Today — September 14th 2012 — is Hub Designs’ fifth anniversary of incorporating. So much has changed since then, but our core mission – of bringing the highest quality management and technology consulting on master data management and data governance to our clients – hasn’t changed. Read more
Hub Designs is looking for an exceptional Oracle TCA Business Analyst / Developer Read more
The Hub Designs MDM Think Tank recently received a briefing from Martin Turvey, CEO of Loqate.
The final deadline for the COLLABORATE 2012 conference Call for Papers is TODAY - Monday, October 17.
Four years ago today, Hub Solution Designs, Inc. was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as “a management consulting firm which helps companies to improve performance through strategy development, application of best practices, change management, technology implementation and other operational improvements”. That’s what it says in our Articles of Incorporation, and it’s not too different from what we’re doing today, four years later. Read more
by Dan Power
I’m still a volunteer on the Education Committee of the Oracle Application Users Group, which is a robust users group that is completely independent of Oracle Corporation. I’ve been involved in the group as a whole for over 15 years now, and have been on the Education Committee for more than five years. Read more
“Golden copy” is a term widely used in master data management (MDM), as we often see the master data hub as a golden copy of the data in the company’s operational databases. Read more
“Golden copy” is a term widely used in master data management (MDM), as we often see the master data hub as a golden copy of the data in the company’s operational databases. Read more
Misti Lusher and Ravi Shankar from Informatica were kind enough to do an analyst briefing for Hub Designs recently, to bring us up to date on what’s been happening with Informatica in the past few months.
The combination of Siperian with Informatica has exceeded their expectations so far, with MDM revenue running significantly ahead of quota and Informatica landing customers in a number of new vertical industries such as retail, healthcare, aerospace/defense, agriculture, education, and hospitality. Informatica continues to penetrate EMEA and has had its first successes in Asia Pacific and Latin America as well.
There’s also a healthy sales pipeline being built for future quarters, with the top three verticals being healthcare and life sciences, financial services and insurance, and high tech and retail. Growth is being seen all over the world, with a large percentage of the bigger sales opportunities for Informatica involving MDM, regardless of the region.
Ravi highlighted how the Informatica Master Data Management (MDM) solution is solving multidomain business problems like physician spend compliance, product mastering, high volume reference data mastering, clinical trial management, customer and channel management, and Salesforce.com enablement. He also discussed how Informatica’s other products usually fit into an MDM solution.
As the Informatica MDM product has evolved, it has remained true to its roots, and continues to offer complex hierarchy management, to be business user focused, and to allow for fast time to value. What Informatica has done, building on what Siperian had created before its acquisition, is to provide for true multidomain master data management, which allows for a much wider range of problems to be solved.
Informatica continues to increase its market share beyond the pharmaceutical vertical, and shows a strong track record of expanding its footprint within existing customers as well.
Informatica MDM Data Director has been widely used as well, with every new customer since its release in March 2009 buying it along with the MDM hub.
Informatica just finished up an 18-city MDM road show in the U.S. and Canada, and featured its MDM product prominently at Informatica World in early November. It has both a horizontal and a vertical industry marketing strategy.
Ravi previewed for us the materials for their “Customer and Channel Management Solution”, which manages hierarchies and relationships between customers, channel partners, products, and resources, in order to maximize account penetration, optimize coverage, and enable business agility and speed.
Ravi also gave us a demo of the latest version of the Informatica MDM product, with built-in dashboards using Data Director measuring data quality for individual customers and organizational customers. He also demonstrated the integration of MDM with the rest of the Informatica Platform – Power Center Business Glossary and Metadata Manager, and Informatica Data Quality.
Another impressive feature is enabling business applications, such as Salesforce.com, to be MDM aware. New records can be entered in the Salesforce.com application and instantly be bounced up directly against the Informatica MDM hub, and customer hierarchies can be viewed in a Salesforce.com tab, rather than requiring the user to jump back and forth between a Salesforce window and an Informatica MDM window. And the Salesforce user can see a timeline of a record “as of” a particular date, including all the hierarchy data.
At the end of the briefing, I came away feeling (again) that Informatica had made a great move in purchasing Siperian, and that Informatica’s MDM business has clearly gained momentum since the acquisition. This is clearly one of those cases where one plus one equals three. Informatica has done a great job integrating Siperian into the company, in taking advantage of the synergies between the two companies, and in promoting the product. Opportunities exist to take it even further, but the Informatica team is to be congratulated, since almost 60% of all mergers and acquisitions fail to create shareholder value according to the Boston Consulting Group.
Gartner Research is predicting 14% growth over 2009 levels for master data management (MDM) software license revenues, to $1.5 billion.
Business drivers for adoption range from delivering revenue, service, agility and risk management improvement, cost reduction and integration simplification. John Radcliffe, a research vice president at Gartner, said ”Today, most organizations juggle multiple sets of business and data applications across corporate, regional and local systems. At the same time, customers are demanding faster and more complex responses from organizations, leading to an inconsistency that hinders the organization’s ability to measure and move within the market. With MDM, CIOs can create a unified view of existing data, leading to greater enterprise agility, simplified integration and, ultimately, improved profitability.”
Some interesting predictions were included in the Bank Systems & Technology article:
- From 2009 through 2014, MDM software markets will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18%, from $1.3 billion to $2.9 billion.
- Gartner foresees a larger, more unified MDM software market reaching nearly $3 billion by 2014.
