Dylan's BI Study Notes

My notes about Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, OLAP, and Master Data Management

Master Data Management and Conformed Dimension

Posted by Dylan Wan on March 4, 2007

Conformed Dimension is a concept coming from dimensional modeling. I believe that Conformed Dimension is one of the original source where the customer data integration and master data management come from.

Conformed Dimension is a concept coming from the dimensional modeling of designing the data warehouse. The idea is to establish a cross reference or share the dimension members among different star schema so you can “drill across”.

In many cases, the dimensions used in different star schema come from a single source transactional system. The dimension members can be easily shared. However, in some cases, the fact data come from different systems and the dimension members are sourced from different systems, but these dimension members may refer to the same real world objects.

To get the meaningful results, the dimensional modeling experts introduced the concept of “Conformed Dimension”. The data warehouse designer was asked to identify the “conformed dimensions” during the design. They call the process of establishing the cross reference among different data source “conforming”. “Conforming” also becomes one of the task of the ETL process.

The assumption behind this is that as a data warehouse designer, we do not have much control over how the OLTP collects the data. When you need to produce some meaningful reports, we will try to solve data inconsistency and duplication problem in the data warehouse.

On the other hand, when the CRM application was introduced, the integration of customer data becomes an issue and the Customer Data Integration and Master Data Management was born. Many initial idea was borrowed from the data warehousing world. Our idea is that the data inconsistency and duplication problems cannot be seen as a reporting problem. Your entire business process and transactional system cannot proceed without establishing the master data management in parallel.

The entry can also be seen here : Master Data Management and Conformed Dimension on my MDM blog.

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