Some experts think too many organizations are approaching master data management (MDM) as a “must-do” without really understanding or achieving its potential. In fact, Forrester MDM and data expert Michele Goetz says MDM isn’t something every company should pursue.
If you’re interested in drilling down on the potential of MDM, check out this recent Infosys BPO blog post. Granted, as a technology consultancy, it’s good business for the company to promote MDM (did you see that their CEO is now India’s highest paid executive?) and it may have elements of their model in it. But mostly, it seems pretty straightforward, with solid information.
The blog post provides some telling statistics, although it doesn’t source the surveys or provide specifics, so it’s impossible to judge their legitimacy. For instance, the piece cites a 2013 survey that found only 21 percent of organizations rated their data quality as high or better, with most rating it “fair.” I will say that information falls in line with past research that I’ve read.
What’s really smart, though, is the second section of the post, which digs into explaining MDM. I love that they define it as a framework with three key tenets — people, process and technology. Since the beginning, experts and vendors alike have warned that MDM is more than a technology solution, a refrain that seems to require reiteration.
But it also includes this gem:
“‘Data’ as we know is the main backbone of any business. Master Data Management also treats ‘Data’ as the primary asset for any organization …”
The author offers a list of key areas in which organizations find success if they treat data as their primary asset.
My only issue is that the list comes off as very IT-focused, with things like “data is correctly normalized” and “data standards are based on relevant data categorization framework…” But the business benefits are in there, if you know how to read between the lines. Here are a a few I spied:
- More organizational trust in data leads to better and profitable use of the data.
- The business knows who owns and is responsible for which data, making it easier to find and share data.
- It’s possible to train end users on using and managing the data, leading to even broader adoption of data-driven decisions.
- It’s easier to find the products and services catalogues you need.
- IT can respond to project and data requests faster and with less hassle.
If you’re among those frustrated by MDM’s results, this piece might help you identify some of the areas where your implementation fell short. You might also want to read:
- Goetz’ piece, “MDM: Highly recommended, still misunderstood”
- “We are only Half Pregnant with Master Data Management,” by Gartner Analyst Andrew White
- Top 10 MDM Mistakes of 2013