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William McKnight

Hello and welcome to my blog!

I will periodically be sharing my thoughts and observations on information management here in the blog. I am passionate about the effective creation, management and distribution of information for the benefit of company goals, and I'm thrilled to be a part of my clients' growth plans and connect what the industry provides to those goals. I have played many roles, but the perspective I come from is benefit to the end client. I hope the entries can be of some modest benefit to that goal. Please share your thoughts and input to the topics.

About the author >

William is the president of McKnight Consulting Group, a firm focused on delivering business value and solving business challenges utilizing proven, streamlined approaches in data warehousing, master data management and business intelligence, all with a focus on data quality and scalable architectures. William functions as strategist, information architect and program manager for complex, high-volume, full life-cycle implementations worldwide. William is a Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a frequent best-practices judge, has authored hundreds of articles and white papers, and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars. His team's implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won Best Practices awards. He is a former IT Vice President of a Fortune company, a former software engineer, and holds an MBA. William is author of the book 90 Days to Success in Consulting. Contact William at

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in William's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

What’s on my mind tonight is where companies are putting their enterprise master data and I do think ‘enterprise’ is the key word here. It takes proactive planning, and a dedicated project, to build true enterprise master data in any environment – even those with a heavy ERP footprint who may have done some level of ‘mastering’ there already.

1. In the data warehouse – This is the place where most master data comes together today due to the proliferation of data warehouses and the intense focus during the build of those data warehouses to build a master, shared (conformed) view of each business dimension. Usually most of this master data actually is mastered in the operational environment, but doesn’t come together or get integrated until it reaches the data warehouse. If you were consciously trying to fix master data problems within your operational environment, you would prefer to pull it together in the operational environment and make the data warehouse another feed of the data.
2. In pieces throughout the operational environment – This is leaving the master data in place throughout the operational environment, identifying it as such and arranging for the access to that data from wherever it is needed. This virtualization strategy can create performance issues upon query and can also limit integration possibilities. And finally you are adding functionality to environments that they were not built for.

3. A third option is to create a new hub in the operational environment and actually collect the master data there. You still go through the identification activities as with virtualization, but physically instantiate the master data separate from its origins. Another level can be taken to this approach to actually make the hub the system of entry in addition to the system of record.

In reality, even if you take a proactive approach, the third option could be years in the making for ALL of an organization’s master data. However, it is always worth striving for the best infrastructure and achieving it in bits over time. It may also be completely appropriate to stop at some point and tier master data throughout the various strategies.

Technorati tags: Master Data Management, CDI

Posted May 19, 2007 6:07 PM
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