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Posts tagged ‘CDI’


2009 Year in Review

As we’re about to enter 2010, it’s a good time to reflect on what happened in 2009 and what it all means.

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…” So Dickens begins “A Tale of Two Cities”, but it’s also a good description of the past year.

The first half of the year was one of the most challenging I’ve faced in my twenty-three year career in business and technology. The second half of 2009 was better – not without its speed bumps but every month was a little better than the one before it.

The macro-economic climate has been tumultuous at best. But the second half of the year showed enough improvement that Hub Designs’ revenue for the year was up 33%. Not bad for a two and a half year old company during the worst economic conditions in 80 years …

Marketing and Thought Leadership

We launched a new web site in January, and it’s been well received. Total visits to were up 14% over 2008.

A little later in the year, we updated the “look and feel” of the Hub Designs Blog, branding it as the “world’s fastest growing blog covering master data management and data governance”. We’ve gotten more than 43,000 hits since we started writing in July 2007, and our readership more than doubled in 2009, to about 27,000 hits per year.

We published six issues of our “Best Practices in Master Data Management” newsletter this year. We publish the newsletter about six times a year to roughly 3,300 subscribers.

I wrote six articles for Information Management magazine, including some popular ones on “Product Information Management Challenges”, how to build a business case for master data management, and how to select the right MDM vendor for your organization. I also wrote for Identity Resolution Daily, on “The Growing Role of Identity Resolution in MDM” and “Matching – MDM’s Secret Sauce”.

With our partner Siperian, we wrote a white paper in August called “When Data Governance Turns Bureaucratic: How Data Governance Police Can Constrain the Value of Your MDM Initiative” that has generated quite a bit of discussion. You can download a copy of it here.

A second white paper, called “Best Practices for Leveraging D&B in Oracle E-Business Suite”, was written in partnership with Dun & Bradstreet. It describes using D&B information to drive better supply chain performance for companies using Oracle E-Business Suite. You can download it here.

I volunteer for the Education Committee of the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG). A big part of that effort lies in programming the MDM track for the annual conference. This year, it was in Orlando in May, and I really enjoyed speaking there and seeing people from the Oracle community that I don’t see very often. Here’s a link to my OAUG presentation.

We participated in conference calls with Oracle Development during the year, and ultimately attended the Oracle Fusion “Hands-On Validation & Testing” session for Customer MDM at Oracle headquarters in August. It was a great chance to get some early insights into Oracle’s next major product release and to see the progress Oracle has made in building out its Fusion MDM vision, which is striking in its powerful hub technology and its elegant & productive user interface.

In 2008, we attended the Gartner MDM Summit to decide whether to exhibit there in 2009.  We were impressed enough with the conference that we did exhibit in 2009, in October in Los Angeles. We had a positive experience, so we’ll be a Silver level sponsor in April 2010 in Las Vegas. Since we specialize in MDM and data governance, we find the association with Gartner’s MDM event a powerful one.

I didn’t attend Oracle OpenWorld for the past couple of years, but this year I was glad I did. It was like “old home week”, seeing people from Oracle itself and from the broader Oracle community that I’ve met over the past 15 years. David Butler, Senior Director of MDM Marketing at Oracle, posted my presentation on Oracle’s web site, and said “you were our cleanup hitter and you hit a home run with the bases loaded”.

We also did webinars with our partners Siperian and Initiate Systems. The Siperian webinar covered the differences between MDM platforms like Siperian and ERP platforms like SAP from a master data perspective. The Initiate webinar, with Initiate’s CTO Marty Moseley, discussed developing strong MDM business case, deploying core MDM technologies and lessons learned on the “build vs. buy” question.

Social Networking

After experimenting with social networking in 2008, this year we had a coordinated strategy to use the Hub Designs Blog, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to communicate & collaborate with our clients, potential clients, team members, partners, suppliers, etc.

It’s a pretty simple strategy. Short updates (140 characters or less) go out on Twitter, and are re-published on both LinkedIn and Facebook. Longer updates (i.e. blog articles) are published on the Hub Designs Blog.  We encourage responses and feedback using @replies on Twitter and comments on LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as longer-form comments on the blog. And we get them – almost every blog article gets at least one comment, sometimes as many as a dozen.

When a new blog article comes out, we notify everyone via a single update on Twitter. What’s amazing is that during 2009, social networking now drives about 15% of the Hub Designs Blog’s total traffic. And one of our clients gave us some good feedback that our social networking activities help her stay current on what we’re up to, and help her feel connected to us as a company.

Another social networking experiment that developed further in 2009 was the MDM Community.  We started this using Ning (a “social network in a box”) in November 2008, out of frustration with LinkedIn’s “Group” functionality.  It now has more than 210 members, from 23 different countries. It’s still a work in progress, but if you’re interested in master data management or data governance, you should check it out at It’s becoming an international “who’s who” of the MDM world.

Summary of Client Projects

In case you think the Hub Designs team has been doing nothing but marketing, writing white papers and magazine articles, speaking at conferences, and volunteering for user groups, here’s a summary of our 2009 client projects:

  1. Technology provider for vehicle dealers: integration of Oracle E-Business Suite with D&B data
  2. Payroll services company: integration of Oracle E-Business Suite with external credit information
  3. Information services company: technical support for customers using Oracle E-Business Suite
  4. Legal information services company: readiness assessment and product MDM strategy & design
  5. Simulation and engineering software company: advisor to data governance board
  6. Manufacturer of oil and gas equipment: integration of Oracle E-Business Suite R12 with D&B
  7. Software company: built connector between Oracle AR and D&B’s DNBi risk management solution
  8. Technology company: customer MDM strategy workshop

Out With The Old, In With The New

This past year has been a lot of fun, but it has also been somewhat exhausting. So I’m looking forward to a bit more deliberate pace in 2010.

We’re very excited about the coming year at Hub Designs. We’ve got some great projects underway and in the pipeline, and we’ll be continuing to grow and expand to meet our clients’ needs and market demands.

In closing, I’d like to say how grateful I am to my family, for their patience with my traveling so much and for their unconditional love.


Hidden Costs of Duplicate Customer Data

A client asked me last week about what rate of duplicate data was “normal” in customer master data.

My initial answer was that, among companies that don’t have any formal master data management, data governance or data quality initiatives in place, duplication rates of 10%-30% (or more) are not uncommon.

When I was at D&B, we used to routinely see that level of duplication in client’s customer files.

In a study in the healthcare field, Children’s Medical Center Dallas engaged an outside firm to help clean up their duplicate data:

“Solving both the current and future problems around duplicate records helped Children’s improve the quality of patient care and increase physician acceptance of the new EHR. The duplicate record rate was initially reduced from 22.0% to 0.2% and five years later it remains an exceptionally low 0.14%. The 5 FTEs initially tasked with resolving duplicate records have been reduced to less than 1 FTE.”

“For the Children’s Medical Center, the results were heartening, not only from a care delivery standpoint but also because of the significant cost-savings that can be realized. A study conducted on Children’s data showed that on average, a duplicate medical record costs the organization more than $96.

