I was recently interviewed by the good folks at SearchSOA as part of their 5 part series on SOA and Master Data Management (links to all 5 parts of the series are at the bottom of the SearchSOA post). The primary point being that MDM can add value to SOA efforts because it improves the quality and trust of the data being integrated and consumed (hence the garbage-in, garbage-out reference in the title of the series). And on the flip side, SOA is the right approach to solve the thorny issues of MDM integration with upstream and downstream systems to ensure data consistency with the data "truth" in the master data hub.
Maybe being overly ambitious, the authors at SearchSOA decided to add BPM to the mix as one of the series parts. (Is your head spinning yet?) Well, this has set off some red flags in SOA+BPM+MDM: Does It All Add Up?
Truth be told, I'm hard pressed to find any mention in the SearchSOA series that specifically advocates adopting SOA, MDM, and BPM concurently at an enterprise level. So, skepticism about "boiling the ocean" as Loraine Lawson puts it is justified. But having worked with quite a few large enterprises, I think you'd be hard pressed to find an organization that doesn't have SOA, MDM, and BPM efforts going on at some level somewhere inside the organization. So, it's critical for the enterprise and IT to understand the value that they offer together and how each augments the other. That, I think, is the real value of the SearchSOA series.
To fully understand the value SOA-based data services offer MDM, the money quote is from yours truly:
"In the context of operational scenarios, MDM helps create a golden record. But it can compound problems if it just created another island of data," Wright warns.
Deploying MDM to improve your trust in key data such as customers or products means (you guessed it) creating another island of data. That's not to say that that new island isn't useful but rather to make the point that MDM is ultimately a data integration problem. Data services and data virtualization give you SOA-aware tools to integrate that new island into your SOA strategy and business processes and just as importantly to integrate the MDM hub (the new island) with your upstream and downstream systems.
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