Vendor Master Data Management Musings

In multidomain Master Data Management (MDM) we often focus on the two most frequently addressed domains being Customer MDM and Product MDM.

However, managing the critical data elements that describes the vendors to an enterprise is increasingly being on the agenda in MDM implementations.

Buy Side MDMHandling vendor master data shares a good deal of the same challenges as with customer master data, as we are describing real world entities that have a role as a second party to our enterprise. In more cases than what often is acknowledged, vendors may also have a role as a customer or other business partner roles at the same time. In my eyes, we should handle vendor master data as a subset of party master data as described in the post about How Bosch is Aiming for Unified Partner Master Data Management.

The self-service theme has also emerged in handling vendor master data as self-service based supplier portals have become common as the place where vendor master data is captured and maintained. Where making the first purchase order or receiving the first invoice was the starting point for vendor master data in the old days, this is often not the case anymore.

By the way: The self-service theme also spreads to when we are going to receive information about the products the vendors are supplying to you as told in the post called PIM Supplier Portals: Are They Good or Bad?

Avoid Duplicates by Avoiding Peer-to-Peer Integrations

When working in Master Data Management (MDM) programs some of the main pain points always on the list are duplicates. As explained in the post Golden Records in Multi-Domain MDM this may be duplicates in party master data (customer, supplier and other roles) as well as duplicates in product master data, assets, locations and more.

Most of the data quality technology available to solve these problems revolves around identifying duplicates.  This is a very intriguing discipline where I have spent some of my best years. However, this is only a remedy to the symptoms of the problem and not a mean to eliminate the root cause as touched in the post The Good, Better and Best Way of Avoiding Duplicates.

The root causes are plentiful and as all challenges they involve technology, processes and people.

Having an IT landscape with multiple applications where master data are a created, updated and consumed is a basic problem and a remedy to that is the main reason of being for Master Data Management (MDM) solutions. The challenge is to implement MDM technology in a way that the MDM solution will not just become another silo of master data but instead be solution for sharing master data within the enterprise – and ultimately in the digital ecosystem around the enterprise.

blind-spot-take-careThe main enemy from a technology perspective is in my experience peer-to-peer system integration solutions. If you have chosen application X to support a business objective and application Y to support another business objective and you learn that there is an integration solution between X and Y available, this is very bad news. Because short term cost and timing considerations will make that option obvious. But in the long run it will cost you dearly if the master data involved are handled in other applications as well. Because then you will have blind spots all over the place where through duplicates will enter.

The only sustainable solution is to build a master data hub where through master data are integrated and thus shared with all applications inside the enterprise and around the enterprise. This hub must encompass a shared master data model and related metadata.

 

Achieving Business Benefits from Multi-Domain MDM

Multi-Side MDMThe title of this blog post is also the title of my presentation at a Master Data Management (MDM) event that will take place in Berlin the 18th and 19th October 2018.

Here, I will give my perspectives on:

Read more about this MDM event from ThinkLinkers here. Hope to see you in Berlin.

PS: You can watch a YouTube video with testimonials from a previous event here.

Ecosystem Wide MDM

Doing Master Data Management (MDM) enterprise wide is hard enough. The ability to control master data across your organization is essential to enable digitalization initiatives and ensure the competitiveness of your organization in the future.

But it does not stop there. Increasingly every organization will be an integrated part of a business ecosystem where collaboration with business partners will be a part of digitalization and thus we will have a need for working on the same foundation around master data.

The different master data domains will have different roles to play in such endeavors. Party master will be shared in some degree but there are both competitive factors, data protection and privacy factors to be observed as well.

MDM Ecosystem

Product master data – or product information if you like – is an obvious master data domain where you can gain business benefits from extending master data management to be ecosystem wide. This includes:

  • Working with the same product classifications or being able to continuously map between different classifications used by trading partners
  • Utilizing the same attribute definitions (metadata around products) or being able to continuously map between different attribute taxonomies in use by trading partners
  • Sharing data on product relationships (available accessories, relevant spare parts, updated succession for products, cross-sell information and up-sell opportunities)
  • Having access to latest versions of digital assets (text, audio, video) associated with products

The concept of ecosystem wide Multi-Domain MDM is explored further is the article about Master Data Share.