So it is possible to get the duplication rate down to really low levels through careful analysis and the application of the right tools, as part of an ongoing data governance program. Even the hospital above (and hospitals are usually not mentioned as practitioners of best practices) was able to maintain a duplication rate of only 0.14% after 5 years.

And there are very real costs to not de-duplicating your customer data.  Depending on the functional area (marketing, sales, finance, customer service, etc.) and the business activities you undertake, high levels of duplicate customer data can:

  • annoy customers or undermine their confidence in your company,
  • increase mailing costs,
  • cause hundreds of hours of manual reconciliation of data,
  • increase resistance to implementation of new systems,
  • result in multiple sales people, sales teams or collectors calling on the same customer,
  • etc.

The best studies I’ve seen of the cost of duplicate data have been in the healthcare industry. One study I saw said:

“According to Just Associates, the direct cost of leaving duplicates in an Master Patient Index database is anywhere from $20 per duplicate to several hundred dollars. The lower cost reflects the organization’s labor and supply costs to identify and fix the record while the higher expense reflects the costs of repeated diagnostic tests done on a patient whose previous medical records could not be located.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) estimates that it costs between $10 and $20 per pair of duplicates to reconcile the records. If the records aren’t reconciled, however, the costs are even higher.”

Here are three more case studies backing up the range I quoted of 10%-30%:

  • Once the analysis was complete, Sentara discovered they had a significant duplication rate, over 18%. They had attempted to address the duplication rate in the past through a remediation process, but due to either technology issues or because the cost of merging and cleaning up the duplicates across their many different systems was too high, they had not yet successfully reduced their duplication rate. Source: Initiate Systems success story
  • Emerson Process Management faced a tremendous challenge four years ago in getting its CRM data in order: There were potentially 400 different master records for each customer, based on different locations or different functions associated with the client. “You have to begin to think about a customer as an organization you do business with that has a set of addresses tied to it,” says Nancy Rybeck, the data warehouse architect at Emerson who took charge of the cleanup. Working with Group 1, Rybeck analyzed the customer records for similarities and connections using everything from postal standards to D&B data, and managed to eliminate the 75 percent site-duplication rate the company suffered in its data. “That’s going to ripple through everything,” she says. Source:
  • Problem: Number of duplicate records: 20.9% of Utah Statewide Immunization Information System records. Impact of Problem: Difficult to find patients in system—key barrier to provider participation, risk of over-immunization—unable to find reliable patient record, cost of unnecessary immunizations, risk of adverse effects on patients. Source:

And here’s a good quote from a white paper titled “Data Quality and the Bottom Line” by The Data Warehousing Institute:

“Peter Harvey, CEO of Intellidyn, a marketing analytics firm, says that when his firm audits recently ‘cleaned’ customer files from clients, it finds that 5 percent of the file contains duplicate records. The duplication rate for untouched customer files can be 20 percent or more.”

Every organization will need its own metrics, but left unchecked, the duplication problem is a hidden cost that drags at your company, slowing down your processes and making your analyses less reliable.

If your sales analysis reports can’t be sure that there’s one and only one record for each of your largest customers, then the sales figures for those customers are probably not right. So the entire report becomes suspect at that point.

I’d like to end with a great quote on data quality by Ken Orr from the Cutter Consortium in “The Good, The Bad, and The Data Quality”:

“Ultimately, poor data quality is like dirt on the windshield. You may be able to drive for a long time with slowly degrading vision, but at some point, you either have to stop and clear the windshield or risk everything.”

Please let us know what you think by commenting here.  We’re interested in hearing your thoughts on data quality and the issue of customer data duplication.


First Look at Oracle Fusion MDM Hub

“All NDAs are lifted” were the magic words uttered by Steve Miranda from Oracle at the Fusion Inner Circle Event at Oracle OpenWorld on October 15th.

Just to make sure, I asked Steve explicitly during the Q&A section of the program if it was okay under the non-disclosure agreement we had all signed to write about Fusion on my blog, and he said “Yes.”

Hub Designs was invited back in February to help Oracle’s Fusion MDM team with some design review, validation, and testing activities. In return for our assistance, we’ve gotten to see Fusion MDM inside and out, and we can proudly say that we are one of the very few trusted partners who helped Oracle to design and develop the application.

We participated in a lot of conference calls with Haidong Song, Oracle’s Product Strategy Director for Customer MDM, and other members of his team. And we attended a week-long “hands-on validation” event at Oracle headquarters in August, looking specifically at the customer data management aspects of the Fusion MDM hub.

My first impressions of Fusion MDM during that hands-on session were very favorable. I remember thinking to myself, “Oracle could almost start selling this into the MDM hub market right now!”

Of course, Fusion isn’t scheduled to ship until sometime in 2010, and there’s still plenty of work to be done between now and then. But the core functionality needed for master data management was there, and the Oracle Fusion MDM team had a room full of customers and partners banging on it for a week without any significant crashes or issues.

There was plenty to like in Fusion that didn’t relate specifically to master data management – the new and improved user interface, the embedded analytics, the modern, standards-based architecture, the usability research that Oracle has done, the improved business processes, the built-in collaboration capabilities …

But the fundamentals of MDM were strong as well. Haidong and his team demonstrated how to import and consolidate customer data from outside sources, and we did our first hands-on lab session bringing in a small customer data load from a desktop file, such as a list of trade show leads.

We also tested a larger volume of customer data being brought into Fusion MDM through the Bulk Import process.

We did another exercise simulating how a typical customer data steward would identify potential duplicate customers, and then resolve those duplicates by merging the duplicate parties.

We also got a good look at the Informatica components that Oracle is bundling into Fusion on an OEM basis: the former Identity Systems matching engine and the former Address Doctor address cleansing tool. Previous Oracle MDM products like Customer Data Hub have had loose integration with Trillium and Firstlogic for address cleansing, but it’s refreshing to see Oracle investing in deep integration with industry leading solutions.

I think there are going to be a lot of Oracle customers who will move to Fusion MDM as the first wave of their overall migration to Fusion, who will see Fusion MDM as a good way to get some early experience with the Fusion applications family, before committing their mission critical Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications to the Fusion platform.

And in 2010 and beyond, I think will be a lot of potential customers who evaluate Fusion MDM positively on its own merits against competitive MDM hubs. Oracle brings a robust data model, open architecture, and a next-generation approach to master data management, with state-of-the-art matching, data quality, middleware, and business process management.

Please let me know by commenting here what your thoughts and expectations are for Oracle’s Fusion MDM hub.


Oracle OpenWorld Presentation

I had a great time at the Oracle OpenWorld conference this year.

Oracle did a great job organizing the MDM track. There were a lot of great presentations, and a good balance of speakers between Oracle people, outside consultants and experts, and end users with success stories to share.

David Butler, Senior Director of MDM Marketing at Oracle, was kind enough to convert my presentation titled “Best Practices in Master Data Management and Data Governance” to PDF format and to post it on the MDM web page.

You can find it in the ‘Partners’ portlet on the right hand side of the page, or just click here.


