How to Fund MDM and Other Questions Answered

Loraine Lawson

How do you fund master data management? It's no small challenge, and the fact is, few have managed to fund stand-alone MDM projects, according to Wayne Eckerson, director of TDWI Research.


Funding can be even more of a challenge if your company recently invested in similar projects, such as data quality, data warehousing or CRM, he writes in a recent article. So, the best approach for funding MDM projects is to "bake" it into the infrastructure requirements for new initiatives, Eckerson contends.


That's just one of seven excellent MDM questions Eckerson addresses in a recent TDWI article, titled, appropriately enough, "Answers to the Seven Most Commonly Asked Questions about MDM." The other questions he addresses include where to start with MDM, possible MDM pitfalls, managing an MDM implementation and how to architect MDM.


For my money, the most interesting answers-besides the funding information-were his responses to the pitfall questions. He addresses both organizational and technical pitfalls.

Organizationally speaking, it turns out managing expectations is critical to MDM-and this applies across the board to both business users and IT staff. "...Don't underestimate the need to educate IT professionals about the need for MDM and the new tools and techniques required to implement it," he warns.

Interestingly enough, one of the technical pitfalls is that you may already own a number of necessary technology tools, a fact you'll need to consider when negotiating a packaged solution. But the most common tech pitfall might have more to do with talent than tools, he adds:

Early MDM adopters say the biggest challenges are underestimating the time and talent required to define and document MDM requirements, analyze source data, maintain high-performance Web services interfaces, and fine-tune matching algorithms to avoid under- or over-matching.


It's a good read, although it is very much from the perspective of someone involved with data warehousing-a somewhat controversial issue with MDM. In fact, he addresses that relationship head-on with his response to, "What's the role of the data warehouse in MDM?":

There is no reason you can't designate a single application to serve as the master copy. For example, you could designate the data warehouse as the master for customer data or an Oracle Financials application as the master for the chart of accounts. These approaches are attractive because they reuse existing models, data, and infrastructure, but may not be suitable in all situations.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Nov 9, 2009 3:34 PM Jill Wanless Jill Wanless  says:

Great post Loraine. In addition to what you identify, one of the biggest challenges I consistently come across and which takes the largest effort in an MDM or Data Governance initiative is getting the organization to agree on definitions for common terms.


Nov 10, 2009 8:12 PM Andy Painter Andy Painter  says:

Latest open source software from Talend may help significantly reduce the cost of an MDM project -> read more about it at: http://enterpriseinformationmanagement.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/talends-open-source-master-data-management/

Nov 12, 2009 2:40 PM Graham Charters Graham Charters  says:

As a consultant for an organisation which specialises in Data Governance and the application of tools like MDM, I found this article fascinating.   Keep up the good work!

Graham (www.evaxyx.com)


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