There is a designated class of systems to solve a complex of tasks related to synchronization and centralized management of in-company reference data. It is Master Data Management (MDM) aimed to consolidate reference data, unify services to manage data and to standardize formats of their introduction and exchange. As stated by Gartner: «MDM is support for global identification, interconnection and synchronization of data on facilities in heterogeneous data sources through semantic analysis of master data.».


Reference data defined in foreign sources: master data (primary data) are semi-constant information of non-transaction nature that would not undergo any significant changes in course of company daily activities. Such data are: classifiers, reference books, product catalogues, standard technical documents, standard time tables to estimate item factory labour hours, etc.

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Reference data - master data


Each applied information management system treats reference data differently. Due to absence of unified system of classification and coding, one facility can have different names in various applications. This phenomenon results in duplication of reference data. Thus, there arises a requirement to synchronize data bases which is absolutely necessary to form consolidated accountability under mode of continuous exchange of work results of applied information management systems of engineering and economic outline.

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Duplication of reference data and data bases in applied information management systems


Electronic information transfer from one application system to another means that sender and recipient use the same reference data, i.e. reference data bases of applied information systems must by united or synchronized. This statement is true when we mean interaction of various departments of the same enterprise or cooperation of geographically-distributed holding structures.

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Sender and recipient must use the same reference data


If enterprises use CAD/PDM and ERP systems for reference data management, it does not mean they can do without MDM solution. PLM/ERP systems are used to execute definite application tasks where reference data management is an auxiliary process, but MDM is a complex of methods and standards to manage in-company master data, as well as specific procedures for harmonization, cleaning, de-duplication, synchronization and replication of reference data.

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MDM positioning in industrial segment


MDM field of application is much wider that of PLM, ERP and other application systems used for industrial enterprises since it is characterized by infrastructure nature. MDM future potential is to be a system-wide component of enterprise IT architecture together with DBMS applications. Capacities of MDM system market are the same as for SQL servers market.

Thus, MDM is a system approach to creation of shared information space on the reference data level, that allows to implement uniform corporate language for information system management.