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Digital businesses such as Uber and Airbnb are built to leverage data, and these frequently cited examples of modern digital business success are companies so many others want to emulate. But working with vast streams of messy data can be a challenge for enterprise organizations, and it's only getting tougher as more data is created and collected.
Business users want to be able to use this data to get a clear picture of customers, products, and more, but in order to do so that data must be managed across multiple systems -- systems that aren't necessarily compatible. These systems don't look at data in the same way. That's why data management is so important to enterprise companies and to their IT organizations.
Gartner defines master data management as a technology-enabled discipline in which business and IT work together to ensure the uniformity, accuracy, stewardship, semantic consistency, and accountability of the enterprise's official shared master data assets.
The technology that implements such a discipline are MDM platforms. Such systems must be able to enable delivery of a single customer view to all stakeholders. These systems must support ongoing data stewardship and governance requirements through workflow-based monitoring and corrective actions.
Demand and the market for these solutions are growing, according to Forrester Research.
"The market is growing because more enterprise architecture (EA) professionals see MDM as a way to address their top challenges," Forrester said in The Forrester Wave: Master Data Management, Q1 2016 report (available for free from an included vendor here) released in March 2016. "This market growth is largely due to EA pros' increasing trust in MDM providers to act as strategic partners, advising them on top data decisions."
These data management offerings are designed to fulfill several enterprise needs, but the overall goal is to bring data harmony to federated ecosystem chaos, Forrester said.
"The number one challenge for business decision-makers is the lack of business competency to deal with data that is messy, diverse, or large," Forrester said in its report. "One way to meet this data challenge is by implementing a master data management tool."
Forrester said that 85% of decision-makers say their firms will use an MDM tool this year. (Forrester's numbers are based on the firm's Global Business Technographics Data And Analytics Survey, 2015, an online survey fielded between January and March of 2015 of 3,005 business and technology decision-makers at companies with 100 or more employees in the US, UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, and New Zealand.)
The increase in enterprise organizations using the cloud or hybrid cloud environments means that MDM solutions today need to support data in the cloud.
Some enterprises also plan to consume their MDM from the cloud. Forrester said that over half of the decision-makers polled said that their firms will increase MDM-as-a-service in the coming year.
Who are some of the vendors that these customers will turn to for master data management and other data management solutions? Here's a list of 25 data management companies, old and new, big and small, in alphabetical order, that can help organizations wrangle their data in an increasingly complex environment.