Siperian Momentum

At the Gartner MDM Summit conference three weeks ago in Los Angeles, I sat down with Anurag Wadehra and Ravi Shankar from Siperian. I usually go to Siperian’s user conference, which was held last week in Princeton, NJ. I couldn’t make it this time but had a great time at their Spring 2009 event.

So instead, I thought I’d do a blog article on Siperian’s momentum in the last year or so, based on the briefing that Anurag and Ravi were kind enough to give me in Los Angeles.

Siperian’s ambition is to be a leader in multi-domain master data management and since their product is not tied to a specific data model, that’s a realistic goal. Many of their customers find the business problem they’re initially trying to solve does in fact involve multiple domains (or areas) of master data.

Siperian’s most recent fiscal year ended May 31st, and they wrapped up the new year’s first quarter on August 31st. Impressively, their license sales more than doubled over the last 4 quarters, and overall revenue almost doubled.

The reduction in dependence on services revenue and the corresponding increase in license revenue, indicates a positive trend that Siperian continues to shift its implementations to its alliance partners.

One of the reasons Siperian wanted to sit down with myself and others in the MDM space was to dispel some rumors that have been floating around about the company. The economic downturn that began in the fall of 2008 has been widely felt, to be sure, and Siperian had significant exposure at that time to the financial services industry, which was one of the hardest hit industry sectors.

But Siperian has done a good job diversifying its customer base into other verticals, more than a dozen total to date, and is continuing to close deals with new customers, extending its footprint at existing customers, and building significant relationships with global systems integrators.

With customers like Johnson & Johnson, Merrill Lynch, and Cephalon speaking on behalf of Siperian at events like the Gartner MDM Summit and Siperian’s own user conference, there definitely seems to be a pattern emerging of large organizations with challenging MDM requirements turning to Siperian.

Another trend worth mentioning is that a large portion of Siperian’s revenue is repeat business – customers who have done a successful project with the company and are expanding their MDM footprint into another domain, geography, etc. This speaks volumes about the success of Siperian customers’ current implementations.

Siperian’s “Business Data Director” (BDD) product, launched at the spring user conference, has already signed up more than a dozen customers, with 2-3 already “live” and more going live in the next few months. I was there for the launch of BDD and remain impressed with it.

To a large degree, Siperian’s strategy of scaling through alliances is paying off. Ninety percent of its revenue in the last 4 quarters was partner influenced, with its top four partners accounting for 60% of that business.

I’ve followed the company closely for the past couple of years, and I think their company strategy and product roadmap is solid. Siperian helps keep the “Big Three” of MDM (Oracle, IBM and SAP) on their toes, and has generated a lot of innovation in this space.

I’m sorry to have missed their user conference last week, and I continue to expect great things from Siperian. Please share your thoughts on the company and their products here using the Comments feature.


MDM Track at the OAUG Conference

The Oracle Applications Users Group conference, COLLABORATE 10, is being held April 18-22, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

But the Master Data Management (MDM) track of COLLABORATE 10 needs YOUR help!

This is your final invitation to share your MDM and Data Governance success story, knowledge and expertise by presenting at the conference.

The MDM Track’s call for papers has been extended to 11:59 pm EDT on Monday, October 26; this deadline will not be extended further.

More than 5,000 users, technology leaders, Oracle executives and solution innovators will gather for the event April 18-22, 2010, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

We hope we’ll see you there — as a speaker!

If you’re interested in presenting, all you need at this point is a title, a short abstract of 520 characters summarizing your idea, and up to five “bullet point” objectives.

If you’d like to submit a paper, just send an e-mail to info (at) hubdesigns (dot) com, giving me a brief sketch of your idea. I’ll respond with the URL you’ll need to submit it.


Aaron Zornes Data Governance Session at Oracle OpenWorld

I’ve always enjoyed the depth and quality of Aaron Zornes’ analysis on master data management. I’ve been attending the MDM Summit conferences that he organizes in the U.S. with SourceMedia since 2006, and I’ve spoken at quite a few of his events.

Today I had the pleasure of hearing him speak on enterprise data governance. Here are some of his major points:

  • Don’t settle for “passive” / downstream data governance; instead demand “active” / upstream data governance (please see my white paper with Siperian on this at
  • Don’t expect data governance maturity assessments to solve all your problems and provide a roadmap out of data governance anarchy.
  • Today’s “data stewardship consoles” are substantially less than true enterprise data governance.
  • Vendor viability does matter.
  • Be prepared to spend $250k-$500k for an initial data governance solution.

Aaron styles himself as the “godfather of MDM” and today was a good reminder of why he deserves that title.


Oracle OpenWorld 2009

I just arrived in lovely San Francisco for the latest edition of Oracle OpenWorld.

I’m particularly interested in the Master Data Management (MDM) track this year, as it looks as if the Oracle team has done a great job putting together a roster of Oracle employees, customers and partners to speak on its MDM products for managing master data on customers, products, financials, sites and suppliers.

I ran into several Oracle people like Pascal Laik, David Butler, and Rahul Kamath at last week’s Gartner MDM Summit conference in Los Angeles (more on that later), and as always, it was great to see them.

I’m really looking forward to this week’s sessions on the state of the art in MDM and data governance, and will be speaking myself on Thursday, Oct. 15th at 3:00 pm PDT. So if you’re interested in MDM and you’re attending OpenWorld this week, please stop by and say hello.

For that matter, if you’re in San Francisco and want to get together, send me an e-mail at powerd (at) hubdesigns (dot) com, or call my office number (781-749-8910) – it’s forwarded to my cell phone.

Hope to run into you in the City by the Bay!


Two Passes to Gartner MDM Summit

Hub Designs has two additional passes to the Gartner MDM Summit conference next week in Los Angeles.  You will be responsible for all of your own travel, lodging and meals, but your conference registration would be covered.

Please contact me via the “Contact Us” page on our web site.  To be fair, the first two people (using the time stamp on your request) will get the passes.

Please provide the following:

  • Your first and last name (as you’d like it to appear on your badge)
  • Company Name
  • Title
  • Phone Number
  • E-Mail Address
  • Mailing Address (please put in Message field on web site)

Only complete entries will be considered.

For more information on the conference, please see


Webinar with Initiate Systems

“Master Data Management: The Sliding Scale Between Build and Buy”

Replay of the webinar with Dan Power and Marty Moseley

Please join industry experts Dan Power, Founder and President, Hub Solutions, and Marty Moseley, CTO, Initiate Systems, for this webinar where we’ll outline the best practices that have evolved to support organizations in making the critical “build vs. buy” decision.

Master data management (MDM) transforms data integration and business processes. Many organizations are exploring an MDM solution and will eventually have to answer the build vs. buy question. The combination of build and buy for MDM depends on the individual organization’s circumstances, goals and objectives. As MDM has evolved, so have the best practices for considering how much should be built and how much should be bought.

Some key considerations include:

  • What are your current data volumes? How will they change in the near and distant future?
  • Are customer relationships one-dimensional? Are you concerned with multiple domains of data and managing the corresponding hierarchies?
  • Will you implement Web services? How will they be used?
  • Do you augment your internal data with information from external vendors?
  • What are the time, budget and resource limitations?
  • Is MDM intended to eventually provide an enterprise data platform?

