A Central RDU oversees reference data management across the enterprise to achieve overall goals — especially standardization, quality, and operational efficiency.
It needs to be decided where in the organization a central RDU is located. Ideally it will be close to similar functions such as Data Governance and Master Data Management, perhaps in the office of the Chief Data Officer (CDO). It is less desirable to locate it in IT or in areas responsible for Business Intelligence
External reference data is maintained by authorities outside the enterprise. It needs to be discovered, selected, understood and ingested. Standard practices are a major help in doing this.
Once external reference data has been set up, it needs to be kept current. Subscription management does this by ensuring that changes are detected and assimilated as rapidly as possible.
Internal reference data is for business concepts that are completely specific to the enterprise. It requires a federated approach, because it is created and managed by many different subject matter experts (SMEs). The central RDU must ensure that groups accountable for internal reference data use a standardized approach.
Operational units are challenged by changes to the business that often require rapid changes to reference data in application systems. This can create discrepancies and inconsistencies, and the central RDU must find ways to deal with local needs for change without creating difficulties at the enterprise level.
Reference data is used widely throughout the enterprise. It is vital that all applications have synchronized copies, so distribution must be addressed. This requires a variety of approaches ranging from the fully automated to the fully manual. However, these approaches must be chosen carefully to maintain operational efficiency.
*) according to TopQuadrant (Malcolm Chisholm)