Meta Group yesterday published an important research note (client reg. req.) on master data management (MDM), arguing that it's critical to companies looking to make the leap to service-oriented architectures (SOAs). Master data management is about tackling the decades-old problem of redundant and conflicting data scattered across business systems and putting it in one centralized place, to create a "system of record." (Coincidentally, this was the central idea to Oracle's "data hubs" that made news this week).