Please click here for the on-demand replay.


Looking for MDM Papers for OAUG COLLABORATE 2010

As I’ve written in the past, Hub Designs is a corporate member of the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), and your trusty author, Dan Power, is the OAUG Education Committee’s track manager for Master Data Management.

Believe it or not, we’ve already started planning the May 2010 conference. So we’re looking for good papers on Oracle’s current MDM productsOracle Customer HubOracle Product HubOracle Site Hub, and Hyperion Data Relationship Management.

This will be the second year where we will be combining the Customer MDM and Product MDM threads in a single Master Data Management track.  Feedback on this was very good at last year’s conference.

Here’s the scoop from the OAUG on the Call for Papers:

Share Your Knowledge at COLLABORATE 10!

Proposals are due by Tuesday, October 20.

You are invited to submit a presentation proposal and share your approach to Oracle Applications in an education session at the premier annual conference for Oracle customers — COLLABORATE 10: Technology and Applications Forum for the Oracle Community, presented by IOUG, OAUG and Quest. More than 5,000 users, technology leaders, Oracle executives and solution innovators will gather for the premiere user-driven education and networking event April 18-22, 2010 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

If you are an Oracle Applications professional with an interest in Oracle Fusion, Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Agile, Hyperion, Oracle Communications and Siebel product families, as well as applications technology, please submit through the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG). Proposals are now being accepted. The deadline is Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

As a selected presenter, you’ll have the chance to:

  • Share your best practices and tested solutions for Oracle technologies and applications
  • Enhance your own knowledge through new conversations with your peers
  • Attend a full week of education sessions to learn from other Oracle users, experts and leaders

Get more information about presenting at COLLABORATE 10, including tracks, specific industry- or product-related areas of emphasis, presenter requirements and the presentation submission and selection processes.

Submit your proposal through the OAUG

Note These Important Presentation Submission Dates and Deadlines

  • October 20, 2009, 11:59 p.m. EDT: Presentation abstracts due.
  • December 2009: Accepted presenters notified by the OAUG.
  • January 21, 2010: Acceptance of the compliance agreement due.
  • March 9, 2010: All presentation materials including white paper and presentation slides are due.
  • April 18 – 22, 2010: We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!

IOUG, OAUG and Quest strive to provide top-quality content at COLLABORATE, emphasizing user-driven education sessions that truly benefit attendees and their organizations. We will monitor sessions and feedback from attendees to ensure education sessions are not focused on a sales-centered topic. Presenters in violation will be noted and may be prevented from speaking at future COLLABORATE conferences. This does not apply to any purchased vendor activities, which are clearly communicated to attendees as sponsored events.

Attention Team Oracle! All Oracle employees interested in speaking at COLLABORATE 10 are to contact Lisa Stuart at prior to submitting papers through the official COLLABORATE 10 call for papers engine.

Connect with COLLABORATE 10 — OAUG Forum on Twitter for conference news, reminders and networking. Use hashtag #C10.

AMB Webinar on “MDM on a Shoestring”

Regular readers of this blog are, of course, aware of the benefits of Master Data Management (MDM) as a means to enable the organization’s customer and supplier facing employees with accurate, complete, timely and consistent information.  Many companies find themselves in the predicament of having multiple versions of the truth.  Employee productivity is often reduced by using inaccurate data while servicing customers, patients, vendors, investors, etc.

The cost and disruption introduced by adopting an MDM solution shouldn’t be minimized. While the benefits of these environments are well documented, the road to implementing MDM can be challenging. Hub Solution Designs’ partner, AMB, a leading vendor in the data governance industry, is presenting a simpler path, where the benefits can be reaped without the sometimes difficult implementation and the costs normally associated with MDM.  AMB calls its approach “MDM on a Shoestring”.

AMB is presenting a short webinar on this topic.  Using service-based profiling tools that can reach data wherever it resides, plus a virtual MDM registry constructed using an open repository and easy-to-use query tools, allows for building a much simpler roadmap to benefiting from MDM.

AMB has partnered with industry veteran Mark Albala to offer an informative 30 minute webinar on this topic.  Attendees will learn about a new, affordable approach to MDM, including Mark’s seven key attributes to using the right tools and how information profiling forms the basis for MDM success.

This 30 minute program is designed to be brief and informative, and is available at 12:30 pm EDT on either August 27th  or September 15th.  To register, just visit to the AMB website at


New Data Governance White Paper

A new white paper by Dan Power of Hub Designs is available on Siperian’s web site.

The white paper underscores the importance of a proactive data governance approach, and is designed to help organizations develop a sound and sustainable data governance initiative.

Data governance is a vital component of any master data management effort, since it defines who owns the data, who establishes policies, and who the decision-making authority is when it comes to an organization’s critical data assets. However, many companies tend to take a limited and reactive approach to data governance.

In this new report titled, “When Data Governance Turns Bureaucratic: How The Data Governance Police Can Constrain the Value of Your Master Data Management Initiative”, we outline the limitations of a reactive data governance strategy and urge organizations to adopt a proactive data governance approach, whereby master data is corrected and validated right at the source and often by the business user. This removes potential data stewardship “bottlenecks” and eliminates critical time lags that may occur between the initial entry of a new master record, its certification/ publishing, and its ultimate availability to the rest of the enterprise.

To access the full report, visit


Before You Take the MDM Journey

Editor’s Note: Today’s post was written by Jeff Schaffzin. Jeff is an independent consultant with over 15 years of experience in high tech. He’s worked with a number of leading software vendors in roles such as product marketing, professional services and information technology. Specializing in data management, Jeff has spent the last three years focusing on Customer Data Integration and Master Data Management and has worked with a number of high profile companies in the United States and abroad.

Since I’m a consultant, I have the chance to meet with a wide variety of people at different companies in various industries. About a month ago, I talked with someone I worked with a number of years ago who wanted to know more about Master Data Management. Since he’s worked more as a “functional” person for most of his career (as opposed to a “technical” one), he asked me exactly what an MDM solution would provide his company.

MDM, I told him, is not simply a software application that you ‘buy’ from a software vendor like you might with a CRM or ERP solution. You can’t just decide one day that you want to buy a “customer hub” or a “product information manager” because you heard from your IT Director (or even CIO) that it will save your company millions and cure world hunger. It’s vital to understand why your company might need an MDM solution.

You need to look at your company and do some good old-fashioned detective work. Before you take that journey, take the time to understand how your company works and more importantly, why it isn’t as efficient as it could be. Perhaps management wants to know more about your customers, but can’t do it because customer data is stored in three different applications, and even then it takes two or three months to get an out-of-date report. Maybe your company is paying too much in commissions with multiple reps getting paid for the same deal. Has your company grown so fast that you have multiple purchasing and inventory management systems and hundreds of Excel spreadsheets that have all the answers – if only you could piece them together?

Perhaps you have a more urgent need to understand your customers. If you’re a pharmaceutical company, you need to follow strict spend management guidelines related to marketing to your customers. If you’re a financial services provider, you need to comply with capital management standards like Basel II and to understand your clients as mandated by federal Anti-Money Laundering legislation. Perhaps you’re a publicly held company and need to ensure that you comply with Sarbanes-Oxley. In any case, failure to comply with such legislation can lead to fines, damaged reputations or even imprisonment of top executives.

