The evolution of Master Data Management (MDM) person data matching

As CU’s cross-campus data-sharing requirements matured, the university needed a system that would match core person data like name and address from all of the university’s disparate source data systems and across all campus affiliates. This system would standardize person data matching, facilitate sharing constituent data across all campuses and identify a CU constituent (employee, student, faculty, researcher, etc.) wherever they showed up in a university database, assigning a unique identifier and minimizing the potential for duplicate records. This need was shown over time as CU’s different constituent databases grew in their own directions, collecting person attributes in their own ways to meet their own specific needs.

Master Data Management (MDM) takes flight

In 2012, the student systems upgrade (CU-SIS) marked the beginning of the Master Data Management (MDM) evolution at CU. The MDM system allowed CU to begin matching person data in smarter ways between Human Resources (HCM) and Campus Solutions (CS). MDM person data began to gain interest from several groups, but further growth was slow to materialize. In 2014, CU added the complex constituent matching needs of the Salesforce Electronic Constituent Relationship Management system (eCRM) used by departments across all campuses and the unique role of MDM became more important than ever.

MDM finds its niche

The new Salesforce eCRM system matches person data from the CS and HCM enterprise systems, but also pulls in data from the Advancement database, adding a whole different set of matching attributes. MDM allows eCRM to track unique person records from these multiple database sources while leaving the management of duplicates and synchronization  of contact data to MDM. When a person record is updated in the Advancement, CS or HCM system, it takes seconds for it to synchronize with eCRM in most cases. It is also easier to share data back to the Advancement database, making it seamless to update our donor and alumni base. MDM has certainly come a long way!   

Where does MDM go from here?

Very soon, MDM will be able to take the cleansed data from each source system and match it to the U.S. Postal Service’s address database to validate address correctness for CS. MDM is also the foundation for the single signon process we use when employees from all campuses log into the same enterprise application with their campus ID, called their Constituent ID. This universal CU-level ID comes from MDM and will increasingly be the way CU technologies will identify and authenticate CU employees, regardless of their campus. Another feature we will see is the implementation of MDM’s superior search matching Enterprise Data Quality (EDQ) capabilities. What this means is that regardless of how a person’s information is entered; as Jim on Grant Street or James on Grnt St.; MDM will catch the nickname, typo, transposition and other variation and still be smart enough to catch that it’s the same person and avoid a duplicate. How sophisticated is that for one tool!

MDM has been a long time in coming of age but it’s certainly made its mark on CU’s technologies that rely on matching person data, like eCRM, Identity Management (IDM) and CS. In the future, we’ll see MDM used as a source for OnBase and many other important CU technologies.  

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