Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book

Architecture Overview

In this section, we first take a look at MDM in the application landscape for an enterprise followed by the introduction of an architecture overview. When we introduce the architecture overview, we first take a look at the ecosystem prior to the rise of Big Data. In a second step, we show how the architecture overview evolved due to the impact of Big Data.

MDM as Central Nervous System for Enterprise Data

Although many MDM implementations historically focused on operational use cases, with the rise of Social MDM, an MDM system truly becomes the central nervous system for the enterprise, as shown in Figure 4.1. It is connected to the operational landscape as well as to a broad range of analytical applications. A key observation in Figure 4.1 is that in many cases the connections are bidirectional because with Social MDM, the MDM system becomes a core essential part of the operational fabric. For example, although social media analytics might enrich a particular customer record with insights gleaned from unstructured sources such as social media, customer interaction logs from the call center, and so on, the starting point for that analysis is the customer records that define a “search scope” to the analysis. Similarly, with self-service capabilities to update their master data record exposed to the customer through various operational channels, the link between operational applications and MDM becomes more and more bidirectional where a couple of years ago many MDM systems were fed with a consolidation style architecture pattern.

Figure 4.1

Figure 4.1 MDM—the central nervous system for enterprise data

MDM: Architecture Overview

Now that you have a better understanding of the functional scope of the discussed capabilities in the previous chapter, let’s switch gears to implementation architecture. A few quick words regarding nomenclature will help to more easily convey key messages in the drawings. A functional area is a collection of related subsystems delivering a major IT function. A technical capability is a specialized type of technology performing a specific role; we introduced those relevant to us in Chapter 3. With information provisioning as an example, there are collections. In this example, it is a collection of mechanisms for locating, transforming, or aggregating information from all types of sources and repositories. A zone is a scope of concern describing a usage intent for a particular cross-cutting service. It has associated requirements and governance that any system in the zone must adhere to. Figure 4.2 shows iconic examples we use for these concepts in the drawings.

Figure 4.2

Figure 4.2 Nomenclature

To understand what is changing with Social MDM, we first need to understand common deployment architectures today, such as shown in Figure 4.3.

Figure 4.3

Figure 4.3 Architecture overview—a traditional viewpoint

In Figure 4.3, you can see two types of capabilities:

  • Technical capabilities introduced in Chapter 3: Examples include (but are not limited to) Master Data Hubs, Reference Data Hubs, and so on, which are technical capabilities introduced in the Information Engine capability layer in the category Managed Operational Data Hub. Other capabilities are grouped in functional areas; for example, the Analytic Sources Area is composed of the capabilities in the Data Server category from the Information Engine capability layer as well as some analytical functions from the Insight capability layer.
  • Technical capabilities external to the capabilities defined in Chapter 3: These are primarily well-known IT systems such as customer relationship management (CRM) applications.

In the functional area of traditional sources on the left side in Figure 4.3 are the sources for master-data-comprised third-party data sources such as Dun & Bradstreet, as well as operational applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), human resources (HR), supply chain management (SCM), supplier relationship management (SRM), and eCommerce. In a typical enterprise, some of these applications are packaged from vendors like SAP and Oracle, or from software as a service (SaaS) providers like Workday and Salesforce.com, or custom-built applications.

The functional area of information ingestion has transformation engines providing, for example, ETL or CDC capabilities. Using these transformation engines master data can be moved from the sources to MDM or from MDM into the data harmonization processes feeding the analytical sources. The MDM system resides in the functional area of shared operational information systems alongside Reference Data Management and Content Management Systems. The name “Master Data Hubs” is intentionally plural for two reasons: first, commercial software vendors historically provided Master Data Management software for a single domain only, such as for a customer or product, creating the two disciplines customer data integration (CDI) and product information management (PIM). Early adopters of MDM sometimes implemented multiple MDM products for different purposes, from the same or different vendors resulting in multiple master data hubs. Today, many MDM software vendors provide multi-domain MDM software often reducing the number of distinct hubs. Multiple Master Data Hubs can also be the result of a merger and acquisition where both companies have an MDM system already. Yet another reason could be that the company adopted different MDM software solutions from different vendors to address different MDM requirements. The functional area for analytical sources is composed of the landing zone where the data harmonization for operational data stores and data warehouses located in the integrated warehouse and marts zone is done. For exploratory analytics such as pattern detection, a dedicated exploration zone exists. For the functional area of information consumption where business users consume information, the figure shows various well-known technical capabilities such as data mining and reporting. For governing the information architecture, the functional area of information governing systems provides a metadata catalog storing business technical and operational metadata, among other capabilities. The functional area of security and business continuity management provides necessary security features for controlling and auditing information access as well as features for backup and restore, high availability, disaster recovery, maintenance, and so on.

With the rise of Big Data, the implementation landscape changes to reflect the new sources and capabilities available as shown in Figure 4.4.

Figure 4.4

Figure 4.4 Architecture overview—impact of Big Data

Major changes in key functional areas are:

  • Data sources: A whole new group of data sources has emerged. As internet-connected sensors and devices become more common (often called the Internet of Things), more information can be collected, integrated, and analyzed to improve operational efficiencies and quality of life across a number of areas. Examples include instrumentation for food transport (“farm to fork”), utility networks (smart water/gas/electricity networks and smart meters), and smarter homes as just three examples implementing sensors producing data at an unprecedented rate and massive volume. New kinds of unstructured content sources have also emerged including blogs and wikis. Social media sources grow at a rapid pace as well, and examples include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Yelp.
  • Information ingestion: A new technique known as streams processing has emerged to address new use cases where data is produced at speeds and volumes too large to actually persist all the data. A streams engine can apply real-time analytics as information is created to make timely decisions and to selectively store the most interesting information.
  • Analytical sources: A new zone of deep analytics is added—the location of new analytical capabilities based on the MapReduce paradigm, as we will see. With a Hadoop platform to implement a Map-Reduce platform allows you to land the data, perform possibly some cleansing, do some analytics, and persist the results of the analytics which might be also moved to a DW. With such a system, you would have all historic and current data. This possibly changes the DW procedures because instead of archiving of the DW you can simply delete because the full history is still in the Hadoop platform.1 The second major change is that the consumption of information is radically simplified, creating a true shared analytics information zone.
  • Information consumption: New techniques of collaboration and new insight engines appear as novel technical capabilities. Examples include new matching engines to search for duplicates and nonobvious relationships, pattern mining, and natural language analytics.
  • Information governing systems: Major functional enhancements include the extension of the metadata catalog to enable a broad class of users to find and provision the information they need from across the variety of systems and zones.

Figure 4.5 shows the architecture overview from an Social MDM perspective. Integration and analysis of new sources of information, especially social media sources, is one of the most striking changes from Figure 4.5. Another key change is the introduction of activity hubs.

Figure 4.5

Figure 4.5 Architecture overview—focus on Social MDM

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020