These all are commonly found reasons for pursuing an MDM solution. Take a moment – what reasons do you have for exploring MDM? If your company is like most that I talk to, you’ve got the problems that master data management can help solve.


Gryphon Networks

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Editor’s note: from time to time, the Hub Designs Blog profiles companies and solutions you may not have heard of yet that are relevant to master data management (MDM).

Company & location: Gryphon Networks, headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts, provides “on demand contact governance” solutions.

Value proposition: Gryphon’s approach combines compliance and preference management, converting consumer contact preferences, compliance policies, and corporate governance into a consumer contact database, tracking the legal methods for contact. This gives you a “safe” list that expands your marketable base.

What point in MDM lifecycle: This is particularly useful when you’re using an MDM hub to support marketing activities and you’re concerned about maintaining a “single source of truth” on “Do Not Call” status, as well as opt-in / opt-out status for fax, email, and direct mail campaigns.

Relevance to MDM: Today’s hubs are evolving into “policy hubs”, where the enterprise can go beyond basic customer name & address data to tracking advanced attributes like contact preferences and managing compliance with a growing list of privacy regulations. But for a lot of industries, the current generation of MDM hubs doesn’t go far enough. That’s where Gryphon Networks comes in – it provides a real-time, on-demand contact governance capability that your MDM hub can interact with via Web Services.

If you’re in an industry like financial services, hotels, healthcare, telecommunications, insurance, etc. where there’s a need for a lot of outbound marketing activities and at the same time, strict privacy regulations around “Do Not Call” and opt-out status for e-mail, fax and direct mail marketing, your MDM strategy should probably include integration with Gryphon Networks’ platform.

For more information, contact Bob Hadden at


Interview in Data Quality Pro

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Data Quality ProTM is a free, independent community resource dedicated to helping data quality professionals take their career or business to the next level. Founded and managed by data quality professionals, its mission is to create the most beneficial data quality resource that is freely available to members around the world. 

Dylan Jones, founder & editor, interviewed me recently, and the interview appears on the Data Quality Pro site today.

Please click here to read the full interview.


Siperian Solutions Day

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Last week, I attended Siperian’s Solutions Day event in Princeton, NJ. I’ve been to several Siperian events in the past and always found them to be well done, with interesting and educational sessions. Nancy Ellickson and the Siperian team did a great job, and about 125 people attended.

After a brief “MacGyver” video, Ramon Chen (Siperian’s VP of Product Marketing) kicked things off, welcoming everyone and introducing the first speaker.

I saw the presentation by Charles Bloodworth, Director of IT at Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems, when J&JHCS won the first “MDM Excellence” award at the Gartner MDM Summit. This time, he had more time and was able to tell a more complete version of their story. I liked his emphasis on “master data as the foundation of what we do”.

They funded their MDM effort by reallocating money from 3-4 different IT projects which would have all involved master data on customers, affiliations, products, list prices and sales force alignment. I’ve seen this approach to building a business case work several times – rather than duplicating all that effort, do it once and share the results, and you can usually do it for less.

J&JHCS has been weaving consistent master data into their major reengineering programs for about four years now. Information flows from the MDM system into their ERP and manufacturing applications, and from there into a data consolidation and business intelligence delivery capability, and this has driven a huge amount of value for them.

That session was followed by a demonstration of Siperian’s Business Data Director™, a new data governance user interface. I was impressed by its built-in workflow for data stewards, the slick view of data lineage, and its flexible hierarchy management.

Dan Goldsmith, a partner at IBM Life Sciences, did a session on IBM’s new managed service offering for Siperian MDM. It was revealing that IBM chose Siperian as the heart of its managed services offering, rather than its own MDM product. I spoke to Dan after his session, and he agreed to do an interview with me in a future article on the Hub Designs Blog.

Lynn Weishaupt, the MDM Technical Team Lead for Weyerhaeuser, talked about their use of Siperian in their SAP manufacturing environment. Having done a number of ERP implementations at manufacturing companies prior to the development of separate MDM systems, I found her session very interesting.

Siperian’s founder and CTO, Ken Hoang, gave an overview of the next generation of the company’s products, including an intriguing look at the Semantic Master, also referred to as Master Content Management. It was an interesting view into the way Siperian listens to its customers.

Morgan Norris, the Bioscience Division Market Manager for Millipore, talked about customer data management and their vendor selection process. He laid out some useful “lessons learned”: find or hire a technical team with experience in MDM and an experienced manager for data governance, start data governance 4-5 months before capturing your requirements, be flexible and keep it simple, follow a phased development approach, and communicate constantly with your stakeholders. Most importantly, make sure you’re solving a business problem, not just building infrastructure.

The highlight of the day for me was being invited to be part of the “Ask the Experts” panel discussion. I really enjoyed answering questions with Lynn Weishaupt from Weyerhaeuser, Morgan Norris from Millipore, and Manish Sood and Ken Hoang from Siperian.


Solid Strategies for Surviving a Slowdown (Part 2)

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Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series written by Jim Walker from Initiate Systems. You can find Part 1 here.

Here are the rest of the six proven business strategies fueled by real-time, accurate and complete customer data in a master data management (MDM) system:

Use customer service to retain customers and cut costs: Acquiring customers is expensive, and losing them is even more costly. Better customer service will improve customer satisfaction and retention and reduce your costs. Empowering your touch points with a complete and accurate view of each of your customers and their relationships provides a clear picture to both your customer and your representatives. Automated collection and presentation of complete customer information to service professionals reduces search times and has a positive effect on call waiting times, increasing productivity and reducing costs. It allows you to never ask a customer to repeat themselves. Accurate composite customer data enables web self-service applications with a single view of multiple accounts to empower your visitors to help themselves. 

Be bold, change the playing field; buy a competitor: A downturn will have an indelible effect on many industries as valuations decrease and otherwise impossible consolidations becomes plausible. Historically, the most successful mergers are made in downturns. According to Harvard Business Review, “downturn mergers generate about 15% more value, as measured by total shareholder return, than boom-time mergers.” However, capital is sparse and careful due diligence of a potential target is imperative, as their problems will become yours if the merger is completed. Merger analysis should include careful consideration of customers and any potential risks. This knowledge will help you make sense of a bold move during a tenuous time. 

Regulations never go away: An economic downturn does not delay compliance with government regulations. In fact as a slide continues, governments look to increase regulation to prevent future issues. Compliance in a recession is imperative so that you avoid costly fines that may have a devastating effect on your financial picture.

Obtaining and delivering accurate, comprehensive customer data is at the foundation of all six of these strategies. Your level of success will depend on the quality of the data that feeds each of these business improvements. An accurate data foundation allows you to deliver on fixing short-term pains, while setting up long-term gains. A new breed of data management technology has evolved to meet these challenges.

Master data management enables delivery of these valuable strategies and objectives. It provides complete, accurate customer views and valuable hierarchy management to your customer data. Reliability and effectiveness of this data is determined by its accuracy and ability to reflect real world conditions in any situation where that data is used.

