A shorter, more targeted project (vs. the “ultimate” whiz-bang project with all the technology bells and whistles) pays off better in two important ways:
- Generally, the costs are lower, because you’re incurring them for a shorter time. That’s obviously not always strictly true (some crash projects can end up being very expensive) but a 6-9 month project usually tends to be less expensive than a 12-24 month project.
- You’re delivering the expected benefits that much sooner. So whatever value the business is going to gain from your MDM initiative, it will get that value roughly twice as fast if you can go with the targeted 6-9 month project instead of the 12-24 month “mega project”.
If you think back to our recent article on MDM Best Practice #1 – Start with the Need, Pain or Problem (Not “The Solution”), what the business really wants is for their problem to be solved. They don’t want the most elegant solution with the latest ‘whiz bang’ technology.
They’d like to be able to recognize their customer at all touch points; to be able to add new customers easily without accidentally creating a lot of duplicates; to be able to manage customer creditworthiness and risk in an efficient manner; to roll up sales by the customers’ corporate hierarchy; to be able to efficiently identify the untapped prospects in a corporate family, geography or vertical market; to be able to tie all interactions with a customer back to a single view of that customer; and so on.
Not a lot to ask, they’d probably tell you. They’ll probably ask, why can’t we do that now? After all the investments in all the ERP and CRM systems, in all the data warehouses, data marts and business intelligence solutions, we come along with MDM platforms and (gulp) data governance.
We tell the business users that with MDM, on the one hand, we can help them with their burning problems that never seem to get solved any other way. But on the other hand, it’s going to take their direct involvement in a way they’ve probably never had to do before: data governance.
So it’s matter of “to whom much is given, much is expected”. The business will have a new capability that will solve some important business problems, but the business owners and users will have to step up in a way they may not have had to before, by taking ownership of the data, setting policies around data quality, accuracy, completeness, timeliness and consistency, and then agreeing to enforcement of those policies.
Data government is primarily a political endeavor, and as a result, MDM projects have an explicitly political side to them. Be prepared for that, and remember, faster is better.