- By 2015, 10 percent of packaged MDM implementations will be delivered as software as a service in the public cloud (MDM today is typically implemented on-premises)
- Through 2015, 66 percent of organizations that initiate an MDM program will struggle to demonstrate the business value of MDM.
This is not because MDM can’t show sufficient business value. The Bank Systems & Technology article goes on to say “If IT departments initiate an MDM initiative, they often struggle to get the business on board and to demonstrate the business value of MDM, particularly if there are no business-process-oriented metrics and financial quantifications to define and measure success, Gartner analysts say.” (emphasis added)
At Hub Designs, like many other MDM practitioners, we’ve been saying for quite a while that the business needs to own the MDM initiative. This isn’t always a popular stance, particularly when the people bringing you into a particular client company are the IT people. But it’s the truth – if the business doesn’t own it, the business won’t feel ownership.
The article goes on to say “MDM needs to align with the business vision and strategy, and will require executive business sponsorship, strong involvement of business stakeholders and change management.”
“It’s not just an IT project. The business needs to take responsibility and be accountable for master data governance and stewardship,” says Radcliffe.
“Unless organizations take a holistic, business-driven approach to MDM, addressing governance and metrics requirements in particular, they risk having their MDM programs fail,” he says. “Internal politics won’t be brought under control without a governance framework, and without a metrics structure, there will be no way of objectively defining what success looks like and measuring whether or not it has been achieved.”
We couldn’t agree more. In our “Ten Best Practices” series this October, we specifically discussed that topic in Master Data Management Best Practice #10 – Use a Balanced, Holistic Approach, saying “This may be the most important best practice of all: use a balanced, holistic approach – addressing people, process, technology and information. Start with the people, politics and culture, and then move on to the data governance and stewardship processes, then the technology.”
The MDM initiatives that companies are taking on right now aren’t “too big to fail”, but they are too important to fail.
As a long-time MDM evangelist, who is used to describing MDM and data governance in such a way that people get excited about the change it can make for their companies, I think we need the types of economic and technological changes described in Penny Crosman’s article. Too many companies are lurching into the 21st century with the baggage of a late 90′s technology infrastructure holding them back. Faster, better decision-making, increased revenue and reduced costs, easier compliance and risk management, improved business and IT agility – these are things that aren’t going to come easily but they are worth it, and MDM and data governance are a big part of the answer for a lot of companies.
So hats off to Penny Crosman and her article in Bank Systems & Technology, and to John Radcliffe and Andrew White at Gartner Research for all the good work that they do.
I attended an analyst briefing today with Kalido on their new product, Kalido Data Governance Director.
The Kalido presenters included Bill Hewitt, President and CEO, Winston Chen, VP of Strategy and Business Development, Lovan Chetty, Senior Manager of Product Management, Mike Wheeler, Director of Data Governance Solutions and Lorita Vannah, Director of Marketing Communications. Lorita is the person who first turned me on to Kalido, about two years ago now. We first met at the 2008 Gartner MDM Summit in Chicago, and she impressed me then with her passion for MDM, data governance and her company.
Bill started off by talking about how the data governance market has been exploding as the volume of corporate data has been exploding, which is certainly true, and observed that Kalido noticed a disconnect between data and business processes. To address this issue, Kalido developed a new product from the ground up, because the company felt that data was better managed through policies. For example, it may be okay to store customer data in multiple places, as long as the relevant policy allows that.
As part of its research into data governance, Kalido developed its own data governance maturity assessment. Winston described the evolution of data governance, from application-centric to today’s “enterprise repository centric” approach. The next phase, according to Kalido, is policy centric, followed by fully governed. Winston also discussed the need to manage data policies in context: you’ve got data, but you’ve also got business processes, systems and organizational scope.
That allows you to fully describe the context in which a particular policy is being defined.
The way to operationalize governance processes is: to define the policy, to implement the policy, and then to enforce the policy, which Kalido modeled on how laws are created by the legislative branch, implemented by the executive branch, and then enforced by law enforcement and the judicial branch of government.
Kalido has been working with data quality vendors such as DataFlux and Trillium to build integration with their products into Kalido Data Governance Director, so metrics can be automatically gathered back into DGG from those data quality tools.
If a data quality problem goes beyond the single or small number “issue” state, then it could be remediated as an “initiative”, where it would be put into Data Governance Director and tracked as a separate initiative, with all of the visibility and accountability that goes with that, and the full life cycle of governance – definition, implementation, and metrics / enforcement – could be used to make sure the data quality issue was resolved.
Lovan Chetty did a brief demonstration of the product, showing a web-based user interface to author new initiatives and policies, manage scope and organizational parameters, and create a unified business model, including a data model, process model and systems model.
Mike Wheeler talked about Kalido’s lighthouse customer program for Data Governance Director, which consisted of cultivating about 16 companies and 3 consulting firms, including some large financial services providers and manufacturing companies, at different levels of data governance maturity, to provide input and feedback on their policies and data governance programs and practices.
A number of them will be speaking at tomorrow’s Kalido Connect virtual user conference.
One very large company had a “light going on” moment when using the product, when they realized that pulling the knowledge out of everyone’s head is the hardest part, and that lots of “tribal knowledge” is often never incorporated in the actual policies.
One of the largest banks in Mexico, Scotiabank, has already bought the product prior to its general availability, in order to streamline its data governance operations. And a Top-5 pharmaceutical company has also signed up as a customer.
After a short Q&A session, Kalido promised to let everyone get a closer look at the new product in their virtual user conference tomorrow. For more information, or to register, please go to http://bit.ly/kalido-register.