Jim Walker is a Senior Manager, Field Marketing for Initiate Systems, a leading provider of master data management (MDM) solutions. Jim specializes in researching and writing on the effects of MDM on the enterprise. He has held numerous marketing positions at enterprise software companies, focusing on data management and security. He has also designed and implemented large scale enterprise systems as a technology consultant. Jim holds a MBA in e-commerce from Carnegie Mellon University and a BS in Computer Engineering form the University of Illinois at Chicago. He can be reached at

Click here for Part 1 of this series.


Solid Strategies for Surviving a Slowdown (Part 1)

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Jim Walker, Initiate SystemsEditor’s Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series written by Jim Walker from Initiate Systems. You can find Part 2 here.

As uncertainty accelerates, some companies not only survive, they prepare themselves to thrive during the subsequent recovery. Even in the best economic conditions, organizations look to do more with less, and in a downturn, they are forced to manage things even more tightly. Added market pressures force tough decisions. Less money results in contraction and consolidation of vital resources. Many companies turn to their most valuable asset, their customer data, to forecast and define their future.

A downturn opens rare opportunities to outmaneuver rivals by reducing costs and increasing efficiencies. Reliable and accurate customer data can provide valuable insight into changing market dynamics. Organizations that analyze their data to identify and avoid fraudulent and high-risk accounts can also reduce operating costs. Many use customer data to build and strengthen relationships and identify revenue opportunities. High quality, reliable customer data allows them to spot opportunities across lines of business or properly align a sales force with an up-to-date and accurate customer hierarchy. They can find pricing discount opportunities for customers or identify commissions over-payments.

The potential gain is substantial; however, the effectiveness of these initiatives is only as good as the underlying data that drives the results. Here are six proven business strategies that are fueled by real-time, accurate and complete customer data that master data management (MDM) can provide your organization.

Incent customers through improved pricing: Purchasing behavior changes dramatically in a recession. Consumers increasingly opt for lower-priced alternatives to their usual purchases. Customer upgrades and extensions not only improve your top line, they also increase customer retention and can be completed with much less cost. Knowing your customer will present pricing discounts or up-sale opportunities. However, complex business relationships, such a subsidiary and parent structure, keep you from obtaining a clear picture. Overlaying a trusted hierarchical structure on your customer data will provide an accurate view of rolled-up sales and introduce appropriate pricing discounts to garner new business in difficult times.

Never double pay a commission: Geographies or strategic sales territories sometimes overlap for sales executives. Managing this overlap for hundreds of sales resources across complex business relationships is difficult at best, and the potential overpayment of commissions is high. Identifying and removing the overlap requires you to have a clear picture of the customer and their organizational hierarchy. For instance, if two sales resources are selling into two subsidiaries of the same company, you may have missed an opportunity to roll up the sales and pay a single commission. Identifying and eliminating redundant commissions reduces operating costs.

Spend the right time on the right customers: Organizations are concerned for their own well-being as well as their customers’ and prospects’. Identifying and mitigating customer risk requires complete insight into accurate customer information, license positions and relationships. Overlaying a trusted hierarchical structure on customer data will allow you to roll up risk calculations so that you can analyze and identify a master account and apply appropriate risk strategies. This will help you understand your best customers and make strategic plans to maximize revenues associated to them. It will help you spend the right amount of time with the right customers.

Jim Walker is a Senior Manager, Field Marketing for Initiate Systems, a leading provider of master data management (MDM) solutions. Jim specializes in researching and writing on the effects of MDM on the enterprise. He has held numerous marketing positions at enterprise software companies, focusing on data management and security. He has also designed and implemented large scale enterprise systems as a technology consultant. Jim holds a MBA in e-commerce from Carnegie Mellon University and a BS in Computer Engineering form the University of Illinois at Chicago. He can be reached at

Click here for Part 2 of this series.


Top 5 Reasons Not To Master Your Data in SAP ERP

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We had a very successful webinar on Feb. 5th with Siperian, on the “Top 5 Reasons Not To Master Your Data in SAP ERP”.

A lot of organizations use SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for their transaction processing, but struggle to manage their non-transactional (or master) data on customers, products, suppliers, etc.

These types of data typically require a separate Master Data Management (MDM) system – to streamline business processes, reduce costs, and increase revenue by creating a single view of the customer, product, or supplier.

To view the replay, please click here.


MDM and Operational Business Intelligence

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Editor’s Note: Another in the series of “MDM and …” guest posts by Joan Lawson, an enterprise architect who I’ve known since 2003.

For more details on Joan, please see her LinkedIn profile — Dan Power

There’s been a resurgence lately of writing about Operational Business Intelligence.

It’s a valuable concept. Operational BI gives people in the enterprise an up-to-date view of performance against the key metrics that drive the success of the organization, so they’re better informed and can more readily determine corrective actions when needed.

All the vendors and analysts identify success criteria to include Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) engines, business rules, and high end presentation capabilities.

But they’re missing the #1 criteria for success… high quality master data.

In Operational BI, the real time transactional data will most likely be sourced from two or more business applications.

The historical source of data, for comparison’s sake, can be the data warehouse.

But for the master data, where is the “source of truth”? If you’re going to fast track your business monitoring, be sure to include an architecture for real-time master data management to provide top quality dimensional data.

Please let us know your thoughts by commenting here or on the MDM Community on your experiences in using MDM in concert with Operational Business Intelligence.


Upcoming Webinar with Siperian

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Loraine Lawson from ITBusinessEdge has a good article on our upcoming webinar sponsored by Siperian.

She pointed out that Andrew White of Gartner thought the webinar raises some good questions in his recent blog article.

Andrew White said “ERP might be a good place to master data. The real question for the user is this: where is the right source of master data for you?”

Andrew is on the right track. In the webinar, we’ll outline the differences between SAP ERP and Siperian MDM, and when it makes sense to have a separate MDM hub.

I think companies should evaluate whether their ERP system is helping them solve business problems involving master data – or causing them.

To register for the webinar, please click here.


MDM and SOA, a Strong Partnership

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Editor’s Note: Today’s post was written by Joan Lawson, a great enterprise architect whom I’ve known since 2003.

For more information on Joan, please see her LinkedIn profile — Dan Power

Let’s not allow Master Data Management (MDM) to become just another silo of data!  MDM and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) together, create a strong partnership in your enterprise architecture. 

1. Data Quality = Add Quality to SOA

SOA enables business functionality as a service.  However, it does not guarantee quality of the data on which it’s operating.  That’s a serious gap, which is filled by including MDM in a service-oriented architecture.  True business value is realized as services start leveraging the high quality data in the MDM hub and the services which surround it. 

2. Data Management Services Offered by the MDM Hub

MDM abstracts the governance of data by consolidating it into a central data model; conducting all data cleansing, augmentation, cleansing, and standardization; and creating a ‘gold standard’ source. These data management functions are centralized in the data hub and are hidden from the consumers of the cleansed data. Maximize the value of these services by consuming them from other applications that need to perform data quality processing external to the data hub.

