SOA strengthens master data management, which returns the favor

SOA-based practices helps assure a centralized architecture for master data management.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Every solid SOA-based infrastructure needs good data, and good data can come from service oriented architecture.

In a new post, Rob Barry makes the case for bringing together the like-minded disciplines of master data management and service-oriented architecture as the most effective to deliver clean, consistent, and timely  data analytics to decision makers in organizations.

"Especially in times of mergers and acquisitions, MDM is important in tying together disparate operational systems that rely on the same data, said Greg Todd, executive director of information management services at consulting and IT services company Accenture."

Sounds like the foundational role of SOA as well. In fact, SOA architectural practices need to be applied to MDM. Todd points out that having a centralized architecture for MDM, and being able "to harmonize that batch to all the applications that need that master data using your SOA architecture, leads to more of a globalization of your master data management."

SOA is in a new stage of maturity -- everybody is rolling up their sleeves and making it deliver for the business -- but things won't get to far if SOA-based services are proliferating bad data. Business end-users need to trust that the information they're basing decisions on is the best available information as certified by the source originating the data, and consistent with other data from across the enterprise. Trust is also the most important element of relationships between providers and consumers of services in SOA settings.

MDM -- data shared across disparate IT systems and groups -- encompasses a wide range of data sources and systems. SOA and MDM converge at the data services layer, an abstraction layer between producers and consumers of data configured with SOA principles.

For more insights on the SOA-MDM connection, Joan Lawson, manager of enterprise architecture at BJ's Wholesale Club, wrote a great primer a few months back at Dan Power's Hub Designs blog. As she put it:

"SOA enables business functionality as a service.  However, it does not guarantee quality of the data on which it’s operating.  That’s a serious gap, which is filled by including MDM in a service-oriented architecture.  True business value is realized as services start leveraging the high quality data in the MDM hub and the services which surround it. "

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