The screen shot below shows the product measuring and reporting data policy compliance status based on results captured from 3rd party monitoring tools.
This is a transcript (lightly edited for brevity) of today’s Informatica MDM Tweet Jam. We hope you enjoyed the actual Tweet Jam and this transcript. If there were questions you didn’t get a chance to ask, please feel free to ask them via our web site’s Contact Us page.
Dan Power: Informatica MDM Tweet Jam like playing “stump Dan” – see if you can perplex, mystify and amaze me!
Dan Power: Actually, just kidding – want to have a good dialogue with everyone – would love to have a good MDM discussion.
Informatica Corp.: Right now! Join the #MDM TweetJam with @dan_power. 9am PT.
Dan Power: OK, the Tweet Jam is officially open!
Jakki Geiger: Dan, what are the most common concerns you hear about MDM?
Dan Power: IT people still seem concerned about how to involve the business and sell it to senior management.
Jakki Geiger: what advice do you give them?
Dan Power: IT seems to know that MDM is needed but sometimes can’t seem to get the business on board, and it can be hard to pitch to the C-Suite.
Dan Power: We advise building a compelling business case – getting outside help if needed – and recruiting internal business champions.
Jakki Geiger: What strategies to get the business on board have you seen work?
Dan Power: I wrote an article about that in a recent Information Management magazine and a blog article on Hub Designs Blog that accompanied it.
Jakki Geiger: We’ve seen IT successfully tie MDM to key strategic imperatives like improving cross-sell and up-sell=getting sales on board.
Ravi Shankar: One thing we have done to help IT is to quantify how much DQ issues can cut costs or increase revenue.
Dan Power: Getting the business on board means STARTING in the business – find out their pain points and recruit them to drive from Day 1.
Jakki Geiger: Others include onboarding channel partners onboard faster, which appeals to sales and channel operations.
Jakki Geiger: A huge driver has been regulatory compliance = appealing to those who gather data across the enterprise and create reports.
Ravi Shankar: I like what Charles Bloodworth of J&J said at Informatica World 2010 – “MDM is not just a project; it’s a discipline – a way of doing bus for us”.
Dan Power: Good points Jakki & Ravi – those are the pain points I’m talking about: increasing revenue / onboarding channel partners faster.
Jakki Geiger: One area I think is really going to take off is improving business processes = improve data to improve the process.
Jakki Geiger: One exec got buy in from exec team with “we need to manage our product supply chain and info supply chain equally efficiently”.
Ravi Shankar: Agreed – bus needs to be involved in MDM. Charles of J&J said bus involvement drove their MDM and data governance success.
Dan Power: That’s right – becomes a way of life – new discipline for the business – to have a golden copy of the data that they can trust.
Jakki Geiger: I agree with u. IT needs to understand what the business pains and strategic imperatives are, then evaluate “can MDM help?”
Dan Power: Product management and supply chain are just as fertile for most companies as customer data – so MDM is just getting started.
Dan Power: I’ve been talking to a lot of companies lately that have already done customer MDM and are now looking at doing product MDM.
Ravi Shankar: Product MDM: I see lot of demand for this from manufacturing companies. Just came from S. Korea – product MDM is hot.
Dan Power: Or even supplier MDM – in order to get global strategic sourcing initiatives off the ground, which can save millions of $.
Ravi Shankar: Customer MDM to product MDM – we’ve seen that with our own early customers – They leveraged the same Informatica platform.
Julie Hunt: How do you see MDM implementations evolving to take advantage of newer tech such as ‘cloud’?
Julie Hunt: And what advantages does the cloud offer to MDM solutions?
Dan Power: Good question, Julie – definitely see a movement towards the cloud – people don’t want to create tomorrow’s “legacy systems”.
Dan Power: So they increasingly are asking their vendors about cloud deployment options, even if they don’t rush to take advantage of them.
Dan Power: They want to know they’re available
Dan Power: To Julie’s Q about cloud, I think eventually we’ll see cloud deployments at lower cost than on-premise (particularly hardware).
Ravi Shankar: Let me outline 2 use cases we’ve seen @ InformaticaCorp.
Ravi Shankar: Use case 1: During peak times like holiday seasons, retailers can burst into cloud for additional capacity.
Ravi Shankar: Use case 2: Mktg mgrs can use self service tools to upload attendee list from event w/o having to bother IT.
Dan Power: The promise of cloud for me, is more flexibility as my business grows and if we have seasonal peaks and valleys of demand.
ocdqblog (Jim Harris): What do you say to companies that expected that from their data warehouse? How is MDM different from conformed dims?
Ravi Shankar: ocdqblog – welcome. Looking forward to a lively MDM discussion.
Dan Power: Good question, Jim. Most companies had unrealistic expectations from data warehouses, which ended up being expensive, read-only,
Dan Power: and updated infrequently. MDM gives them the capability to modify the data, publish to a DW, and manage complex hierarchies.
Dan Power: So to finish answering your question Jim, I think MDM offers more flexibility than the typical DW.
Dan Power: That’s why BI on top of MDM (or more likely, BI on top of a DW that draws data from an MDM) is so popular.
Ravi Shankar: MDM for DW – 90% of Informatica MDM customers use it for analytical use (in addition to operational).
ocdqblog (Jim Harris): Thanks Dan – Follow-up is do you see MDM as compliment or replacement for DW?
