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10.7. Additional Considerations

The process of data integration solves a technical challenge to consolidate data into the master repository, but there are other considerations that may impact the process from a nontechnical aspect, especially when it comes to information rights: ownership, usage, access, and so on. Within these areas, questions regarding how the master data asset is (or may be) used to intersect with those questioning whether the data can be used within specific contexts. Here we explore some straightforward examples where policies overrule use.

10.7.1. Data Ownership and Rights of Consolidation

The appeal of mastering disparate data sets that represent the same conceptual data objects often leads to an enthusiasm for consolidation in which individuals may neglect to validate that data ownership issues will not impede the program. In fact, many organizations use data sourced from external parties to conduct their business operations, and that external data may appear to suitably match the same business data objects that are to be consolidated into the master repository. This may sound like an excellent opportunity to incorporate an additional data set into the master repository, but in fact there are likely to be issues regarding ownership of the data and contractual obligations relating to the ways that the data are used, including the following:

Licensing arrangements. Data providers probably license the use of the data that are being provided, as opposed to “selling” the data for general use. This means that the data provider contract will be precise in detailing the ways that the data are licensed, such as for review by named individuals, for browsing and review purposes directly through provided software, or for comparisons but not copied or stored. License restrictions will prevent consolidating the external data into the master.

Usage restrictions. More precisely, some external data may be provided or shared for a particular business reason and may not be used for any other purpose. This differs subtly from the licensing restrictions in that many individuals may be allowed to see, use, or even copy the data, but only for the prescribed purpose. Therefore, using the data for any other purpose that would be enabled by MDM would violate the usage agreement.

Segregation of information. In this situation, information provided to one business application must deliberately be quarantined from other business applications because of a “business-sensitive” nature, which also introduces complexity in terms of data consolidation.

Obligations on termination. Typically, when the provider arrangement ends, the data customer is required to destroy all copies of provided data; if the provider data have been integrated into a master repository, to what degree does that comingling “infect” the master? This restriction would almost make it impossible to include external data in a master repository without introducing significant safeguards to identify data sources and to provide selective rollback.


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