Master Data Management (MDM) is important because dirty data means poor adoption, poor decisions and poor BI, but to think of it as a separate system is very difficult.[quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]Imagine SAP having to accept that the MDM team had chosen the global part code for a product will be X (as assigned by other systems) when it is Y in SAP. No way.[/quote] The lack of bi-directional data flows, the inability to have multiple layers of rules and workflows about data, and the fact that various source systems do not allow for MDM – all interfere with a practical use of MDM. Microsoft’s MDM tool utilizes Excel to conform data. Imagine SAP allowing its product master to be conformed with other tangental ERPs in an enterprise to run MDM for products through Excel. While MDM in this case might help feed a DW, there is no way that SAP will allow MDM cleansed data back into SAP, especially having been managed in rules free Excel. And if SAP did allow for this, MDM rarely feeds back to the source systems. Imagine SAP having to accept that the MDM team had chosen the global part code for a product will be X (as assigned by other systems) when it is Y in SAP. No way. And no way for Oracle or JDE or Sage or Dynamics for that matter. To me, MDM is a data critical clean up process that systems can help implement but there is no MDM software that will allow for automagical cleanup of data.