Central data management on an open source basis

The topic Master Data Management is currently gaining in importance for various reasons. Talend wants to roll out the associated market, which used to be expensive products for large companies, with an open source solution. IAIT looked at what this software does in practice and how it runs daily.

The term Master Data Management (MDM) is the central management of all business-critical information to ensure enterprise-wide data consistency. In practice, it often appears that the data in the company redundantly in different databases or “silos” are available, which forces the organizations to a time-consuming and costly reconciliation and thus complicates intelligent decision-making.

A central data management makes the mentioned comparison superfluous, since the maintenance and the administration of the data take place in a central place. From there, the MDM system then distributes them to the connected solutions. MDM has become increasingly important in recent years, due to the pressure to reduce administrative costs, comply with regulatory requirements for data management, and improve customer service.

In practice, the MDM system will summarize all critical data in a master file, giving a general overview of the current business or status of the company. The master data includes, for example, customer information, product details, reference data, assets, offices, employee data, and organizational units. It is therefore only data whose meaning goes beyond individual functional areas, so-called master data.

The task of an MDM system is therefore to consolidate the master data in a central location, to simplify its administration, to provide the responsible employees with an overview of the information contained therein, to remove redundancies and then to make the unified data available to the individual company branches deliver. The solution must therefore be able to import data from a variety of sources such as ERP systems, SAP and similar, have a unified management interface for data management, and automatically export changes to the dataset back into the source systems.

The MDM market is currently dominated by large scale, sometimes monolithic solutions for large companies, and typical MDM projects involve six-digit costs. These solutions often work with predefined data domains and structures, so companies need to adapt their processes to the tool, not the other way round.

Talend wants to change that with its open source Talend MDM solution. This product uses data model driven integration, allows you to manage any data domain, and integrates iteratively – in small steps. It is available in two different versions: On the one hand the free “Community Edition” which everyone can use without restrictions, on the other hand the “Enterprise Edition”, for which an annual fee accrues and which brings additional functions as well as services. The source code of the Enterprise Edition is available for customers to view at any time.

The main differences between the two versions: While the Community Edition has the essential MDM functions on board, the Enterprise Edition also controls the setting of access rights for different users and the definition of the workflow. In this review, we took a close look at the Enterprise Edition.

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