(PS: Ecosystem wide MDM is coined by Gartner, the analyst firm, as multienterprise MDM).

Welcome Stibo Systems on The Disruptive MDM List

I am happy to welcome Stibo Systems and their STEP platform as the next disruptive Master Data Management Solution on the disruptive MDM list. You can learn more about, and review, Stibo Systems STEP here.

My first encounter with Stibo Systems was 7 years ago when I started an engagement there taking part in the first steps in transforming Stibo Systems from a Product Master Data Management / Product Information Management (PIM) vendor to a multi-domain MDM vendor.

Since then I worked for some of Stibo Systems clients with implementing the STEP solution.

During both engagements types I learned how a robust but still extremely flexible MDM solution STEP is and also came to know the very professional staff at Stibo Systems. You can see them below:

Stibo Systems Group photo

How Bosch is Aiming for Unified Partner Master Data Management

A recurrent theme on this blog is the way organizations should handle party master data management as examined in the post What is Best Practice: Customer- and Vendor- or Unified Party Master Data Management?

What I advise my clients to do, is to have a common party (or business partner) structure for identification, names, addresses and contact data. This should be supported by data quality capabilities strongly build on external reference data (third party data). Besides this common structure, there should be specific structures for customer, vendor/supplier and other party roles.

This week I attended the MDM event arranged by Marcus Evans in Barcelona. The presentation by Udo Couto Klütz of the industrial giant Robert Bosch highlighted the clever way of handling customer master data, by having a partner master data concept.

Bosch

At Bosch they have reached the conclusion, that unified partner master data management is the way to achieve:

  • A single source of truth
  • Transparency
  • Standardized processes
  • Worldwide applicability
  • One compliance standard
  • Increased efficiency

I absolutely agree.

The Product Data Domain and the 2017 Gartner Data Quality Magic Quadrant

data-quality-magic-quadrant-2017The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Quality Tools 2017 is out. One place to get it for free is at the Informatica site.

As data quality for product data is high on my agenda right now, I did a search for the word product in the report. There are 123 occurrences of the word product, but the far majority is about the data quality tool as a product with a strategy and a roadmap.

The right context saying about the product domain is, as I could distil it based on word mentioning, as follows:

Product data is part of multidomain

Gartner says that the product domain is a part of multidomain support, being packaged capabilities for specific data subject areas, such as customer, product, asset and location.

Some vendors were given thumbs up for including product data in the offering. These were:

  • BackOffice Associates has this strength: Multidomain support across a wide range of use cases: BackOffice Associates’ data quality tools provide good support for all data domains, with particular depth in the product data domain.
  • Information Builders has this strength: Multidomain support and diverse use cases: Deployments by Information Builders’ reference customers indicate a diversity of usage scenarios and data domains, such as customer, product and financial data.
  • SAS (Institute, not the airline) has this strength: Strong knowledge base for the contact and product data domains.

One should of course be aware, that other vendors also may have support for product data, but this is overshadowed by other strengths.

Effect on positioning

Multidomain brings vendors to the top right. Gartner’s metrics means that leaders address all industries, geographies, data domains and use cases. Their products support multidomain and alternative deployment options such as SaaS.

Product data focus can make a vendor a challenger. Gartner tells that challengers may not have the same breadth of offering as Leaders, and/or in some areas they may not demonstrate as much thought-leadership and innovation. For example, they may focus on a limited number of data domains (customer, product and location data, for example). This also means, that missing product data focus keeps vendors away from the top right positioning, which seems to be hitting Pitney Bowes and Experian Data Quality.

Product data will become more important, but is currently behind other domains

Gartner emphasizes that data and analytics leaders including Chief Data Officers and CIOs must, to achieve CEOs’ business priorities, ensure that the quality of their data about customers, employees, products, suppliers and assets is “fit for purpose” and trusted by users.