Dan Power: Definitely a compliment – fills void in the middle between trx systems and the DW – does things that neither can do to data.
Jakki Geiger: are you seeing this trend? Evolving beyond single customer view= visibility into 360 customer view w/products and channels, etc.
Dan Power: Yes, Jakki – people want more than a single view – they want multiple views on top of the single view.
Ravi Shankar: Siperian customers – We’re having a lively chat on MDM and data governance. Join in!
Ravi Shankar: Dan, what do you tell DW admins that DW provides their single view for enterprise?
Dan Power: I tell DW admins that most people in the enterprise aren’t completely happy with DW – that’s why there’s pain leading to MDM.
Jakki Geiger: Since the driver of MDM is the business, how are we getting master data into the hands of the business?
Dan Power: Good Q, Jakki – getting MDM data back into hands of the business should be built into the project – and the software platform.
Ravi Shankar: Compliance is driven out of DW – you need MDM for accurate compliance reports – Do you agree?
Dan Power: Yes, Ravi – Garbage in, Garbage out – you need quality data from the MDM system to feed into the data warehouse.
Julie Hunt: So we must advocate value of data governance as well as value of MDM with business, senior management?
Dan Power: I tell people to think of their initiative as a data governance project that happens to involve #MDM technology.
Dan Power: Not an #MDM technology project that requires data governance.
Dan Power: And to start the data governance piece about 6 months before the technology piece, if possible.
Julie Hunt: The importance of data quality = another layer to be advocated to the business and to management – show them the impact on outcomes.
Jakki Geiger: MDM is like a Ferrari. If you don’t use DQ with MDM, it’s like putting regular gas in Ferrari=sub optimal performance.
Dan Power: I’ve seen people try to do MDM without data quality – and it’s a disaster, like trying to run a submarine on dry land!
Dan Power: The fact is that #MDM and data quality are linked, just as #MDM and data governance are linked.
Ravi Shankar: Should data quality be integrated within #MDM?
Dan Power: Good question, Ravi – I’ve seen it both ways – a data quality engine integrated with the MDM platform or separate, both can work as long as the data quality tool is robust and the integration is solid, shouldn’t matter.
Dan Power: Most MDM platform vendors are not equally good at developing data quality tools – Informatica is one of the few that is.
Julie Hunt: How much does corporate culture impact success/failure of projects for #MDM, data governance etc.?
Dan Power: Great Q – corporate culture is a huge impact on success because data governance drives MDM and requires a lot of change mgt. So spend a lot of time on org. change in the data governance side of the #MDM initiative in order to be successful.
Ravi Shankar: Heard a customer say – “Don’t overdo data governance – do just what’s necessary” Do you agree?
Dan Power: I’d agree not to go overboard on data governance – balanced approach that’s right for your co. just enough to get the job done. Too much data governance can be worse than not enough – can be bureaucratic – the “data governance police”.
Ravi Shankar: Data governance applies to all data, but I hear that in MDM context a lot. Do you hear “master data governance” for MDM?
Jakki Geiger: Some argue shouldn’t call it data governance because the -ve connotation of “governance” thoughts?
Dan Power: I actually like that phrase – master data governance – makes it more clear and precise what we’re talking about
Dan Power: Because otherwise, data governance organization can get drawn into all kinds of weird things not related to master data
Dan Power: We need to recognized that data governance is (a) political, (b) controversial, (c) going to have an enforcement side.
Ravi Shankar: Now, do orgs do data governance first before implementing MDM or after they select an MDM product?
Dan Power: So in some ways, I actually like the term “data government” better – makes it more explicit what we’re talking about.
Dan Power: And it reminds people that we’re talking about governing the enterprise’s core master data – just like we govern other key assets.
Jakki Geiger: I think the challenge is that we’re still in the process of understanding that data is a strategic asset.
Dan Power: It’s ideal if they can start data governance before even selecting a product – so that the data governance org. can help w/ the selection process.
Ravi Shankar: Dan wrote an excellent whitepaper – “When Data Governance Turns Bureaucratic” – you can download it from http://bit.ly/ck2Gw8.
Dan Power: Truly competitive 21st century companies not only understand that data is a strategic asset, it’s how they run their business.
Dan Power: Forward looking businesses like Google, Amazon, Century 21, eBay, etc. realize that the data IS their business!
Jakki Geiger: “Data as strategic asset” is a fairly new concept. Visionaries recognize need 4 scale and intelligence=harnessing & analyzing data.
Dan Power: That was a fun white paper to write – looking forward to doing another one with the great folks at Informatica again soon!
Jakki Geiger: What I liked about Dan’s WP was the discussion around stopping the problem of data quality at the source.
Seth Grimes: Is data governance also (d) useful on balance and (e) capable of delivering ROI?
Dan Power: Yes, of course – or people wouldn’t be doing it. You can’t bring together massive amounts of data in an MDM hub and not have some type of governance framework in place. And if there was no ROI, it wouldn’t be happening.
Dan Power: I’m pretty familiar with Oracle’s data governance program, and for a huge company, it’s not real expensive.
Ravi Shankar: Welcome to #INFATJ – good data governance question.
Ravi Shankar: Successful Informatica MDM customers like J&J, Merrill, and numerous others have had strong global data governance orgs.
Ravi Shankar: Data is a key asset that many firms make a lot of money out of it – Bloomberg for e.g.
Ray Wang: RT @Ravi_Shankar_: Data is a key asset that many firms make a lot of money out of it – Bloomberg for e.g.
