Pain Here

Master Data Management Best Practice #1 – Start with the Need, Pain or Problem (Not “The Solution”)

The topic of “best practices in MDM and data governance” is one that I’ve been writing and speaking about for several years.

I wrote an earlier article on this in October 2007, and it’s proven to be one of the most popular articles on this blog, with more than 4,500 views to date. I’ve spoken on this topic several times at the Oracle Applications Users Group COLLABORATE conference, and at Oracle OpenWorld in 2009 and 2010.

My thoughts on MDM and data governance best practices have changed a bit over the years. At the recent Oracle OpenWorld conference, I co-presented with a couple of great people from Oracle, so I only had about 30 minutes, which forced me to focus and be more concise.

For those of you who couldn’t get to San Francisco for OpenWorld, I’m going to do a series here on this blog, looking at my recent Oracle OpenWorld presentation one best practice at a time.

MDM Best Practice #1 – Start with the Need, Pain or Problem (Not “The Solution”) – the “build it and they will come” approach really doesn’t work for MDM. I had one client where the IT group built a working customer hub, but couldn’t get the business interested in adopting it, and as a result, couldn’t get the funding to continue project beyond Year 1.

To avoid their mistake, make sure MDM solves some key business problems. Find out what your company’s overall corporate strategy is, and figure out how to tie MDM to delivering on that corporate strategy.

In particular, look at the data-related components of your planned and in-flight projects, then see how a centralized data hub can save money. I had one client where the “data components” of their ten planned and in-flight projects totaled about $10 million, and they calculated that by implementing a customer hub, they could achieve those same business goals for $6 million. After their implementation, which lasted 12 months, their actual costs were only $4 million. So they delivered savings of $6 million vs. the data-related costs embedded in the ten separate projects.

This may sound like an IT-driven initiative, but saving $6 million while still achieving the same business goals was a win-win that made the business team and the IT team look good.

Please let us know – in the comments here or in the forums on the MDM Community – what you think of business-driven rather than IT-driven MDM and data governance initiatives.

The next article in the series is: MDM Best Practice #2 – Active, Involved Executive Sponsorship

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