3. Data Offered by the MDM Hub

Data services allow the consuming application to access and manipulate hub data from a service layer as a supported data source. Layering data services on the MDM hub hides the implementation of federated queries that gather the data requested by the consumer.

4. SOA, MDM, and middleware

SOA, integration middleware (Enterprise Service Bus or ESB), and MDM together can manage the detection of data changes in the source applications and propagate them from the source applications to the MDM – or from the MDM back to the consumers. With the addition of Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) and a business rules engine, a data change detected in a source can be captured, cause the data quality business rules to be executed on the data, and place the data back on the ESB to be consumed.

Are there other use cases for how MDM and SOA, together, add strength to the enterprise architecture? Please add your thoughts by commenting here or on the MDM Community.


MDM Institute Survey

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Please participate in a short but important survey at

The MDM Institute is surveying people at Global 5000 enterprises with active MDM or Data Governance initiatives — e.g., enterprise architects, VPs of infrastructure, corporate data governance managers, et al within enterprises of annual revenues greater than US $1 billion.

The survey can be done in less than 5 minutes, and all respondents completing it by end-of-day Friday, January 30th will receive a scorecard report that participants can share with IT and business management during early February 2009.

Thank you on behalf of The MDM Institute team!


New Year’s Resolutions for Hub Designs Blog

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Courtesy of Sally M.

Courtesy of Sally M.

Although 2008 was a tough year for many people, it was a great year for this blog. 

We wrote some well-received articles, and learned a lot about Master Data Management, Data Governance, blogging and social networking. We had almost 13,000 page views for the year, growing more than 20% per month.

In 2009, I’d really like to keep improving this blog. But to do that, I need your help.

Here are the top three New Year’s resolutions for the Hub Designs blog.  If you think there’s something I should add, please let me know by commenting here.

(1) More and Better Posts! Content is king for a blog. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback, and the blog has surely gotten better over the past year, but there’s plenty of room to improve. We can share our perspective on MDM news and announcements, provide more “MDM 101″ articles on core components of MDM technology, and share more insight on the “people” and “process” aspects of Master Data Management and Data Governance.

(2) More interaction with the MDM community — We’ve got the Hub Designs web site (which you can join using Google Friend Connect), this blog, our monthly newsletter, our articles & presentations, and we participate regularly on Twitter.  We recently started an MDM Jobs Board and an online MDM Community. We also maintain a Twitter Group and a Squidoo Lens on MDM, and we try to be active in the relevant LinkedIn Groups.

But there’s more I could do. Two ideas I had recently were an “MDM People” section, where individuals looking for new positions could list themselves for free, and “office hours”, where I’d make myself available for 1-2 hours per week to answer questions on MDM and Data Governance (I’d probably use the MDM Community’s online chat function for that).

(3) More thought leadership — I spend a considerable amount of time staying current on trends in MDM, and trying to “look around the corner” to envision changes and disruptions that may be coming in the next few years. In addition to sharing them with our consulting clients, we’ll try to include more of that here, so you’ll be able to stay on the cutting edge as well.

So that’s my starting point on what we can do to improve in 2009. What should do more of? Less of? What should we change? Please give us your thoughts by commenting!


Top Posts for 2008

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I thought I’d recap our “Top 10 blog posts for 2008″ for anyone who might have missed some of them. 

  1. Ten Best Practices for Master Data Management — by far our most popular post (with thanks to for featuring it)
  2. Our MDM Partnership Strategy — discusses our vendor-neutral strategy for partnering with the MDM hub vendors
  3. Different Styles of MDM Hub — outlines differences between Registry, Transaction and Hybrid style hubs
  4. MDM Business Case Creation & ROI Analysis — links to a “one-pager” on our Business Case Creation & ROI Analysis service
  5. How Master Data Management is Similar to ERP — talks about the similarities in organizational disciplines and processes between ERP and MDM
  6. Metadata and Master Data Management — discusses what metadata is and different approaches to managing it in the context of MDM
  7. Critical Data Quality Questions — outlines four “hard questions” relating to data quality and MDM and suggests ways to answer them
  8. Building a Data Governance Organization — five points to keep in mind as you build your data governance organization
  9. Five Essential Elements of MDM — technology (hub, integration, data quality, external content) and organization/process (data governance) required to succeed with MDM
  10. Importance of Integration to MDM — piece urging MDM project champions to think about the role and importance of data integration

These have all been read 100-800 times in 2008.  If you’re interested in my articles in DM Review and speaking engagements, they’re outlined on the Publications page of our web site. If you use Twitter, you can follow me here.

Thank you all for reading this blog!


MDM: Buzz-Worthy But Not A Back-Breaker

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I saw an interesting post by Thomas Wailgum the other day called “MDM: Buzz-Worthy Since 2000, But Still a Back-Breaker”.

While I don’t agree that “there’s ongoing uncertainty as to when to take [MDM] seriously”, he does make some good points.  The software vendors who’ve flocked to MDM and put the MDM label on everything under the sun have certainly confused the market.  

Even so, the MDM software market grew 24% from 2007 to 2008.  In spite of the tough economic times we’re currently in, that rapid growth rate should continue for the next several years. 

One area I don’t agree with is the statement “it’s just plain hard to do … and even harder to do well”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Master Data Management is easy.  But I think it’s eminently “doable” if you:

  • get yourself and your team educated on what MDM is all about and what it can do for your company
  • develop a compelling MDM strategy that aligns well with your organization’s long term strategy
  • get folks from the business and management on board through education, communication and evangelization
  • create a strong business case and use it to manage expectations throughout the lifecycle of the project
  • thoughtfully select the essential components (hub, integration, data quality, external content) and plan for data governance
  • after starting your data governance program and selecting the technology components, follow some best practices for MDM implementation

Of course, there are going to be some failures along the way.  But I come from the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) world, where a typical project was 1-2 years in length and cost in the tens of millions of dollars.  To me, MDM doesn’t seem like a back-breaker.  It seems like a great way of breaking down the walls of the typical corporate silos, complying more easily with ever-growing government regulations, increasing revenue by becoming more customer-centric (which in a recession, can make a big difference), and saving money through more efficient processes and consolidating out-dated systems.  

What do you think? Please let us know via a comment here.


MDM Jobs

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After discussing it with a few friends involved in Master Data Management, I decided to add an “MDM Jobs Board” to this blog. 

Right now, there is no comprehensive source of information on MDM and Data Governance opportunities. MDM Jobs will be that source. 

This blog is getting about 2,000 visits per month right now, and it’s been growing an average of 23% every month over the last year. Our readers are business and IT professionals who are passionate about MDM and Data Governance. 

Each job posted on MDM Jobs will also be featured in our “Best Practices in Master Data Management” newsletter, which goes out each month to more than 3,350 people. 

To post a job, just send an e-mail to  We’ll send you a simple template to fill out and return. The cost is $100 per month for each position listed, and we accept PayPal, American Express and company checks. 

Please let me know by commenting here what you think of this idea – I’d love to get your feedback!