Dan Power: Good example with Bloomberg – welcome Ray!
Ravi Shankar: @rwang0 thx for the RT
Jakki Geiger: Can you create a career out of MDM? Many of our customers have extended MDM to address more and more issues in their orgs.
Dan Power: Good Q, Jakki – u can create a career out of it, I have for the last 6 years, but you’ve got to really have this in your blood
Ravi Shankar: Within Informatica customers, we’ve seen careers of several people take off b/c of successful #MDM data governance.
Julie Hunt: Thanks for great tweet jam!
Jakki Geiger: Thank you for participating! Looking forward to next time. Good luck to you all!
Dan Power: Thanks for joining us today – hope you enjoyed it! Check out the Hub Designs Blog at http://blog.hubdesigns.com.
Ravi Shankar: Thx for your insightful discussion and advice on #MDM data governance. Hope you all enjoyed it. Until next time!
Dan Power: This is Dan Power, signing off – have a great day everyone!
A shorter, more targeted project (vs. the “ultimate” whiz-bang project with all the technology bells and whistles) pays off better in two important ways:
- Generally, the costs are lower, because you’re incurring them for a shorter time. That’s obviously not always strictly true (some crash projects can end up being very expensive) but a 6-9 month project usually tends to be less expensive than a 12-24 month project.
- You’re delivering the expected benefits that much sooner. So whatever value the business is going to gain from your MDM initiative, it will get that value roughly twice as fast if you can go with the targeted 6-9 month project instead of the 12-24 month “mega project”.
If you think back to our recent article on MDM Best Practice #1 – Start with the Need, Pain or Problem (Not “The Solution”), what the business really wants is for their problem to be solved. They don’t want the most elegant solution with the latest ‘whiz bang’ technology.
They’d like to be able to recognize their customer at all touch points; to be able to add new customers easily without accidentally creating a lot of duplicates; to be able to manage customer creditworthiness and risk in an efficient manner; to roll up sales by the customers’ corporate hierarchy; to be able to efficiently identify the untapped prospects in a corporate family, geography or vertical market; to be able to tie all interactions with a customer back to a single view of that customer; and so on.
Not a lot to ask, they’d probably tell you. They’ll probably ask, why can’t we do that now? After all the investments in all the ERP and CRM systems, in all the data warehouses, data marts and business intelligence solutions, we come along with MDM platforms and (gulp) data governance.
We tell the business users that with MDM, on the one hand, we can help them with their burning problems that never seem to get solved any other way. But on the other hand, it’s going to take their direct involvement in a way they’ve probably never had to do before: data governance.
So it’s matter of “to whom much is given, much is expected”. The business will have a new capability that will solve some important business problems, but the business owners and users will have to step up in a way they may not have had to before, by taking ownership of the data, setting policies around data quality, accuracy, completeness, timeliness and consistency, and then agreeing to enforcement of those policies.
Data government is primarily a political endeavor, and as a result, MDM projects have an explicitly political side to them. Be prepared for that, and remember, faster is better.
For a long time now, I’ve admired Guy Kawasaki, one of the early Apple employees responsible for marketing the Macintosh computer in 1984. He’s credited with being one of the people to bring the concept of evangelism, in his case focused on creating passionate users and developers to become advocates for Apple, to the high tech business.
I’ve tried to emulate him by being an evangelist for customer and product MDM. From 2001 to 2004, I was a consultant working with the precursor to Oracle’s Customer Data Hub platform. At D&B from 2004 to 2007, I managed its strategic alliance with Oracle while Oracle launched and refined Customer Data Hub. I left D&B to start Hub Designs in 2007 because I wanted to work more directly in developing and executing MDM strategy at corporate clients. All this time, I’ve tried to get people excited about using the evolving technology to solve business problems.
In the past nine years, in all of the different industries and companies I’ve worked with, most have quickly “gotten” MDM:
- They understand the value of the Single View of the Customer (or Product, as the case may be).
- They see the revenue increases from being able to up-sell and cross-sell customers by knowing more about them, and by knowing their own products better.
- They understand the dollar value of having a streamlined, coordinated New Product Introduction process.
- They see the short payback period and millions in savings from a strategic sourcing program that consolidates vendors and products, and renegotiates agreements.
- They understand the contribution MDM makes to credit risk management (know your customer, and whether they can pay their bills on time).
- And they see how MDM (done properly, which includes data quality improvement and a data governance program) makes it much easier and more efficient to have accurate, complete, timely and consistent information available for compliance with governance regulations.
But all of those organizations, where I’ve been the “external champion” or evangelist, have needed a corresponding “internal champion” or evangelist.
Someone to lead the charge internally, to have the hallway conversations, to fight the good fight politically, to scrap for every budget dollar, to convince the powers that be, the type of person who digs in and doesn’t let go. Someone who’s convinced that master data management and data governance is important to his or her company. That it’s so important that it’s worth going out on a bit of a career limb. Or who perhaps was brought in specifically to head up an initiative like this.
My friend Tom Carlock wrote a great article called “So You Want to be a Data Champion?”, where he discusses how to be prepared to be your organization’s “data champion”. Tom knows whereof he speaks, because he’s been in roles like that at The CIT Group and AIG, and is now a leader of product strategy at D&B. He mentions attributes like being able to have a consistent vision that you can “sell” to others, the ability to develop and maintain relationships, being able to listen, ask for input and deal with objections, and being optimistic, hopeful and patient.
