One of the topics people were talking about at that conference was how well the Master Data Management market would fare in an economic downturn.
Certainly, companies that were just “testing the waters” on MDM may cancel or slow down their initiatives, and anyone making the front pages or the nightly news (and not in a good way) is probably going to see some disruption to their Master Data Management efforts.
But I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much interest and activity we’ve seen, particularly since 2009 started.
Friends in the MDM space report getting a slew of new opportunities recently, especially in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Industries like that are doing relatively well, and even in affected industries like retail, some companies are “swimming against the tide” and investing into the downturn, looking to take market share and revenue from their competition who are cutting investments and going into hibernation mode.
Barney Beal on SearchDataManagement.com described the picture at BJ’s Wholesale Club:
[John Polizzi, senior vice president and CIO] “Our plan was not an investment in a master data management (MDM) system, or an ERP implementation, or a point of sale (POS), but rather all of them — and more. BJ’s is embarking on a five-year transformation of its IT infrastructure and systems.”
Philip Lay, managing director of TCG Advisors, who spoke at the Gartner conference, said “now is the time to buck conventional wisdom and ‘think like a contrarian’ when it comes to MDM.” Lay advised the attendees “the key to making a successful business case for MDM is to tie MDM to specific, broken business processes” and quantify that impact.
I wrote an article for DM Review on “Easing into Master Data Management” which describes how to get started by building a data governance program first, with existing resources and applications, and tackling data quality and data integration as predecessor steps to MDM.
Certainly, one of the classic drivers for MDM has always been reducing costs – and that’s even more important in a recession (look for a guest post on this topic in a few days from Ravi Shankar at Siperian).
But even more important is to grow the “top line” – to increase revenue and pull customers away from your competitors, through better information, better customer service, better products, better pricing, you name it.
In 2009, I predict the MDM market will be affected somewhat by the recession, but it will still be one of the fastest-growing software segments, as Gartner has been predicting too.
But let’s tap into YOUR collective intelligence – what do you think? Please comment here or on the MDM Community.