Hybrid MDM: The Best of Both MDM Worlds

Addressing the need for multiple styles in the same infrastructure with IBM InfoSphere MDM

Program Director, Marketing, IBM Analytics
Senior Technical Staff Member, Technical Strategy, IBM Analytics, IBM

You are an IT manager. Your business liaison in marketing wants information on inquiries that come in through the web so the marketing team can market to prospects and increase customer acquisition rates. Once you get your head around that request, the compliance manager wants customer privacy and preferences information displayed in the call center system so that representatives can determine how customers prefer to be contacted, by email or phone. The request from compliance sounds like it requires a great deal more information than what needs to be captured and stored for prospect data. Now you have two different requests, each requiring different levels of information. When thinking through the requests, you recognize that it would be beneficial for both prospect and customer information to reside in the same system. This would minimize cost and risk, and it would deliver other business benefits, such as cross-sell and up-sell. But how can you address both use cases with a single infrastructure?  

Registry and centralized MDM

These typical use cases are traditionally solved with different styles of master data management (MDM) because they require a different approach to managing and storing information. In the prospect use case, a minimal amount of information is required; it is cost-prohibitive to store a lot of data about prospects because they may never be converted to a customer. Likewise, the sources of prospect information, such as inquiries on the web, may not be trustworthy. A registry or virtual MDM style is used to match and link on this thin amount of master data. The request from the compliance manager requires a more complete view of customer information, including demographics, privacy preferences, and event relationships. A centralized or physical style is used to address this requirement. In a centralized implementation, all information relevant to establishing a single view is captured and persisted in the hub. Source systems can then be updated with information from this updated view as required.  

Hybrid MDM

Master data can be maintained simultaneously by using a combination of distributed data sources (aggregated through the virtual MDM) and a single, “golden record” repository (maintained in the physical MDM). This dual implementation style is often called hybrid MDM. It can be difficult, and sometimes counterproductive, to choose a single MDM implementation style to meet all use cases as defined by lines of business. IBM® InfoSphere® MDM, which has hybrid MDM support capabilities, offers more flexibility for managing master data across an enterprise. Hybrid capabilities allow for the seamless movement and management of a master data entity between its virtual MDM and physical MDM representations. Perhaps you identify some master data attributes that you want to share and centrally manage through a common set of shared services. At the same time, you want to incorporate other master data attributes that are instrumental to provide a complete profile of your customer. There might be multiple systems where you store this information, and you may not want to manage it centrally. Using the hybrid MDM capabilities of InfoSphere MDM, you can manage master data with a coexistence implementation style that combines physical MDM and virtual MDM approaches. Physical MDM serves the centralized implementation style while virtual MDM serves the registry implementation style. In the case of the marketing and compliance requests described above, prospect and customer data can be managed in a different, yet cohesive way, all within InfoSphere MDM. InfoSphere MDM supports multiple scenarios for managing individual and organization master data entities.

  • Scenario 1. Your organization initially managed master data attributes in the registry style (virtual MDM). But you later decide it makes sense to manage master data attributes centrally (physical MDM).
  • Scenario 2. You want to manage some master data attributes in the registry style (virtual MDM). However, you would like to have a persisted enterprise view of each party. Your organization also wants to supplement the persisted enterprise view with additional, centrally managed attributes and the services to maintain them (physical MDM).
  • Scenario 3. Your organization chose the registry style when initially implementing an MDM solution. However, you have many entities with thousands of members that match and form an entity. The view that you want to surface might also contain thousands of attributes. To improve inquiry efficiency and performance for these large entities, you decide to create a centralized, physical view of these entities.


Key benefits of the IBM hybrid MDM approach

The IBM hybrid MDM approach provides several key benefits. For example, it enables you to:

  • Maintain source information
  • Persist a single view of a master data entity
  • Synchronize the single view with relevant source-initiated changes
  • Leverage a single set of MDM services to retrieve the single view, regardless of data ownership or style, and to augment the single view with new, centrally managed attributes
  • Provide the option for sources to consume changes made in the physical hub


The best of both worlds

As MDM was maturing as a practice and technology, organizations often had to implement multiple MDM solutions to address unique business requirements. With the growing flexibility of MDM solutions and the availability of hybrid MDM capabilities in InfoSphere MDM, it is now possible to address both scenarios in a single solution. You can look like a hero to both marketing and compliance—saving costs and avoiding unnecessary risk. Have you encountered business scenarios that lend themselves to one MDM style or another? Would hybrid MDM enable the best of both worlds? Let us know.