Over the recent months, I have been engaged with the boutique Master Data Management (MDM) consultancy parsionate on some visionary projects in the multi-domain MDM area.
The overall approach at parsionate is that MDM is much more than just an IT issue. It is a strategic necessity. This is based on an experience that I share, which is that if you treat MDM as an isolated technological problem, you will inevitably fail!
MDM implementations today are increasingly becoming enterprise wide and are thus also multi-domain meaning that they cover business partner domains as customer and supplier/vendor, the product domain and a longer tail of other core business entities that matters within the given business model.
The primary goal of a multi-domain MDM implementation is to unify and consolidate heterogeneous data silos across the enterprise. The more source systems are integrated, the more information will be available and the more your enterprise will beneﬁt from a 360° view of its data.
To achieve the desired goal for your multi-domain MDM program, you need to have a clear vision and a long-term strategic roadmap that shows how the various MDM implementation stages ﬁt together with other related initiatives within your enterprise and where the Return of Investment (ROI) is expected and how it can be measured.
Seven Phases of Forming the Roadmap
In the approach at parsionate there are seven phases to go through when forming the roadmap and launching an MDM program.
Phase 1: Identify business needs
Before embarking on an MDM program, consider what data is most important to your business and where you can create the most value by putting this data under the MDM umbrella.
The main rationale is that through MDM organizations can control the way their most important data is viewed and shared in a more eﬃcient, traceable way and thus improve their performance and productivity. An eﬀective MDM implementation helps you streamline your workﬂows. It breaks down data silos that prevent data from being reused and shared across the enterprise
Phase 2: Set up a data committee
Establishing a data committee (with any equivalent name for a data focussed body) is perhaps the most frequently mentioned aspect of an MDM strategy. This team would usually consist of many diﬀerent stakeholders who are in a position to enforce the roadmap and the underlaying activities.
This body must be able to convey the importance of data across the enterprise at all organizational levels. The main concern is to make data a top priority in the enterprise.
Phase 3: Set up a data governance program before deﬁning the MDM roadmap
Many organizations shy away from data governance programs that consulting ﬁrms suggest because they seem too complex and costly.
The bitter truth is though that if you fail to implement data governance or embed it strategically into the way the organization works, you will inevitably have to address it at a later stage – in a more time-consuming and costly process.
Phase 4: Set clear goals to ingrain the MDM vision in the organization’s culture
It is diﬃcult to promote an MDM program without a clear vision and objectives. At the executive level, the program could be misunderstood as a technological issue. Sometimes decision-makers struggle to understand the value an MDM program will generate. In this case, they will either not fund it or, if it does go ahead, consider it a failure because the result does not meet their expectations.
It is crucial to involve all relevant stakeholders in the roadmap development process at an early stage and engage with them to understand their expectations and requirements. Only then can you ensure that the core elements of a successful MDM program are aligned with the needs of your entire organization.
Phase 5: Choose a step-by-step approach and rapidly implement sub-projects
The most eﬀective way to implement an MDM program is to start with a few key sources and provide meaningful information in a very short time. It is always diﬃcult to implement everything at once (multiple sources, several integration points, and complex data) with a „big bang“ or build a data hub without a speciﬁc goal in mind.
If a pilot project quickly realizes a series of short-term beneﬁts, users and business leaders will appreciate the value of the MDM program. As soon as it becomes clear that the initial project is successful, you can promote a wider roadmap that shows how the next steps will be carried out in line with the strategic goals of your organization. With this iterative approach, the long-term beneﬁts will become clearer.
Phase 6: The mammoth task: Adopt a data-driven mindset
Building a data-driven corporate culture may be considered the supreme challenge of any MDM program. Data culture goes far beyond a simple corporate strategy that uses data for business processes. Rather, it is a mindset that encourages employees to appreciate the tremendous added value of high-quality data.
Many organizations believe they can simply buy new tools to drive digital transformation. That is an illusion.
Phase 7: Integrate technology
This illusion does however not mean that that MDM technology is not important.
Hardly any other IT system aﬀects as many diﬀerent departments and data domains in a company and is, implemented the right way, as powerful as an MDM solution. The extreme importance of this type of software within the entire corporate IT infrastructure means that you need to select a system very carefully and strategically.
The Full Guide If you want to read the full guide to MDM mapping out the high road to a successful implementation you can download it from this parsionate site: Master Data Management