Let me paint a picture of everyday life for you. Let’s say you and your wife both have address books for your groups of friends. There is definitely overlap between them, so that you both have the addresses for your mutual friends, and there are addresses that only you know, and some only she knows. They also might be organized differently. You might list your friend under “J” for “Joe” or even under “W” for “Work,” while she might list him under “S” for “Joe Smith” or under your name because he is your friend. If you happened to trade, neither of you would be able to find anything!
This is where data management would be very important. If you were to consolidate into one address book, you would have to set rules about how to organize the book, and both of you would have to follow them. You would also make sure that poor Joe doesn’t get entered twice under “J” and under “S.”
This might be a familiar situation to you, whether you are thinking about address books, record collections, books, or even shopping lists. Wherever there is a lot of data to consolidate, you are going to run into problems unless everyone is following the same rules.
I’m sure that my readers can figure out where I am going with this. What is SQL Server but a computerized way to organize data? And Microsoft is making it easier and easier to get all your “addresses” into one place. In the 2008 version of SQL they introduced a new tool called Master Data Services (MDS) for Master Data Management, and they have improved it for the new 2012 version.
MDM was hailed as a major improvement for business intelligence. You might not think that an organizational system is terribly exciting, but think about the kind of “address books” a company might have. Many companies have lots of important information, like addresses, credit card numbers, purchase history, and so much more. To organize all this efficiently so that customers are well cared for and properly billed (only once, not never or multiple times!) is a major part of business intelligence.
MDM comes into play because it will comb through these mountains of data and make sure that all the information is consistent, accurate, and all placed in one database so that employees don’t have to search high and low and waste their time. MDM also has operational MDM functions. This is not a redundancy. Operational MDM means that when one employee updates one bit of information in the database, for example – updating a new address for a customer, operational MDM ensures that this address is updated throughout the system so that all departments will have the correct information.
Another cool thing about MDM is that it features Master Data Services Configuration Manager, which is exactly what it sounds like. It has a built-in “helper” that lets you set up your database quickly, easily, and with the correct configurations. While talking about cool features, I can’t skip over the add-in for Excel. This allows you to link certain data to Excel files for easier sharing and uploading.
In summary, I want to emphasize that the scariest part of the database is slowly disappearing. Everyone knows that a database – one consolidated area for all your data – is a good idea, but the idea of setting one up is daunting. But SQL Server is making data management easier and easier with features like Master Data Services (MDS).
Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)