Organizations are increasingly curating external data to enrich and augment their internal data. Finally, they are expanding their data quality domains from traditional party domains (such as customer and organization data) to other domains (such as product, location and financial data).

According to Gartner, data quality initiatives address a wide variety of data domains. However, party data (for existing customers, prospective customers, citizens or patients, for example) remains the No. 1 priority: 80% of reference customers considered it the top priority among their three most important domains. Transactional data came second highest, with 45% of reference customers naming it among their top three. Financial/quantitative data was third, with 39% of reference customers naming it. The figure for product data was 34%.

In my view, the 34% figure is because not all organizations have high numbers of product data and have major business pains related to product data. But those who have are looking at data quality tool and service vendors for suitable solutions.

Supplier 360 + Product 360 = The Buy Side Oval

Having a 360 degree of something is a recurring subject within Master Data Management (MDM). “Customer 360” is probably the most used term. “Product 360” is promoted from time to time too and occasionally we also stumble upon “Supplier 360” (or “Vendor 360”).

Product 360 was recently examined by Simon Walker of Gartner, the analyst firm, in the post Creating the 360-Degree view of Product.

Supplier 360, as in having a single golden supplier/vendor record to connect all databases, was touched by Grant Watling of HICX Solutions a while ago in the post All Aboard! Six steps to supplier onboarding.

The Buy Side Oval is a combination of Product 360 and Supplier 360

Buy Side MDM 

Within (Multi-Domain) Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) we must be able to provide solutions that enables the buy side to effectively and consistently handle the core entities involved.

The solution to that is not having a supplier product data portal as discussed in the post PIM Supplier Portals: Are They Good or Bad? A key part lies outside your in-house platform in the business ecosystem where you and your suppliers all are participants and can be achieved as told in the post Master Data, Product Information, Digital Assets and Digital Ecosystems.

MDM Summit Europe 2017 Preview

Next week we have the Master Data Management (and Data Governance) Summit Europe 2017 in London. I am looking forward to be there.

MDMDG2017The Sponsors

Some of the sponsors I am excited to catch up with are:

  • Semarchy, as they have just released their next version multi-domain (now promoted as multi-vector) MDM (now promoted as xDM) offering emphasizing on agility, smartness, intelligence and being measurable.
  • Uniserv, as they specialize in hosted customer MDM on emerging technology infused with their proven data quality capabilities and at the same time are open to coexistence with other multi-domain MDM services.
  • Experian Data Quality, as they seem to be a new entry into the MDM world coming from very strong support for party and location data quality, however with a good foundation for supporting the whole multi-domain MDM space.

The Speakers

This year there are a handful of Danish speakers. Can’t wait to listen to:

  • Michael Bendixen of Grundfos pumping up the scene with his Data Governance Keynote on Key Factors in Successful Data Governance
  • Charlotte Gerlach Sylvest of Coloplast on taking care of Implementing Master Data Governance in Large Complex Organisations
  • Birgitte Yde and Louise Pagh Covenas of ATP telling how they watch after my pension money while being on a Journey Towards a New MDM System
  • Erika Bendixen of Bestseller getting us dressed up for Making Master Data Fashionable by Transforming Information Chaos into a Governance-Driven Culture.

MDM as Managed Service

This month I am going to London to attend the Master Data Management Summit Europe 2017.

As a teaser before the conference Aaron Zornes made a post called MDM Market 2017-18: Facts vs. Beliefs (with apologies to current political affairs fans!).

In his article, Aaron Zornes looks at the slow intake of multi-domain MDM, proactive data governance, graph technology and Microsoft stuff ending with stating that MDM as MANAGED SERVICE = HOT:

“Just as business users increasingly gave up on IT to deliver modest CRM in a timely, cost effective fashion (remember all the Siebel CRM debacles), so too are marketing and sales teams especially looking to improve the quality of their customer data… and pay for it as a “service” rather than as a complex, long-time-to-value capital expenditure that IT manages”.

Master Data ShareI second that, having been working with the iDQ™ service years ago, and will add, that the same will be true for product data as well and then eventually also multi-domain MDM.

How that is going to look like is explained here on Master Data Share.