Master Data Management (MDM)

Key MDM concepts: Entity, Attributes, Domain and Physical vs. Virtual MDM

By Bharath Chari posted Tue June 04, 2019 06:10 PM

  
Depending on your implementation style, the concepts of entity, attribute, and domain reflect the technical capabilities of virtual and physical MDM.

The term golden record is often used to describe the goal of providing a 360-degree view of your master data. While that term is sufficient in high-level conversations, the following definitions for the deeper concepts illuminate how those concepts work within InfoSphere MDM:

Domain
Describes the type of the information that is being mastered. A person, organization, object type, or concept about which information is stored.
Entity/Entity Type
A single unique object in the real world that is being mastered. Examples of an entity are a single person, single product, or single organization about whom information is stored across multiple sources
Attribute
A characteristic or trait of an entity type that describes the entity, for example, the Person entity type has the Date of Birth attribute.
Record
The storage representation of a row of data.
Member record
The representation of the entity as it is stored in individual source systems.  Information for each member record is stored as a single record or a group of records across related database tables.

Other related terms are as follows:
Golden record: primarily for general, nontechnical use
Aggregate record: specific use in physical MDM
Party: specific use in physical MDM
Various IDs: entity ID, record ID, account ID, and product ID

For example, an entity in virtual MDM is assembled dynamically based on the member records by using linkages and then is stored in the MDM database. Conversely, an entity in physical MDM is based on matching records from the source systems that are merged to form the single entity.

Virtual MDM
In virtual MDM, a member record with its attributes exists in a source system. Those member records are assembled dynamically by virtual MDM to form a single entity in a composite view . That single entity represents the golden record for that person, organization, object, or so on. After the initial configuration, business users continue to change data on the source systems. Based on configurable rules, the changes to the source system data are reflected in the entity composite view that is stored in the MDM database.

Physical MDM
In physical MDM, an entity with its attributes starts in a source system. Those entities are centralized by physical MDM to form a single record in the MDM database. That single record represents the golden record for that person, organization, object, or so on, for the information that is being mastered. After data from the source systems is consolidated within the MDM database, business users directly change the data in the MDM database rather than in source systems. That is in physical MDM, the MDM database is the system of record for master data.
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