Consultant Offers Tips for Building Your Own MDM Business Case

Loraine Lawson

I've been following a series on building a business case for master data management, and since the series is now half way through its 12 installments, I thought it'd be a good time to share it with readers.


The series is written by Dr. Larry Dubov, senior director and partner of business management consulting at Initiate Systems, an MDM vendor with a strong health care focus. You may recall that Initiate was recently acquired by IBM, so let's hope Dubov gets to finish all the posts, which are scheduled to run every Tuesday until April 6.


In his introduction, Dubov says there's a lot of information about the business case for MDM, but these resources tend to be a bit generic. They don't really explain how to build a customized business case for your company, and that's what he's attempting to rectify in his posts.


One thing that got my attention right away is Dubov's admission that MDM isn't always necessary-an unusual vendor tactic, and I think it builds credibility for his series:

Many publications are written with the idea that an MDM initiative is always a good idea. However, the reality is that, for some organizations, an enterprise MDM may not be the right priority at the point in time or, even more, the costs of the program may exceed the benefits that can be incurred as a result of the program. The devil is in details, which can result in a highly profitable MDM initiative or make it a total waste.

Another surprise: He's not targeting executives, so much as program managers, architects, planners and others who might be directly responsible for the business case.


Like most initiatives, it's important that MDM be driven by business strategy. That said, he doesn't ignore the fact that sometimes MDM is IT-driven. It's about 50-50 on where MDM originates, he adds, and you can pretty much guess which situation works best. Still, even though IT-driven MDM projects face some additional challenges, they can also be very successful, Dubov writes, "if they engage the business side properly and promptly."


The next three posts are dry reading, but surprisingly specific, and therefore, useful. For instance, in "What MDM Stakeholders Want to Know," he outlines which aspects of MDM will interest CEOs, CFOs, line-of-business managers, enterprise architects, operations managers and even database administrators. He also includes a long list of questions to help you pinpoint how MDM will affect your organization.


"Business Processes and MDM Drivers" includes a table that will help you identify what the MDM drivers will be for business areas, including sales and marketing, operations, and customer service. And this week's installment, "Estimating the Benefits of MDM," discusses qualitative versus quantitative benefits.


In the next few weeks, he plans to delve into two approaches to accessing the impact of MDM-a bottom-up approach and an economic value approach.


There's a table of contents, but for some reason, it seems to take a week for the most recent post to be linked from there, however, so you might want to check the list of links under Dubov's bio. The most recent appears at the top.

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