A global master data system is the authoritative source of nontransactional data that describes the core entities of a business (e.g., customers, products, merchants) and their relationships (e.g., hierarchies). In essence, master data systems organize profile data for these entities. In an ideal architecture, master data is referenced (not replicated) by both analytical and operational systems (see Figure 1). In reality, the enterprise's profile data is dispersed and duplicated across multiple applications, compromising the integrity of the company's most valuable data assets and making it ill-suited as a reference point for applications to consume.

Figure 1: An Overview of Master Data

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