Day 1 of Gartner MDM Summit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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