To that I would add, being persistent. My father introduced me to a quote by Calvin Coolidge, the 30th U.S. President:
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
If you decide to become an MDM evangelist at your company, and you’re persistent in that role, you can help your company manage master data as an enterprise-wide asset – and transform itself in the process. I think our corporations today – ten years into the twenty-first century – desperately need that type of innovation and change.
The Hub Designs Blog welcomes a great guest post by Rob DuMoulin, an information architect with more than 26 years of IT experience, specializing in master data management, database administration and design, and business intelligence. Rob wrote a popular 5-part series called Data Profiling for All the Right Reasons, and his first article was Calendar and MDM. He brings a fresh perspective from the front lines of MDM.
Is my organization ready for Master Data Management (MDM)?
Assuming you’re confident that you can answer the question “What is MDM?” and can successfully debate “what MDM is not” with an unseasoned Data Architect, the title question is next in your readiness assessment progression.
While the question itself seems simplistic, the answer requires examination of many aspects of business operations as well as data management and IT maturity.
MDM projects focused on creating “IT solutions” to “IT problems” fail to provide true end-to-end life-cycle management, which is the key to maximizing business value. Below are questions to consider when evaluating your business readiness for MDM success. Consider the Core Subject Item to be the business object that you are considering mastering, such as Product, Customer, Raw Materials, Party, etc.
- MDM success relies on understanding the current and desired state of business operations. Identifying and involving business champions and business sponsors is the only credible method of defining information and process gaps which lead to a true business case. Are your business sponsors fully engaged?
- Is there a Data Governance strategy in place already that can be used to manage business information or do we need to define this from scratch?
- Is the business case defined and does it directly tie to the project success criteria?
- What is the Core Subject Item of your MDM? Have you validated that business owners, Finance, Customers, Marketing, Legal, and IT all have the same perspectives, including the same granularity and the same definitions? If not, how will you resolve the differences?
- What are the target volumetrics for the Core Subject Item based on current and anticipated business needs?
- Is there a single Taxonomy for your Core Subject Item where all objects map to one and only one leaf node?
- Have you created an as-is information model?
- Have you created a to-be information model that business and IT sponsors agree on?
- Would you be able to define a conceptual data model to describe the various high-level information types targeted for the MDM system?
- In the case of product MDM, can business users define the difference between a version and a revision, if there is one? How do they manage each?
- Is there unstructured data you need to include?
- How are object related to each other? Are some products cross-sellable, up-sellable, substitutions, or versions of others? Do some contacts household with others?
- What rules and restrictions do you have to enforce in the MDM system?
- What additional information must be collected to allow other downstream information consumers to apply their business rules and restrictions?
- What is the current lifecycle process used by the business to manage its Core Subject Items? What is the proposed new process to do lifecycle management?
- What are the technical constraints your organization will be facing?
These are just a few of the points to consider when evaluating how well your business is prepared to undertake a successful MDM project. While you do not necessarily need to answer all of them before you start your project, consider making them a milestone before full budget is allocated because it makes planning much more accurate.
Lastly, keep in mind that knowledge and experience go a long way. Those who have gone through these projects before can attest to importance of laying down a solid foundation to build upon.
This may be the most important best practice of all: use a balanced, holistic approach – addressing people, process, technology and information.
Start with the people, politics and culture, and then move on to the data governance and stewardship processes, then the technology.
The recent Gartner “Magic Quadrant for MDM of Customer Data” by John Radcliffe had a great statement: “To succeed, you should put together a balanced MDM program that creates a shared vision and strategy, addresses governance and organizational issues, leverages the appropriate technology and architecture, and creates the necessary processes and metrics.”
Another illustration of the need to balance the technology with the people and process is a quote by the inventor and entrepreneur, Dean Kamen: “The technology is the easy part. Understanding what drives people – individuals, societies, what makes cultures clash – all of those questions are way, way harder to answer than how to solve any particular technical problem.”
This Best Practices series is based on a talk that I’ve given at the Oracle Applications Users Group COLLABORATE and Oracle OpenWorld conferences a few times. The talk has evolved each time I’ve given it, but one consistent theme has been “being an MDM evangelist”. I believe in the nature of master data management and data governance to fundamentally change the IT architectures, business processes and organizational cultures (how we think of the core data that we use to run our businesses). And I think corporate America is overdue for these changes.
We’re all consumers who’ve had frustrating experiences with companies trying to do simple things like changing our addresses, stop receiving extra copies of catalogs, fixing errors on credit reports, etc. And we’ve all had the opposite experience, when a quick phone call or self service Web portal took care of everything. What a difference in the customer service experience!
And in the business-to-business world, there are a lot of companies out there that would like to make decisions more quickly, based on reliable data, that would like to reduce their supply chain spend, consolidate their enterprise applications, increase their revenue by up-selling customers, get paid more quickly by making sure invoices go to the right address every time, manage credit risk for new customers, understand customers’ corporate hierarchies, cut their new product introduction life cycle in half, and so on.
These are the types of innovations that our companies desperately need to be competitive in the next decade. The economy is improving – but slowly. As an MDM evangelist, what improvements and innovations can you bring to your company? And can you use the balanced, holistic approach to make sure that the shiny, new technology doesn’t outweigh the people, process and information sides of the picture?
You’ll succeed if you recruit the right executive sponsors; invest in creating a data governance team; design your data governance processes, and communicate how the MDM initiative is helping the company to achieve its strategic objectives. And above all, be persistent. Don’t take no for an answer. The company didn’t get into its current situation overnight, and fixing it won’t happen overnight either.
