Data management professionals face critical challenges in unifying enterprise-wide information. The plethora of mergers, corporate restructures, disparate lines of business and other means of corporate fragmentation have created the need to build and deploy new, composite and analytical applications that deliver the "right" answer. Conflicting values, incomplete records and the inability to create a single version of the truth have made it nearly impossible to create highly trusted master records across multiple applications, data warehouses and reference data sources. The need to eliminate "garbage in garbage out" as standard operating procedure is now more urgent than ever.

Master data management (MDM) is a proven technology that provides infrastructure capabilities that unify disparate data sources into a uniform and enterprise-wide trusted source of truth. MDM, or its most common use case, customer data integration (CDI), is now an accepted technology framework for creating 360-degree views of customer, product and supplier. MDM is now often seen as a required component of new composite applications for both transactional and analytical use. There are two generations of technology approaches today for enterprise-wide MDM and CDI solutions.

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