Best practices for RDM

Best practices for managing reference data. Summary. *)

1. Establishing a Central Reference Data Unit (RDU).

A Central RDU oversees reference data management across the enterprise to achieve overall goals — especially standardization, quality, and operational efficiency.

2. Locating the Central Reference Data Unit.

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

3. Managing External Reference Data

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.

4. Managing Subscriptions for External Reference Data.

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.

5. Governing Internal Reference Data.

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.

6. Governing Reference Data in Operational Environments.

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.

7. Distribution of Reference Data.

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)