Most organizations today are in some stage of developing large, cross-department, data-related initiatives. In this Information Age, data is a strategic differentiator – a retail organization that has a strong vision around its customer information is a step ahead of its competitors. Many of the buzzwords surrounding data-related initiatives are common in both business and IT circles: master data management, business intelligence and data governance. But what do these really mean, and how can a high-level data model help with the efforts?

The following is a brief overview of several of the hot topics in data management today and discuss how a high-level data model can help with these initiatives, many of which are siloed projects or programs. Programs are large ongoing efforts that have a begin date and, if they are successful, no end date. They require long-term participation from many different sections of the business. Each program contains many bite-sized pieces called projects. A project is a well-defined effort with a begin date, end date and solid deliverables that contribute toward the goal of the program.

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