To give you an idea of our reach in this area, this article has been read 460 times since I wrote it on Saturday Dec. 6th.  And it’s listed #5 on Google, #1 on Yahoo and #1 on Microsoft Live Search for the search “MDM Jobs”.


November Column in DM Review

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Here’s a brief excerpt from my latest “MDM Insights” column in DM Review.

In the past, I‘ve outlined the five essential elements of master data management: (1) an MDM hub of some type, (2) data integration or middleware, (3) data quality capabilities, (4) external content and (5) data governance.

One of the challenges of MDM is trying to make progress in all five of these areas at once, while simultaneously working across the spectrum of people, process, technology and information.

Think of it as the “big bang” approach to MDM. You evaluate and select an MDM hub, and in the process, you discover that your organization doesn’t have adequate data integration or data quality tools available. And while working with the business on what internal source systems and external content providers need to be integrated with the new hub, you realize that your organization finally needs to get serious about data governance as well. It can be a little overwhelming.

Click on “Easing Into Master Data Management” to continue reading.

As always, please let us know what you think by commenting here …


MDM Community

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Recently, I created an online community for everyone in the MDM community. 

After attending the Fall 2008 MDM Summit in New York, and the Gartner MDM Summit in Chicago, I was looking for a way to keep that feeling of community alive. 

Conferences like these are a great way to see old friends and to meet new people, to learn from our colleagues, to exchange best practices and lessons learned, and to investigate vendors of Master Data Management and related technologies. 

The MDM Community is an effort to keep that going after everyone heads home. 

To join, just click here. And please let me know what you’d like to see there.  And I’ll need your help to make it a place that adds value for everyone.


Monthly Column in DM Review Magazine

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At last week’s Gartner MDM Summit in Chicago, I met with Julie Langenkamp, the Editor-in-Chief of DM Review magazine.

I’ve been writing a monthly column for the online edition of DM Review since May 2008. It’s been well received, and it was nice to be asked to write a monthly column in the print edition of the magazine.

I posted an except of each month’s online edition column here, with a link to the full article on (just enter “Column in DM Review” in the search box in the top right corner of the blog), and I’ll do the same with my articles in the print edition. 

It’s been great working with Jim Ericson and Julie Langenkamp at SourceMedia / DM Review, and we’re talking about some other exciting things for 2009, which we’ll announce here as soon as they’re finalized. 

I’d love to hear any feedback you might have on my writing for DM Review via a comment here on the blog.


Day 2 of Gartner MDM Summit

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I started out yesterday attending the MDM Excellence Award Finalist presentations. Asian Paints, Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems and State Street Bank presented, and each of them told an impressive story.

It was very significant that J&J and State Street are both committed Siperian MDM customers. The announcement of the winner will be at 4:00 pm today. I’ll be heading to the airport just after the announcement, but I’ll announce it here via my phone.

I also attended a VIP session where Gartner had DataFlux speaking about the benefits of exhibiting at the conference, and had Rick Woodand from State Street Bank and Ken from W.W. Grainger gave their perspectives as attendees.

I had a great briefing with Lorita Vannah and John Evans from Kalido, and walked away from it much more aware of Kalido’s product features and their approach to analytical MDM.

I spent some time in the Solutions Showcase, and was talking with Steve Meister and Ken Kotansky from AMB Predictive Data Management. We recently signed a Service Partnership agreement with AMB, and will be using their data profiling and data quality tools on client engagements going forward. I’ve been very impressed with their product’s capabilities and by how flexible and easy it is to work with the company.

Then, I met with Julie Langenkamp, the editor-in-chief of DM Review magazine, and her colleauge David Boone. I will be writing a monthly column in the print edition of DM Review, beginning with the January issue, and we brainstormed a number of other ideas on how we can work together more closely going forward.

Towards the end of the day, I hung out at the Siperian hospitality suite. I’ve been impressed for a while now with Nancy Ellickson, Siperian’s Senior Director of Corporate Marketing.  The gathering was very well attended and a number of Siperian people were on hand, chatting with customers and potential customers. I had a great time and thought the understated, classy “California Picnic” theme was the perfect way to end the day.

I had dinner with a good friend from D&B/Purisma, catching up on things and chatting about the MDM market in general and how well Purisma in particular has been doing in 2008.

So look for the update after 4:15 or so today with the announcement of the MDM Excellence award winner!


Day 1 of Gartner MDM Summit

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First, I want to encourage everyone who reads this blog to join the free MDM Community at

I’m in Chicago attending Gartner’s second Master Data Management Summit

I didn’t make it to last year’s event in Hollywood, Florida, but I’m attending this one to investigate exhibiting at next year’s event, and to keep my finger on how the MDM market is doing in the current economic climate

The first keynote session, by John Radcliffe and Andrew White, was on “Where is MDM Going Over the Next Five Years”.  Their lead-in was that MDM is more relevant than ever in today’s econonic meltdown. 

Projects will need to offer incremental value, without being too tactical. Developing a data stewardship culture doesn’t hit the capital expense budget. They recommended people focus on the “hard benefits”, efficiencies and compliance requirements, while preparing for the (eventual) upturn. And they strongly suggested developing the metrics to quantify and communicate the value of your MDM program. 

They presented the “MDM Hype Report Card”, saying that the hype cycle is at or near its peak. The links between MDM, business process management, service-oriented architecture and business intelligence remain unclear to many users.  And external service providers (in their opinion) are finally starting to add some value to MDM programs.  And they predicted that by 2012, 70% of SOA projects will fail to yield expected results unless they include Master Data Management. 

Andrew and John covered Gartner’s “Seven Building Blocks”: vision, strategy, metrics, governance, organization, process and technology, and recommended a business-driven, holistic approach to MDM, which I’ve been recommending for a couple of years now. 

I also really enjoyed “Building the Business Case for MDM” by Michael Smith.  It was an engaging but thorough review of Gartner’s recommended steps for creating a thorough business case for your MDM initiative. 

After covering the process for developing an effective business case, Michael Smith discussed how metrics can be used to quantify the benefits, and how to use the business case to manage the initiative through the entire lifecycle. 

The main argument for taking the time to create a detailed business case is the fact that without one, IT projects in general seem to have only a 50% success rate, but when the time to create a robust business case is invested, the success rate goes up to as high as 75%.  If your total project budget is high enough, that higher success rate can translate into some serious savings. 

I attended the IBM session highlighting Nationwide’s “Transformation to a Customer-Centric Organization”, and I really enjoyed the remarks by Tara Paider, their Lead Architect for Customer Information Management. 

The attendees and exhibitors I spoke to in the Solution Showcase all commented on the power of Gartner’s brand and that the 1st day of the conference was well-attended and full of good content. 

I’m a big fan of Aaron Zornes at The MDM Institute and the MDM Summit conference he puts on twice a year in the U.S. with SourceMedia. I’ve attended all six events they’ve done together in the last three years, and have spoken at five of them. 

But I see the appeal of the Gartner MDM event as well. At this stage in the development of Master Data Management, competition is a good thing – between software vendors, services firms, and conferences. It makes us all better to have another entry in the market to measure ourselves against and to strive to outdo. 

If you’re attending as well, I’d love to hear your comments here.


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