Please let us know – in the comments here or in the forums on the MDM Community – whether you’ve taken on the role of MDM evangelist in your organization, and if you need any help with it, please let us know.
One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein, who said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
This is very true in master data management (MDM) – where you’ll inevitably come under pressure to oversimplify. It’s not uncommon to have 20-30 source systems (or more) that have to be integrated with the MDM hub. And tackling other initiatives in the enterprise at the same time (like service-oriented architecture or major ERP or CRM upgrades) can increase the pressure. MDM can help with those other initiatives but doing several things at once may increase the overall degree of difficulty.
Remember, if you oversimplify or underestimate, you’ll be under pressure to cut functionality later. Satisfying important requirements will be postponed to later phases, and the business will be disappointed.
So watch out for the temptation to oversimplify. I had a client once who was setting up a customer hub with about five very complex mainframe-based source systems. They were oversimplifying by making the integration from the source systems to the hub one-way only. So new customer records would flow to the hub, but any updates or data quality improvements made in the hub would not flow back to the source systems.
I asked them what the plan was for those updates, and their answer was “manual integration” (which, of course, is no integration at all – just data stewards manually entering the changes a second time back into the source systems). We all know how that turns out – a great opportunity to synchronize updates and data quality improvements from the hub back to the source systems goes untapped.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that data governance can be disruptive to the business unless the business itself is driving the data governance program and it has been well-planned. Then, any disruption seems to be overlooked, much as you’d be willing to overlook a bit of mess from a home renovation when you were living in the house, as long as you got your dream house at the end of the process. But if someone else (IT, for example) tries to impose governance on the business, that’s a different story. Then, any disruption tends to be bitterly resented, since it’s being imposed from the outside.
Please let us know – in the comments here or in the forums on the MDM Community – what you think of this tendency to underestimate the complexity of MDM projects. And I mean it this time – let’s have your comments and “war stories”!
The next article in the series is: MDM Best Practice #10 – Use a Balanced, Holistic Approach
Breaking news: As I was writing the article below on MDM Best Practice #8, I realized I should discuss the acquisition of Data Foundations, Inc. by Software AG. I was surprised by how long it took for the announcement to come out, because I first heard about this transaction in June. It seems to be a good acquisition for Software AG, which had previously acquired webMethods for its B2B integration technology. I’ve been talking and writing for a while now about the need to meld SOA, business process management and MDM. Some other analysts have said that this acquisition is no big deal, that the mega-vendors are probably not worried about it. But I think it’s a great sign for the MDM market that a larger player like Software AG, with revenues of $1.17 billion, which already has strong integration, SOA and BPM products, sees MDM as a compelling market to enter through acquiring a best-of-breed player like Data Foundations.
MDM Best Practice #8 – Resist the Urge to Customize
As the various MDM hubs mature, it’s getting easier to resist the temptation to customize. When I first started working with Customer Data Integration (CDI) hubs in 2004, they were a little “rough around the edges”, and sometimes customization was unavoidable.
But we’re six years further into this now, and the major vendors’ platforms are light years ahead of where they were in 2004. At this point, working with the vendor to improve their product in future releases is a better strategy than customization.
And most products allow you to modify the underlying data model – and the various flavors of the user interface – without touching the source code. This is a big improvement, because most of the times, the changes needed by the business are relatively minor – a few new fields here and there, some new reports of course.
One important thing to include in your evaluation of vendors’ platforms is how easy it is to “settle into” the platform – to make those minor changes and to adapt the platform to the way your organization does business. If the platform seems like it would difficult to adapt in this way, consider that a warning sign.
If you do have to customize, do it carefully; make sure your changes will survive an upgrade gracefully and are well documented.
One of the biggest risks is getting “rev locked”. The MDM vendors are still revving their products once or twice a year, so you don’t want to get stuck on an older version. I had one client that was told by their vendor that their technical problems were fixed in the latest release. Unfortunately, they were told by their internal team that the earliest they’d be able to upgrade to that release would be in about 18 months!
One way to avoid this is to build what I call “upgrade competency” into your project and your team during your initial implementation – so you already have one upgrade under your belt during your implementation life cycle. That way, the upgrade process isn’t quite so daunting.
The next article in the series is: MDM Best Practice #9 – Don’t Underestimate the Complexity
If there’s no dedicated data governance function, then no one lives & dies with the accuracy, completeness, timeliness and consistency of the critical information that drives the business.
There’s not much point in doing master data management if you’re not going to govern the data.
I remember attending an MDM Summit conference a few years ago, and hearing a pharmaceutical company admitting that they had spent 6 months implementing their MDM technology before they realized that they needed to have a data governance component – an organization with the accompanying processes to manage the quality and accuracy of the company’s critical master data. They essentially had to start their project over again after putting that data governance program in place.
The ironic part was that their system integrator partner ended up sponsoring the Data Governance track at the next conference.
Make sure you convince management of the need for a data governance team as part of your MDM implementation, because trying to do master data management without data governance is like trying to fly a plane with only one wing.
The next article in the series is: MDM Best Practice #8 – Resist the Urge to Customize
Today, we’re going to resume our series on Master Data Management Best Practices. Here are the earlier articles in the series:
- Start with the Need, Pain or Problem (Not “The Solution”)
- Active, Involved Executive Sponsorship
- Emphasize the Organizational Change Management Aspects
- The Business Has To Own MDM and Data Governance
- Use Your Best Project Managers and People
MDM Best Practice #6 is to think of MDM and data governance as long term programs, not a short term projects.
