far he’d go.

6 years after we first shipped our MDM product, we’re finally seeing maturity in this market. I loved Interactive Great Debate: Analytical MDM vs. Operational MDM, played out with lots of humor and cerebral acrobatics between Andrew White and Mark Beyer, moderated by Kurt Schlegel.

  • Question: Does Analytical MDM really exist?
  • Answer (by consensus): No.

Analytical and operational MDM are architectural decisions of whether to feed master data to the data warehouse/BI environment, or to the transactional environment. The MDM system itself largely does the same things: authoring or harmonizing golden copy master data. We could not agree more: We’ve been making this argument for a long time. This begs the questions: Does it still make sense to categorize vendors this way, since the two different use cases call for the same product capabilities?

Kalido customers, Ahbi Beniwal from Daymon Worldwide and Jonathan Starkey from Anheuser-Busch InBev gave awesome presentations . Daymon looked for a true multi-domain MDM solution from the very beginning and chose Kalido. Yes, it’s operational, not analytical. And AB InBev, what a story! I worked with Jonathan 4 years ago to get a nascent MDM program at their Canadian subsidiary off the ground. Today, it is breathtaking how completely MDM is knitted into the fabric of the enterprise, business and IT, OLTP systems and data warehouses. Now you know why they’re not only the biggest brewer with $37 billion in revenue, but also the most profitable with $13 billion in EBITDA.

In the Magic Quadrant Power Session, the nagging questions of “why not a single MDM MQ” came up as predictably as the sun. Gartner is right in asking the question, “Is there a distinct and active market for multi-domain MDM?” Another way to ask the question is, when buying software, is the decision always dominated by the needs of customer data or product data? What if CDI broadens into “party” data (customer, supplier, employee), and product broadens into “thing” data (product, assets, location), which makes merging the two MQs less urgent?

My view is that there’s clearly a market for multi-domain MDM. Or MDM, period. Companies are asking for it and willing to forgo some domain specific features to avoid buying multiple MDM platforms for different domains. But alas, we wait until next year.

**Updated: The video of Jonathan Starkey’s presentation of AB InBev’s MDM journey is now available here. You can also view an interview with Daymon’s Abhi Beniwal here.

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