FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dan Power From Hub Designs Presenting at 2013 Gartner Master Data Management Summit
Hub Designs is looking for an exceptional enterprise integration architect Read more
This complementary web seminar is sponsored by Hub Designs and IBM, and is presented by Information Management. Read more
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 co-presenting a webinar on “All Things Data: Ensuring Regulatory and Client Preparedness”, with Olmstead Associates and the Enterprise Data Management Council, on Tue., June 5, 2012 at 11:00 am Eastern (8:00 am Pacific).
Next week, Hub Designs will be sponsoring the Gartner MDM Summit for the fourth year in a row. Read more
Olmstead Associates and Hub Designs Partner to Provide Information Management Services to the Financial Industry
A press release announcing the partnership between Olmstead Associates and Hub Designs to serve the financial services industry Read more
Hub Designs is looking for an exceptional Oracle TCA Business Analyst / Developer Read more
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
Each year beginning in 2010, Information Management magazine recognizes the best information managers and “people to watch”. Read more
Well, another year has nearly passed, and I’d like to say “thank you” to everyone who has read and supported this blog over the past three and a half years.
Only one thing has made this blog possible: you. Whether you came here to learn about master data management (MDM) and data governance, or to follow the development of the consulting firm Hub Solution Designs, your support is what has kept us writing, with 265 articles to date.
We’ve had some great guest authors over the years, whose work you can see on the Top Series page. They’ve helped to bring great insights and ideas to the blog; I hope you take the time to check out their work.
Our MDM Best Practice series was very popular this October, with the series as a whole receiving more than 2,100 page views in the past two months. The shorter article on Ten Best Practices for Master Data Management, which led to the ten part series, has received 5,100 views so far.
A couple of the articles we’ve written about Oracle have proven popular as well: Oracle’s MDM Strategy and Roadmap, and the First Look at Oracle Fusion MDM Hub. Jim Parnitzke’s series on Modeling the Blueprint for MDM proved so popular, we re-ran it this summer, as did Rob DuMoulin’s series on Data Profiling for All The Right Reasons.
Our article on the Hidden Costs of Duplicate Customer Data has received 1,175 total views over the past year, and How Master Data Management is Similar to ERP has been averaging 200-300 views per year for more than three years now. MDM and Enterprise Architecture (also by Joan Lawson) is a good reminder of the central role that MDM plays in the practice of Enterprise Architecture.
I hope you enjoy reading the blog as much as I enjoy writing for you. And I hope your holiday season is filled with family, love and happiness, and that you have a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year!
Hub Designs is pleased to be a sponsor of Kalido’s virtual user conference, Kalido Connect 2010, which is being held on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. Kalido is expecting more than 500 attendees, and will debut its new product, Kalido Data Governance Director, at the conference.
Also, Hub Designs is participating in an analyst briefing on and demonstration of Kalido Data Governance Director on Monday, December 6th. We’ll try to write a brief article here on the Hub Designs Blog later that day to give you our first impressions, with a longer article later, once we’ve had a chance to learn more about it at Kalido Connect.
This year’s Kalido Connect conference will focus on helping companies to manage data as a shared asset by supporting the business processes of data management. Kalido CEO Bill Hewitt will discuss how those business processes will affect the world economy over the next decade, including the impact on virtualization, mobile computing and the shrinking role of enterprise applications in the workplace.
Kalido Connect 2010 also features a record number of end user speakers, including participants from GE Treasury, Imperial Tobacco Group, Johnson & Johnson Ethicon Endo-Surgery, MarketStar, Navistar, Univision and Visa Europe.
A panel of end users will discuss how they have developed a more policy-centric approach to data governance and organized their programs in terms of organization, process and technology. They’ll discuss what “success” looks like, the barriers they encountered along the way (and how they overcame them), the role technology plays, and the value data governance is delivering to their organization.
Best in class content has been prepared by Kalido executives, consultants, customers and partners to address both technical and business audiences interested in data governance, data warehousing, business intelligence and master data management.
The virtual conference platform gives attendees the ability to network, attend exhibits, collaborate and learn without the time, expense and hassle of travel. Attendees can watch a presentation in a packed auditorium, network with peers in the Kalido Connect Lounge, or visit fully interactive sponsor booths on the exhibit floor, all at no cost.
You are cordially invited to join the Informatica MDM “Tweet Jam” on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010, from noon – 1pm Eastern (9-10 am Pacific, 10-11 am Mountain, and 11-noon Central).
What’s that? You don’t know what a Tweet Jam is? I’m glad you asked (because until recently, I didn’t know either).
“Musicians ‘jam’ by getting together and playing unscripted music, constantly working off each other, around a general theme. A Tweet Jam is the same concept, but using Twitter to have a fast-paced conversation around a particular topic. The idea is that one or more people, who are knowledgeable on a theme, are available to answer questions. Anyone can pose a question and anyone can answer.” (source: George Parapadakis’ “for what it’s worth …” blog)
So what is the Informatica MDM Tweet Jam?
That’s another good question. It’s going to be myself, Dan Power, hanging out on Twitter for one solid hour, answering questions, asking questions, telling jokes (well, maybe not telling jokes), and trying to help people better understand master data management (MDM) and data governance.
But I’m hoping my MDM friends (I keep a Twitter list of them at twitter.com/dan_power/mdm – if you want to be added to this list, send me a Twitter direct message) will join me and liven up the conversation, ask questions of course, but also answer them, add to the conversation, disagree with me on things, get a good debate going, give us all their viewpoint on some MDM topics, in short, make it a lively conversation among a good portion of the whole MDM community.
