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Data Integration: Master Data Twitter Facebook Print E-mail
Written by Dan Dredge   
Friday, 13 June 2008

Over several years the Church has seen the growth of many data silos. Most of these applications use common types of data. We have seen that this has created two basic problems. The effort to create and maintain these data sets is duplicated, and there are many data inconsistencies.

Our goal is to reduce duplication of effort and make it easy on both data producers and data consumers. We have a stated directive to make master data so cost effective and easy to access that development or other customers would not consider creating their own versions.

When we first started the master data management (MDM) project, we decided to start small. So we started with location (down to sub-national entities), currencies (not including rates), and languages. We have also added Church organization and leader data.

ISO codes sound fairly safe, but we quickly found four different versions of so called ISO codes. Different systems dealt differently with names of countries. In some cases locations were treated like countries and in other cases as part of a country. When countries or currencies changed, some systems changed while others did not.

Data stewards first had to be identified. This was a key step as we had to resolve the data issues. Each steward accepted the responsibility to own and maintain his or her data. Data problems do cost money. These costs can be quantified and range from inconsequential amounts to thousands or even millions of dollars. This can be in the form of lost productivity, poor decisions, and other factors.

Making it easy, in some cases we have been able to publish data in less than 20 minutes after the initial request. Once a data sharing agreement is made, the publication of data is little more than configuration changes. Maintenance of published data comes automatically as part of the package.

Dan Dredge is a data team manager for the Church.



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