The enterprise data management (EDM) bandwagon is getting pretty crowded. The concept of synchronizing and managing data at the enterprise level is increasingly being viewed as a panacea that will solve most - if not all - corporate data problems. While I do not believe it is a silver bullet that will cure all corporate ills, an EDM initiative can help solve a host of data problems, if it is implemented correctly. However, that's often a big "if." Too often, EDM initiatives - despite their name - are deployed using a disjointed approach that doesn't truly incorporate the enterprise-wide implications of the data management process.

To be sure, there are an ever-growing number of EDM methodologies that are marketed by software vendors and consulting companies alike. Most of the methodologies are perfectly capable of providing an approach to developing a comprehensive EDM solution. However, the solution to any problem is only as good as the clarity of definition of the problem allows it to be. If companies do not understand their needs before their solution is implemented, the solution is unlikely to solve the problem.

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