Data products vs MDM: The future of unified data is now

Suki Dhupar of Tamr explains the MDM concept
Suki Dhuphar
Unified data graphic

Not so long ago, managing and unifying data across an organisation often meant battling siloed systems and cumbersome manual processes. Master Data Management (MDM) emerged as a standard solution, aiming to establish a central repository for "master data" like customers, products, and suppliers. Through data models, rules, and quality checks, MDM promised consistency and accuracy across applications.

However, MDM's effectiveness has been under scrutiny, particularly in today's rapidly evolving data landscape. Its upfront costs can be substantial, and its reliance on rigid rules struggles to address increasingly complex challenges like real-time data integration and diverse data sources. In short, MDM falls short of delivering on its promise of truly unified and accurate data.

To overcome these limitations, organisations must explore alternative approaches. Cutting-edge technologies like AI-powered data products offer a paradigm shift in data unification. These pre-built sets of high-quality, ready-to-consume data leverage AI-powered automation with human oversight to guarantee data’s reliability and trustworthiness. They're specifically designed for organisation-wide use, tackling various business challenges and providing valuable insights from accurate data.

Consider a retail company struggling with fragmented customer data across disparate systems, leading to ineffective personalised marketing campaigns. MDM, with its slow manual processes and rigid rules, often stumbles due to the ever-evolving nature of customer behaviour and data sources. Integrating various systems is a slow and error-prone endeavour, and the lack of AI-powered insights leads to inaccurate customer profiles and ineffective targeting.

In contrast, a customer data product seamlessly unifies and cleans data from all the different sources, creating a single, accurate view of each customer. This real-time, AI-driven approach continuously learns and improves data quality, enabling accurate customer segmentation and highly targeted campaigns that resonate with individual needs and preferences. The result? Increased engagement, better conversion rates, and a significant boost in ROI.

By opting for data products, organisations unlock a myriad of advantages over traditional MDM, including:

  • Agile Integration: Unlike the cumbersome manual processes of MDM, a data product leverages AI-powered matching and profiling to seamlessly unify data from diverse sources, regardless of format or complexity. This ensures real-time access to the most accurate and up-to-date customer data, fuelling effective campaign targeting.
  • Data Quality: Data products use built-in automation to continually improve data accuracy and completeness, eliminating the risk of inaccurate customer profiles that plague MDM implementations.
  • AI-Driven Insights: Traditional MDM lacks the power of AI-powered analytics. Data products, however, leverage advanced algorithms to uncover hidden patterns and segment customers with unmatched precision. This enables targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with individual customer needs and preferences.
  • Scalability and Agility: Unlike the rigid infrastructure limitations of MDM, data products operate on cloud-based platforms that effortlessly scale to accommodate growing data volumes and changing customer behaviour. This agility empowers the company to adapt quickly to market trends and personalise campaigns in real time.
  • Intuitive User Interface and Actionable Insights: Unlike the confusing reports and spreadsheets of traditional MDM, data products boast user-friendly interfaces that make accessing and analysing data intuitive for all stakeholders across an organisation, from data teams to marketers to executives, enabling businesses to translate complex data into actionable insights to maximise ROI. This empowers anyone within the organisation to leverage data-driven decision-making, not just data analysts.

The era of rigid rules and manual data management is fading. Data products, fueled by AI and designed for real-time insights, are revolutionising how organisations understand and utilise their data. While MDM once served as the gold standard, it simply can't keep pace with the complexities of today's data-driven world. By embracing data products, businesses unlock a future of unified, accurate, and actionable data, empowering them to unlock new possibilities, optimise decision-making, and thrive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Written by
Suki Dhuphar
Head of EMEA at Tamr
March 21, 2024