Keys to a Successful MDM Program

Master Data Management (MDM) initiatives often seem to begin with the CIO and consequently, the implementation takes on a strong technology focus.

But in today’s article, we want to suggest an approach that’s more likely to succeed in the long run – tying the MDM project to solving an important business problem, and then getting the business to not only sponsor the initiative, but to “own” it.

Depending on your industry, there are key business drivers frequently seen in that industry. For example, in manufacturing, the key drivers are usually margin analysis, supply chain analysis, product profitability and customer satisfaction. In the software industry, license revenue analysis, maintenance contract revenue (new and renewals), support margins and customer satisfaction are the key drivers.

When you talk about how MDM may improve results in these areas, the business owners perk up and listen. So invest some time in understanding the corporation’s strategic priorities for the next few fiscal years, and then choose a small number of these strategic priorities as the key drivers to be tied to MDM.

At a leading software company, Marketing had recently undergone a radical overhaul. The new head of Marketing was swamped by the number of “mini-databases” that had sprung up, both within the department itself and within IT. For their launch of their new software product, he needed to know who his customers were – on a particular version, at a particular support level, and in a particular geography.

It took the Marketing department weeks to get that final list. As a result, the CIO stepped up and linked the MDM initiative’s success to specific metrics used by Marketing.

Marketing was then totally engaged in the MDM project, and that momentum carried right through the product launch. And Marketing even hired a data steward for ongoing data management.

Had it only been the Technology group carrying the burden of doing the MDM project, I’d bet the project would have fallen by the wayside and there would not be any surviving MDM program there.

The key takeaway is to link your Data Quality and MDM initiatives to your enterprise’s key business drivers and your executives’ priorities. Only then you will get the business to put their money where their mouth is. And only then will you be assured of a successful ongoing MDM program.

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