Business and Pleasure

The data quality and master data management (MDM) realm has many wistful songs about unrequited love with “the business”.

This morning I noticed yet a tweet on twitter expressing the pain:

Here Gartner analyst Ted Friedman foresees the doom of MDM if we don’t get at least the traction from “the business” that BI (Business Intelligence) is getting.

In my eyes everything we do in Information Technology is about “the business”. Even computer games and digital entertainment is a core part of the respective industries. I also believe that IT is part of “the business”.

“The rest of the business” does see that some disciplines belong in the IT realm. This goes for database management, programming languages and network protocols. These disciplines are not doomed at all because it is so. “The rest of the business” couldn’t work today without these things around.

Certainly I have seen some IT based disciplines and related tools emerged and then been doomed during my years in the IT business. Anyone remembers case tools?   

With case tools I remember great expectations about business involvement in application design. But according to Wikipedia the main problems with case tools are (were): Inadequate standardization, unrealistic expectations, slow implementation and weak repository controls.

In other words: “The rest of the business” never really got in touch with the case tools because they didn’t work as supposed.

The business traction we see around BI (and the enabling tools) now is in my eyes very much about that the tools have matured, actually works, have become more user friendly and seems to create useful results for “the rest of the business”.

Data quality tools and MDM tools must continue to follow that direction too, because for sure: Data Quality tools and MDM tools does not solve any severe problems internally in the IT part of “the business”.

It’s my pleasure being part of that.

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14 thoughts on “Business and Pleasure

  1. David Loshin 4th February 2011 / 18:00

    Here is an idea: let’s repackage the whole set of MDM concepts under a new name and position it as the “up and coming” approach to enterprise knowledge management. At least we can take a ride *up* the hype curve!

    • Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 4th February 2011 / 18:14

      Thanks David for joining. Yep, it’s always worth considering the rebranding option.

  2. Dario Bezzina 4th February 2011 / 18:36

    Good post! Something I picked up at Gartner’s MDM Summit this week (I can’t quote because I have a lousy memory) but it had this meaning: You’re only IT people and you exist only to support the business.
    I thought it was very funny and very true.
    Maybe we should re-learn to repeat the mantra: Is it good for the business? Is it good for the business? Is it good for the business? Is it good for the business? Is it good for the business? Is it good for the business?

    • Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 4th February 2011 / 18:52

      Dario, thanks for dropping by. I think your idea indeed will be good for business.

  3. Ted Friedman 4th February 2011 / 18:59

    Of course it’s hard to be complete in 140 chars! Let me explain a bit further what I was thinking. It has nothing to do with the tools and whether something belongs in IT or not. The decisions you make in MDM (e.g. how will we define “customer” or “product” or any core concept) are business decisions — that is, they must be made by business leaders (which, to your point Henrik, may include IT people). And if we don’t have that engagement all across the business (beyond IT) we’ll never reach those decisions. Running between planes, so still too short here, but wanted to just add a few thoughts. Have a good weekend!

    • Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 4th February 2011 / 19:12

      Thanks Ted for taking the time between planes on the way home. It’s true; tools (and any business process) are not much worth if not backed up by solid decisions about core concepts.

  4. Steve Putman 4th February 2011 / 19:23

    Yes, Henrik, I remember CASE tools, and I also remember trying to explain them to non-technical people…I agree – too much “over the wall-ism” in business, coupled with the engineer’s DNA about solving every problem out there. Partnership is the thing!

    • Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 4th February 2011 / 21:28

      Thanks Steve, no doubt, partnership is the thing.

  5. William Sharp 4th February 2011 / 21:43

    the funny part is that linking MDM and DQ to the business is pretty easy. It starts, not with the technology, but with the questions that the technology answers. like you’ve mentioned, mdm is about “how does the business want to define the product?” let business people think “pie in the sky” and then map it to reality.
    DQ is all about “how do you want the data to look?” or “how do we eliminate your current data issues”?
    my point is, talk less about the technology. no one but us geeks like that stuff (just talk 15 minutes to your wife about this stuff and time where you lose her attention). talk more about the business applications!

    • Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 4th February 2011 / 21:55

      Good points William. 15 minutes, that’s a long time 🙂

    • Dario Bezzina 5th February 2011 / 00:42

      William, are you saying that DQ tools have a low W.A.F?!
      In that case DQ vendors must start making wireless, flat and chromed tools! Just like the TV manufacturers have made it possible to buy a 60 inch plasma without

  6. Dario Bezzina 5th February 2011 / 00:48

    …the wife throwing the TV out the window, by packeging it in a sexy format. 🙂

    I guess we DQ practitioners either have to make MDM and DQ really sexy to bring it into the house or sneak it in when the wife is asleep, as you do with the more expensive gadgets she finds totally useless! 😉

  7. Jarrett Goldfedder 5th February 2011 / 02:30

    Great article. My impression is that the tools get bright and shinier, but the concepts stay the same. Someone once said that we theoretically could take index cards and, with enough time, could achieve the same results as a database (it would probably take MUCH longer to search, though). As long as the core techniques are there to help the business, the fluff can stay with IT and the techies.

    Have a great weekend.

    • Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 5th February 2011 / 08:27

      Thanks Jarrett for coming by. I’m so old that I remember that when we implemented IT +25 years ago (called EDP then) we replaced paper based business processes including index cards, carbon paper and all that jazz. And sure there were different opinions then about what being the best for business.

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