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Integrating Management: Adding Master Data to Business Process Is Slow Going

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Seven Deadly Sins of Business Process Management (BPM)

Organizations must be aware of the possible downfalls of implementing a BPM campaign with inadequate focus on end-user adoption.

It's spring - time for wedding bells! Or - in the case of some technology initiatives - a shotgun.

 

Once again, talk of a union between master data management and business process management is in the air. This time, it's Forrester analyst Clay Richardson, who recently explained - in an article titled, "BPM, MDM called on to marry to deliver blissful customer experience" - that these two very tech-driven approaches individually fall short of achieving their promise.

 

"There is a big disconnect in the final approach in delivering to the business," he told TechTarget. "One is too focused on the business vision and the other is too much down in the weeds of how to keep data clean."

 

It turns out, companies often hit a data quality wall when using BPM - and of course, master data management is all about better, cleaner data - in particular, better customer data. Plus, MDM was supposed to be a strategic kind of discipline - but as it turns out, it's mostly scrubbing data.

 

In theory, you could fix both by marrying the two, giving BPM better data and giving MDM an "in" to business processes, which could be used to govern the data. So it seems like a match made in heaven, right?

 

Well, it is. But analysts have been pushing these two down the aisle (to beat a metaphor to death) for literally years. Thus far, BPM has remained a confirmed bachelorette.

 

Sandy Kemsley, BPM expert and Column 2.0 blogger, said back in 2010 vendors were just beginning to explore how to support integration between the two technologies. One would've hoped there'd be a lot of product announcements on that in 2011.

 

Although I didn't manage to talk with her last year - and I plan to remedy that mistake soon - a quick check on her blog revealed precious little under the tag "MDM." Both involved Tibco, which in September unveiled a roadmap - not an actual release, mind you, but a roadmap - for one-click integration between MDM and its AMX/BMP.

 

Kemsley was excited about it, pointed out in particular the link between the data models.

 

Software AG has also talked about uniting the two and is even offering a free e-book on process-driven MDM.

 

At the end of last year, there were signs of convergence between BPM and data integration solutions, although not necessarily MDM.

 

So, it seems like vendors are finally making plans to integrate or "wed" the two. But it's a slow, slow process, which is probably smart, considering how complicated MDM and BPM can be, both as initiatives and as technology solutions.

 

Hopefully, this year will be the year they finally tie the knot.

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