The "single version of the truth." How many times have you seen that catchphrase in presentations by industry analysts, vendors, consultants or even your own IT group? How many times has it been used by industry experts writing their articles, columns or blogs? And it keeps being used for different solutions, technologies and products! Each new technology and silver bullet promises to deliver the single version of the truth, this time for sure.

The phrase started with data warehousing in the early 1990s. Then proponents of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems used it during the last decade to encourage everyone to replace their legacy systems. Now master data management (MDM), customer data integration (CDI), operational BI and service-oriented architecture (SOA) are the latest applications to which this magic phrase is being applied.

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