I am working on the update to the Gartner Magic Quadrant for MDM of Product Data. I wanted to share some thoughts on how to size the MDM market.
I took a briefing from NRX last week, a very interesting vendor that has a specific focus: helping firms in capital/asset/construction intensive industries manage master data and content of assets in typically complex, heterogeneous IT environments. These needs are common in capital/asset/construction industries such as oil and gas, utilities, energy, and even public sector, but the vendor also specializes in managing the semi and non machine readable data referred to as content. For industries, governing and managing content and highly structured data in a uniform manner is already critical especially where compliance or regulation requires it.
During the briefing we compared notes on the size of the MDM market. We had two different perspectives: Gartner reports frequently on “spend”, that is, what is actually being spent by end users. Vendors of course are often more interested in understanding the potential spend, or the addressable market. These are two different ways of measuring the market – and neither are enough, or right/wrong.
This dialog reminded me of a note I helped write recently that commented on a user survey we completed late in 2008, that sought to determine how adoption of Enterprise Information Management (EIM) is going. EIM is a business oriented information strategy that is adopted when a firm decides to manage information as an asset for reuse. EIM concerns only information that is determined to be important and valuable to the business (such as master data) so MDM is part of an EIM strategy; metadata is also a very important information asset that can be re-used, so metadata management can also be part of EIM also.
However, just using or adopting MDM or metadata management does not mean that EIM is being achieved. EIM is all about re-use; and so MDM and metadata management has to be used in a particular way: there is little point achieving a local “single view” of data in one application or one department, or on desktop.
For MDM to be effective the discipline has to be, eventually, enterprise wide. As such there is “bad spend”, that is money spent by the business on practices that do not contribute to the realization of EIM. And there is “good spend”, that is money spent in the right way. However, trying to understand the different, and report on it, is very hard to do. The note, called How to Really Do the Five EIM-Related Things Everyone Else Just Thinks They’re Doing, concludes by saying that a the majority of spend on a range of information management technologies is “bad spend”. It is spending that goes toward local use of technology, or toward an approach that is not bound to create the necessary building blocks for EIM. Our survey’s were producing results that implied EIM was widely adopted and in hand: the reality is that if this were the case, MDM would not be so popular and I (and our team) would not be so busy!