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When MDM meets IoT

Lakshmi Manmohan

By Lakshmi Manmohan

On February 14, 2017

Circa 1990, the world witnessed an ERP movement, when all corporations, big and small, started implementing ERP. ERP implementations reaped huge benefits without doubt; but other business applications within these organizations like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Human Resources still existed as stand-alone entities with their own master data. The need of the hour was a “single golden copy of data” that was reliable and accessible to all; and enter Master Data Management (MDM)!

MDM technology has evolved and matured over the past decade. What started as a repository for product information has grown into a system that can handle millions of customer data with complex match and merge algorithms.  We may think that MDM has seen it all but Gartner seems to think differently. Gartner, Inc. forecasts that “6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020”. With this kind of data explosion (thanks to Internet of Things (IoT)), data is going to become like “fast food”; fast and quick. Master data from “things” will start scaling to one hundred million units, which means MDM tools will have to up their game; not just to handle the ever growing data but to make sense of it.

To unlock the full potential of IoT, MDM should be able to able to “glue” the data received from IoT endpoints to the asset data in MDM to get a complete picture. In the burgeoning IoT arena, MDM may have to tweak its algorithms to handle the sheer diversity of data that doesn’t adhere to any universal standards.  MDM tools should do able to parse through “garbage” of data and do everything it has been doing so far, like profiling, match and merge, reconcilement, de-duplication, correction, and enhancement; to derive meanings. Once this can be achieved, the benefits that can be unlocked know no bounds. Seeing the pace at which IoT is redefining the technology landscape, the road from multi-domain MDM (e.g. Product MDM, Customer MDM, Vendor MDM etc.) to multi-vector MDM (i.e. MDM for any implementation style, organizational structure, industry) seems very short. The bigger question is, is the MDM industry ready for this?