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Unlock New Possibilities with Collaborative Data Authoring

By FX Nicolas, Chief Product Officer, Semarchy

As businesses strive to optimize their operations and leverage data-driven insights, the role of master data authoring becomes paramount. Authoring master data consists of creating and modifying the content of the master data entities to unlock the value of an organization’s information assets.

Most people consider two scenarios for authoring master data. This simplified vision is tied to the traditional MDM hub styles that I’ve described in a previous post.

  • Scenario #1: Authoring takes place in the operational applications. This scenario corresponds to the Registry, Consolidation, and Co-Existence hub styles.
  • Scenario #2: Authoring takes place exclusively in the hub. This scenario corresponds to the Centralized/Transactional hub style.

Seeing the world purely through the lens of the traditional hub styles leads to this dreadful reduction of possibilities and obliviates some of the real-life use cases. In this post, we will discover interesting cases for master data authoring and illustrate them.

Scenario #1: Data Authoring in the Operational Applications

The first scenario is the best for ensuring non-disruptive operations. In fact, nothing changes for end-users. Operational applications publish – via a data integration layer – their master data in a convergence hub. The convergence hub transforms this Master data into Golden data.

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This scenario applies when the operational applications host all the required entities and attributes needed in the golden data.

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– Wait! What happens when no official operational application exists for authoring certain master data?

In this case, fallback solutions sprout in the form of Excel spreadsheets, Access databases, text files, etc.

Scenario #2: Data Authoring in the Hub

Everyone (including myself) loves their spreadsheets, and they work fine… until you need multi-user access, concurrent changes, data quality/de-duplication, version history, and approval workflows. When editing critical master data, such as cost centers or employees, you need all the capabilities mentioned earlier. In this case, spreadsheets are not a long-term solution.

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In this second scenario, you replace the spreadsheets with the MDM platform. The MDM platform provides for accessing and authoring master data. It supports collaborative workflows for data authoring, enforces data governance policies (for quality, access, security, etc.), and versioning. The hub handles possible duplicates and generates golden data from the authored master data.

Problem solved?

– Not yet! What happens when some pieces of the master data already exist in the operation applications and must be authored there?

This is where it gets interesting!

Scenario #3: Vertical Partitioning / Additional Fields in the Hub

Operational applications (CRM, ERP, SCM) contain information relevant to operational usage, but not necessarily all the master data the business requires today (or tomorrow).

In this scenario, end-users continue with data authoring in the operational applications, and other users may complete this data in the MDM hub.

Collecting master data from a Product Lifecycle Management platform and enriching it with additional information within the hub is a use case. Extending employee information from the HR application with the Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, <YourSocialNetworkGoesHere> accounts is another one.

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Here, the golden record is a vertical consolidation of operational data and data authored in the MDM hub.

 Hold on! What if I want to separate operational records from authored records?

This is the next scenario.

Scenario #4: Horizontal Partitioning / Additional Records in the Hub

In this scenario, the MDM hub is treated as an application that delivers records in a range separated from the operational applications’ records. Records authored in the hub appear as added to those coming from the operational level.

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For example, for managing a generic Party entity, we may retrieve Customer Parties from the CRM application and author Suppliers Parties exclusively in the hub. Customer Parties and Supplier Parties belong to the same Party entity but in two different ranges.

– This is nice, but all use cases cannot be reduced to vertical or horizontal partitions! Sometimes I need to change something “in the middle.”

Indeed! This is my last scenario.

Scenario #5: Data Enrichment in the Hub

This scenario is the most complex one, as there is no predefined segmentation. Data authored in the hub simply merges with the information the operational layer delivers. Both the operational applications and MDM hub contribute to the golden data. This approach can be used to override, enrich, fix, or complete operational data through collaborative MDM authoring processes managed in the hub.

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In this scenario, a customer golden record can be aggregated from CRM data, the Website Registrations, and data authored in the hub. Consolidation rules designed in the master data logical model define the strategy for merging all this information.

For example, consolidation rules may define that:

  • the Email comes from the website,
  • the Phone comes from the CRM system,
  • the Shipping Address comes from the Order Management system,
  • the Name will be the most frequent one in all these systems,
  • Any data authored in the hub by a data steward has precedence over all the other systems’ data.

Collaborative MDM is often encapsulated in a workflow that may incorporate both automated and manual tasks, both supported by collaborative capabilities. The matching/consolidation mechanism implemented in the hub guarantees a smooth collaboration between operational systems and authoring workflows running in the hub to create the best-of-breed master data.

What is Your Scenario?

A single scenario usually does not apply to all the entities in a Master Data Hub. The scenario is not dictated by the hub structure or style but derives from the business requirements for every entity or group of entities. For example:

  • “Authoring in the Hub” for Cost Centers
  • “Horizontal Partitioning” for Customers and Suppliers Parties
  • “Vertical Partitioning” for Employee Data
  • “Data Enrichment” for Product Data

A specific component of master data, such as a product or an account, can undergo an authoring process utilizing a collaborative style, managed operationally through the operational style, and then pushed to other operational and analytical systems. Semarchy’s Unified Data Platform was specifically designed to support all these collaborative authoring scenarios and provides a unique framework combining them in a multidomain MDM implementation. The Semarchy Convergence Evolutionary MDM platform embraces your business cases and helps you create a simple, safe, and fast MDM solution.

Learn how you can use the Semarchy Unified Data Platform as your Employee Master Data Management software, Product Master Data Management software, or even Multidomain Master Data Management software.