MDM and Data Governance – the Value of Planning

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Building a “Single Version of the Truth” can be more expensive than you expect, and documenting and measuring its ROI requires careful thought.

Good planning is more necessary than ever in an uncertain economic climate. The result of inadequate planning can be misdirected spending, chewing up valuable time and resources and then, six or twelve months later, having to go back and “right the ship”. And the second time around, the efforts are often overstaffed (to “make up for lost time”), while the organization as a whole might still be marching down the wrong path.

Master data management and data governance initiatives can have a disruptive effect on the organization, and the budget is often millions of dollars. Now the stakes are even higher, because in times of economic uncertainty, the pressure is on to “do more with less” and to take shortcut approaches for achieving corporate data objectives.

One such shortcut is to turn the MDM initiative into a “technology-only” project, perpetuating a “silo” approach to data and selectively purchasing the latest data quality or hub tools. This approach should be used with caution, because at the end of the day, data is still data, and without process and stewardship, even the latest technologies will probably fail to meet the intended objectives.

Because of the organizational effects (new processes, roles and responsibilities) in MDM and the budget requirements, our advice is to take the time for a readiness assessment, understand where on the maturity curve you are, see if your business drivers make a sufficient case, think through cultural issues, etc.

The results of an assessment may surprise you. Even with a strong business case and senior management buy-in, don’t underestimate the amount of preparation and time that a well conceived planning process for MDM and data governance will take.

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3 Comments on “MDM and Data Governance – the Value of Planning”

  1. Peter Benza 04/25/2009 at 10:57 pm #

    I agree certain short-cuts might be warranted given the economic times we are facing today for obvious reasons… furthermore, in my opinion every “good” MDM short-cut should start with data profiling. I have found data profiles to be very revealing during an assessment and can paint a picture for stakeholders to see at many different levels – application, entity, customer, product, and most importantly at a data attribute level. As a result, data profiles are a great way to add to add some “meat” (estimated volumes) to the overall data governance plan.

  2. Dan Power 04/25/2009 at 11:03 pm #

    Thanks for the comment, Peter. I think you’re right on the money. I like to say “profile early and profile often”. I don’t think you can ever learn too much about where you’re starting from on your data.

  3. Data Governance 03/14/2011 at 4:51 am #

    Data Governance is a process and structure for formally managing information as a resource and ensures that the appropriate people representing business processes, data and technology are involved in the decision-making.

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