Employee Data: The Next Frontier for MDM?

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If people are the life-blood of an organization - and CEOs aren't just jerking your chain when they declare employees are "their greatest asset" - then why, pray tell, does employee data rank so low on the data food chain?


Forrester Research analyst and MDM guru Rob Karel points out this discrepancy in a recent post appearing on both his Forrester blog and Information Management.


Generally, you don't see employee data listed as master data - and by "generally," I mean I've never, ever seen it mentioned with MDM until Karel's piece. So, frankly, I was more surprised that it was even given as an option than the fact it ranked low on the totem poll in a recent Forrester survey of 298 BPM and MDM professionals.


The survey revealed that 83 percent of those queried prioritized customer data first and 61 percent prioritized product data. Next came account data, at 53 percent. And "the next highest priority" was employee data.


"Next highest priority" makes it sound as if it ranked above something I wish Karel would share - or, more precisely, I'd like to know that there were several things that ranked lower than employee data.


OK, so let's go along with Karel and pretend for a moment that CEOs really do see employees as their greatest asset and not just interchangeable moving parts. After all, Karel points out, there are a number of core processes and functions that need reliable employee data, including IT security, financial planning and analysis and work force management.


So why, then, isn't employee data something you want to handle through MDM? Forrester did a bit of research and found that most HR pros want high-quality employee data, but they haven't been able to build a successful business case. He goes on to point out they also have not been able to "effectively partner and collaborate with the data management pros that hold many of the necessary data quality and MDM best practices. HR also rarely participates (either by choice or via exclusion) in enterprise data governance programs and strategies."


In other words, their MIA status from IT efforts is kinda coming back to bite them in the tuckus.


Of course, Kalido's CEO offers another opinion in the Information Management comments section: Maybe it's because MDM technology is typically IT-centric and not designed to be people-friendly


Karel disagrees, saying if the demand existed, the product would come. But I don't know, I can sort of see his point.


Whatever the reason, CEOs certainly aren't putting their money where their motivational speeches are when it comes to employee data. But maybe CIOs and HR directors can work out a deal. Staffing issues top the list of concerns for CIOs - at least in the insurance industry, according to Insurance & Technology - although I suspect it's true for other industries as well. In insurance, at least, the focus will be on finding those people who can integrate new systems - mobile platforms, Web, modern desktops - with legacy systems.