We've heard a lot of questions since the publication of our book this past summer about customer data integration (CDI) and master data management (MDM). Actually, that's an understatement. Lately, companies with mature data warehouses have been pounding the pavement researching MDM. They know enough about it to understand that their companies should be doing it. They're just not sure exactly what it is, who should own it or where to begin.

Show us any emerging trend worth buzzing about, and we'll show you someone with a stake in the status quo ready to dismiss it. It is de rigueur to proclaim that MDM and CDI are nothing new. Many naysayers said the same thing in the early days of customer relationship management (CRM). "We've been managing our customer relationships for years," said an enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor flummoxed by all the hoopla. By the time the market reached $20 billion, the ERP vendor had launched its own CRM offering.

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