The official timing of the Informatica Tweet Jam is this Thursday, November 11, 2010, from noon – 1pm Eastern (9-10 am Pacific, 10-11 am Mountain, and 11-noon Central). Of course, no one controls what is posted on Twitter, so if you want to start early and end late, that’s fine. But I’ll be there at least for that time, monitoring and answering questions.
What do I do to follow the Informatica MDM Tweet Jam?
Just sign onto twitter.com and search for the terms #INFATJ #MDM (both need to be there). Anything related to the Jam will have these two hash tags in the message so it will appear in the search. Or you can use a popular Twitter tools like TweetDeck or Seesmiq and monitor the search terms there.
How do I join in?
Also very simple: you can post anything on Twitter – a question to the panel, a response to a previous question, a comment. As long as you remember to add the hash tags #INFATJ #MDM to your message, you are participating in the Tweet Jam. That’s all! No need to register, or sign up, or anything else. Just join right in!
I’ll probably post a transcript of the Tweet Jam on the Hub Designs Blog after we’re done, in case anyone does tell any good jokes.
Looking forward to seeing you on Twitter this Thursday, November 11, 2010, from noon – 1pm Eastern (9-10 am Pacific, 10-11 am Mountain, and 11-noon Central) – don’t forget the #INFATJ #MDM hash tags!
And here’s Ravi Shankar at Informatica’s take on the event.
Recently, Hub Designs became a member of the MDM Alliance Group (MAG).
MAG is a not-for-profit community, founded by Pierre Bonnet, of users, software vendors, consultants and systems integrators who jointly invest their time and intellectual property in the development of a common best practice and procedure approach for the successful and sustainable implementation of Master Data Management projects. Pierre is also author of the excellent book “Enterprise Data Governance“.
Hub Designs believes in the community driven approach that the MDM Alliance Group is pursuing, and we’ve been following their progress for quite a while. Their web site, www.mdmalliancegroup.com, has a lot of good information and downloadable assets on modeling procedures, prebuilt data models, webinar replays, and more.
Hub Designs sponsors The MDM Community, but so far that has been more of a forum for people to ask one another questions, to write blog articles, to discuss topics and post upcoming events. Perhaps at some point, The MDM Community will become a way for MDM practitioners to share digital assets with one another. But in the meantime, the MDM Alliance Group is doing great work, and Hub Designs is proud to be a member of it.
Also, a section of our white paper which was released on Sept. 14th, 2010 has been published on the MDM Alliance Group web site. This section deals with the importance of a model-driven approach and proactive data governance to delivering multidomain MDM. You can read that section of the white paper here. You can also download the entire white paper.
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
MDM and data governance projects need strong executive sponsorship, more so than most projects involving technology.
To champion a change (towards managing master data as a true corporate asset) is going to mean significant cultural disruption. In most companies, that type of change is best driven “top down”.
Don’t try to start until this is in place. Work on your elevator pitch, reach out to senior management and educate them on master data management, and work on recruiting your executive sponsors.
MDM and data governance programs are typically not very successful from the “bottom up”. They may start that way, and even show a few small wins, but you’ve got to get the “C suite” interested and engaged at some point in order to get the budget money and the political “juice” you’ll need.
Don’t forget that data governance is largely a political function. I’ve always liked Jill Dyche’s definition of data governance: “Data governance is the decision-rights and policymaking for corporate data, while data management is the tactical execution of those policies.”
When you see the word “decision rights” and “policymaking” next to the words “corporate data”, you know that you’re dealing with an area that is more political than technological. But we need to embrace that, for that is the reality of data governance (or as my friends at Evaxyx in the UK like to call it, “data government”).
And if you think that anything in the enterprise can succeed that is so strongly political without the explicit and continuing support of senior management, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn that I’m dying to sell you.
Please let us know – in the comments here or in the forums on the MDM Community – what you think of the political nature of data governance and the need for active, involved executive sponsorship of MDM projects.
The next article in the series is: MDM Best Practice #3 – Emphasize the Organizational Change Management Aspects
In yesterday’s article about the inclusion of Orchestra Networks in Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management of Product Data”, I mentioned that Orchestra is not considered a “dedicated PIM vendor”.
One company that has historically been a strong player in the Product Information Management (PIM) space is Stibo Systems. Stibo is also developing a credible multidomain MDM vision. I’ve been following them since the 2009 Gartner MDM Summit and am impressed by both their product offering as well as their growing customer base (now up to 140 global organizations).
Stibo has now been included on Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Product MDM for three consecutive years, and has been devoting more attention lately to marketing and analyst outreach. Their customer list is impressive and includes companies such as: GE, Sony, Siemens, Fujitsu, Sears, Office Depot, Harbor Freight Tools, Millipore, The Home Depot, W.W. Grainger and Thomas Cook.
On the product side, Stibo’s latest release, STEP 5.2 (available since July 2010) lets companies build and maintain a single authoritative view of product, supplier and location information for use across the enterprise. This ensures consistency across all phases of the information supply chain, and leads to cost reductions, reduced time to market and a faster new product introduction process.
As I continue to study the MDM market, and watch what the mega-vendors like Oracle, IBM and SAP are doing, it’s very encouraging to see so much innovation from best-of-breed vendors like Orchestra Networks and Stibo Systems.
To me, this indicates that the MDM market has a lot of growth and life in it yet, and the consolidation we’ve seen in the last couple of years, with IBM buying Initiate Systems and Informatica buying Siperian, doesn’t mean that the smaller vendors are finished creating great products and bringing them to market.
Please let us know – in the comments here or in the forums on the MDM Community – what you think of the latest developments in the master data management and data governance market and the latest “Magic Quadrant” report from Gartner.