Six Steps to MDM Success - Slide 7

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One common mistake is to see an executive sponsor as just someone who's going to fund your project, writes Rick Sherman, who runs the IT consulting firm Athena IT Solutions. While no one would underestimate the importance of that, Sherman says business sponsorship should also extend to ensuring you receive the daily support MDM and related programs, such as data governance, require from the business:

Business executives, from corporate and line-of-business groups, need to be involved in establishing the mindset that data is a corporate asset and needs to be managed just as carefully as any other valuable asset that the enterprise owns. Executives need to commit resources and time from people at all levels of the enterprise to define and manage data.

In part, this means your business sponsor should ensure the work is not rushed or handed to already overburdened employees, he writes. The executive sponsor should also ensure responsibility for these tasks is institutionalized by making it a measurable part of everyone's performance evaluations, according to Sherman.

When seeking an executive sponsor, you might also consider the advice Gartner analyst John Radcliffe gave about data governance: Find mid-level management business people who are respected and influential, rather than recruit an upper-level executive who might not have the time to devote to the MDM initiative.

More organizations are pursuing MDM (master data management). Forrester Research says its client inquiries about MDM have increased 90 percent in the past two years, and by early December of 2010, Gartner had estimated that worldwide MDM software revenue would reach $1.5 billion by year end, a 14 percent increase from 2009.

That's a lot of cash and yet Gartner predicts 66 percent of organizations will find it difficult to demonstrate the business value of MDM.

Could it be that many organizations need MDM but haven't prepared for it?

In this slideshow, Loraine Lawson highlights the steps many MDM practitioners and analysts say you should take before embarking on a master data management initiative.

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