"The shortcomings of today’s architecture can be directly linked to the way all data is managed in the same manner. In reality transactional data and master reference data have such dramatically different properties that they cannot be managed by the same processes and tools," said Martin Dunn in his night school session at TDWI World Conference, "Introducing the Operational Reference Store."

Dunn defined transactional data as the "facts within the business" – line item detail or an invoice or a purchase order. This data does not change over time; it is internal to our business and completely out of our control. Transactional data follows a key tenant of data warehousing – that all data had an authoritative source and defined ownership.

Master reference data such as customer details, does not share any of these characteristics. For example: customer details change over time; there is no authoritative source (the average Fortune 1000 company has more than 50 sources of customer data according to Gartner); no ownership exists; no control of the source and no one version of the truth.

Dunn introduced the operational reference store. He explained that is an abstraction layer holding a persistent copy of reference data and the rules that govern it. It is key that it does not require changes to existing architectures and components and that it holds only reference data, not transactions. Reference data typically comprises less than 5 percent of the overall data volume in an organization.

The role of the operational reference store is to hold all data, rules and history in a single place. It consolidates data from all sources, matches and merges it and manages overlap. It manages cell-level details, management by exception, offers a business console to view content and lineage and provides an audit trail. It also provides synchronization of changes to data, offers a persistent database of master reference data, security and XML access layer.

For more information on this subject, please go to www.delostechnology.com.

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