Start by understanding and describing your current state – where you’re starting from. Then define your “to be” or future state, and analyze the gaps between the current and future states, and how to close them.
Work with the business owners to break the project to close those gaps up into a series of discrete, manageable phases, much as a software company will have a series of releases of functionality in their successive versions of their software over a period of years.
Spend some quality time planning – the time you invest will be repaid many times over. I recommend spending up to 15% – 25% of the total initiative in planning. Don’t forget, you’ll be breaking down silos and coordinating across multiple lines of business, functional areas, channels, geographies, and so on – and sometimes, these areas you’ll be coordinating won’t like one another very much. So you’ll want to allow for plenty of time to plan what will probably end up being a complex, multi-year effort involving a balanced initiative composed of both data governance organization and process and MDM technology implementation.
The other thing to keep in mind is that MDM is never truly “over” – you may reach a plateau or “steady state”, but there will always be master data coming into the company that will have to be cleansed, matched, merged, synchronized, published, analyzed and utilized. And there will always be more you can do – higher levels on the MDM maturity model scale that you can help your organization achieve.
So plan for an MDM “way of life” that continues on, much like Finance or Sales continue on, not a project that “goes live” and then is over.
The next article in the series is: MDM Best Practice #7 – Create a Data Governance Organization and Processes
This one may sound obvious, but as you staff your MDM and data governance initiatives, make sure you use your best project managers and people.
Make sure you can’t be derailed by opponents pointing to avoidable project management or organizational issues. You cannot afford to have this type of project fail, so focus on controlling scope, getting the requirements right, managing risks, and communicating effectively and often.
I’ve seen situations where clients have had simultaneous projects going on: MDM, data governance, CRM and ERP. Even though the MDM and data governance projects were the most crucial, foundational efforts, upon which both the CRM and ERP projects depended, the MDM and DG projects seemed to suffer from “brain drain” – where the stronger resources were getting reallocated to the ERP project.
This “brain drain” syndrome is a mistake – the technical complexity of MDM, breaking down the organizational silos, the cultural changes and other “soft stuff”, putting data governance processes in place across the enterprise, all of these factors argue for putting your best people on these transformational programs.
It may be “project management 101″ but don’t put your “B” and “C” players on your most important programs.
The next article in the series is: MDM Best Practice #6 – A Long Term Program, Not a Short Term Project
As tempting as it is to start and finish with the technology, it doesn’t work.
One model that I’ve seen work very well is for the business to lead the data governance initiative, with senior management being involved through a Data Governance Council (which makes policy for enterprise data), with Global Process Owners handling day to day activities in their own functional areas such as marketing, sales, channels, customer support, and finance, and with tactical aspects handled by business data stewards and IT stewards, under the direction of the Global Process Owners and the IT Global Solution Owner.
This three level model (Data Governance Council, Global Process Owners, Data / IT Stewardship) allows the business to set direction at the highest level and coordinate across the enterprise, while still letting the process owners manage activities within their own functional areas. It’s important to break down the silos which are so common in most of today’s corporations, because silos breed the “islands of data” problem. Reuniting and reconciling those “islands of data” is one of the major reasons companies are doing master data management initiatives in the first place.
When MDM is driven solely by IT, the business may not understand it or buy in. In some cases, the business may not even realize MDM is there, if it’s buried too deeply in the “infrastructure”.
The hard truth is that MDM’s nature as an ongoing program means that even if the initial project is funded by IT, the business may not pick it up in Year 2 & beyond – unless the business owns it.
I’ve seen many instances of MDM programs whose first iteration (driven solely by IT) failed, until they started over, recruited sponsors in the business, transferred ownership of the program to them, and took a more business-oriented approach to the initiative.
Please let us know – in the comments here, in the forums on the MDM Community or using the #MDM hashtag on Twitter – what you think of the need for business to own the MDM and data governance initiative.
The next article in the series is: MDM Best Practice #5 – Use Your Best Project Managers and People
Addressing the organizational change aspects of master data management (MDM) and data governance initiatives is critical to their success.
Outside perspective can be very helpful here. As I discussed in a recent article, “Org. Change and Data Governance”, organizational change management – as an applied discipline – is used far too rarely on MDM projects. They’re big enough to justify it, and they certainly involve enough corporate politics and cultural change to benefit from a structured approach to organizational change management. My firm, Hub Designs, applies org. change and communications strategy techniques to every project we do.
Most of what I know about organizational change management I learned from my friend, Dr. Burt Reynolds, who is now an Assistant Professor at Southern NH University. We first worked together on an Oracle ERP project at a software company in Massachusetts. One of the reasons that project was successful was the project leadership included a strong org. change component.
In MDM projects, a clear communications strategy that addresses all of the various stakeholders of the initiative, and communicates your messages to them using their preferred methods of communication, over the right time frame, will have a huge impact – particularly if you can tell those stakeholders how MDM and data governance are making a difference and helping the organization realize its strategic goals. Find every occurrence of increased revenue, reduced costs, and easier compliance and risk management, and pass those success stories on to the organization at large.
Please let us know – in the comments here, in the forums on the MDM Community or using the #MDM hashtag on Twitter – what you think of the need for organizational change management in MDM and data governance initiatives.
The next article in the series is: MDM Best Practice #4 – The Business Has To Own MDM and Data Governance