Three Master Data Survivorship Approaches

One of the core capabilities around data quality in Master Data Management (MDM) solutions is providing data matching functionality with the aim of deduplicating records that describes the same real-world entity and thereby facilitate a 360 degree view of a master data entity.

Identifying the duplicates is one thing that is hard enough. However, how to resolve the result of the deduplication process is another challenge.

There are three main approaches for doing that:

Master Data Survivorship Approaches

Enlarge the image here.

In the above example we have three records: An orange, a green and a blue one. They are considered to be duplicates, meaning they describe the same real-world person. 

1: Survival of the fittest record

Selecting the record that according to a data quality rule is the most fit is the simplest approach. The rule(s) that determines which record that will survive is most often based on either:

  • Lineage, where the source systems are prioritized
  • Completeness, like for example which record has the most fields and characters filled

The downside of this approach is that surviving record only have data quality of that selected record, which might not be optimal, and that valuable information for deselected records might get lost.

Data quality tools that are good at identifying duplicates often has this simple method around survivorship.

In the above example the blue record wins and this record survives in the MDM hub, while the orange and the green record only survives in the source system(s).

2: Forming a golden record

In this approach the information from each data element (field) is selected from the record that, by given rules, is the best fit. These rules may be based on lineage, completeness, validity or other data quality dimensions.

Data elements may also be parsed, meaning that the element is split into discrete parts as for example an address line into house number and street name. The outcome may also be a union of the (parsed) data elements coming from the source systems.

In that way a new golden record is formed.

Additionally, values may also be corrected by using external directories which acts as a kind of source system.

This approach is more complex and while solving some of the data quality pain in the first approach, there will still be situations of mixing wrongly and lost information as well as it is hard to rollback an untrue result.

In the above example the golden record in the MDM hub is formed by data elements from the blue, green and orange record – and the city name is fetched from an external directory.

3: Context aware survivorship 

In this approach the identified duplicates are not physically merged and purged.

Instead, you will by applying lineage, completeness and other data quality dimension based rules be able to make several different golden record views that are fit in a given context. The results may differ both around the surviving data elements and the surviving data records.

This is the most complex approach but also the approach that potentially has the best business fit. The downsides include, besides the complexity, possible performance issues not at least in batch processing.

In the above example the MDM hub includes the orange, green and blue record and presents one surviving golden record for marketing purposes and two surviving golden records for accounting purposes.


Blog Roundup

The Disruptive MDM / PIM List blog has been online for nearly 2 years. During this time a range of blog posts has been posted. This include:

Vendor Perspectives

The registered vendors have provided guest blog posts with content that elaborates the unique capabilities offered by the solution vendors. Examples are:


Some of the new Three Letter Acronyms in this realm has been examined:

Analyst Firms

As this list lives in symbiosis with the analyst firms active in the MDM / PIM space, these posts were about their work:

Blog Roundup

It Takes Less than 15 Million USD to be on This List

The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management Solutions is probably the most referenced vendor ranking service in the MDM space. You can see which vendors that are included in the quadrant – and their yearly revenue as estimated by Gartner – in the post MDM Vendor Revenues According to Gartner.

The entrance ticket for vendors in the quadrant is a yearly MDM related software (license and maintenance) revenue of minimum 15 Million USD.

This list (The Disruptive MDM/PIM List) does not require any minimum revenue for vendors to register their solution. Some of the already listed solutions are also included in the Gartner MDM Magic Quadrant and some are not (yet).

For organizations on the look for an MDM and/or PIM solution this means that there is a choice of considering both larger and established disruptive solutions and considering newer and specialized solutions for a longlist and a shortlist within a tool selection activity.

These are the solutions currently on the list:

Specialized or Gartnerish

Lear more about these solutions on the list.

MDM / PIM Market Reports

There are plenty of market reports about Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) solutions – some more trustworthy than others as examined in the post MDM Alternative Facts.

A common way of presenting the positioning of the solution vendors is doing it in a rectangle (called wave, quadrant, grid, landscape …) where being close to the top right is the best.

Here are five examples:

MDM PIM Market Reports

For larger picture click here.

Even the bigger and broadly recognized analyst firms disagree in some degree as told in the post Several Sources of Truth about MDM / PIM Solutions.

When adding more rectangles as for example the G2 Grid® for Master Data Management (MDM) you can get even more confused.

The results from the market reports are also dependent on what solutions that are included and willingness to contribute from vendors as discussed in the post Movements in the MDM Vendor Landscape 2019.

This list does not try to make a generic ranking of the vendors in a rectangle or any other shape. Relevant vendors can register and present their solution as they like. We can help making your longlist, shortlist and final selection. Either way, you can get in contact here.

Digital Transformation Success Rely on MDM / PIM Success

It is hard to find an organization who do not want to be on the digital transformation wagon today. But how can you ensure that your digital transformation journey will be a success? One of the elements in making sure that this data driven process will be a success will be to have a solid foundation of Master Data Management (MDM) including Product Information Management (PIM).

The core concepts here are:

  • Providing a 360-degree view of master data entities: Engaging with your customers across a range of digital platforms is a core part of any digital transformation. Having a 360-degree view of your customer has never been more important, and that starts with well-organized and maintained customer master data. The same is true for supplier master data and other party master data. 360-degree view of locations is equally important. The same goes for products and assets as pondered in post Golden Records in Multidomain MDM.
  • Enabling happy self-service scenarios: Customer data are gathered from many sources and digital self-registration is becoming the most common used method. The self-service theme has also emerged in handling supplier master data as self-service based supplier portals have become common as the place where supplier/vendor master data is captured and maintained. Interacting with your trading partners on digital platforms and having the most complete product information in front of your customers in self-service online selling scenarios requires a solid foundation for product master data and Product experience Management (PxM).
  • Underpinning the best customer experience: Customer experience (CX) and MDM must go hand in hand. Both themes involve multiple business units and digital environments within your enterprise and in the wider business ecosystem, where your enterprise operates. Master data is the glue that brings the data you hold about your customers together as well as the glue that combines this with the data you share about your product offering.
  • Encompassing Internet of Things (IoT): Smart devices that produces big data can be used to gain much more insight about parties (in customer and other roles), products, locations and the things themselves. You can only do that effectively by relating IoT and MDM.

Digital Transformation Success