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The true value of MDM

Master data management has a lot of hype associated with it, but SAP users know this concept isn't exactly new and R/3 already had MDM capabilities. Expert Josh Greenbaum discusses how MDM can be useful but why it's not the failsafe we expected.

MDM talks about centralized master data creation and distribution. But will it be able to take over the role from an application like SAP R/3 which already has lot of logic in place for creating master data? For example, while creating a material, it offers a selection of predefined views, values and validations for some mandatory fields. Will building all this logic into MDM be a duplication of the effort?
One of the core reasons for deploying MDM is to reduce duplication of effort by ensuring that there is a single version of the truth against which all applications and functions can operate. There is no doubt that older versions of R/3 have some of these functions already built-in, and indeed the need for master data and its propagation across the enterprise has been around for a long time, and has been tackled in some fashion or other by R/3 and many other products for equally as long.

What is supposed to be different about MDM is that capturing the values once should eliminate the need to repeat...

the effort for every application and new piece of functionality. But that may not be the case for every module and every version. However, in the long run MDM should provide enough overall enterprise value that the few instances when some duplication of effort is needed will not be too much of a burden.

This was last published in November 2006

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