This week I had the pleasure of spending time with two end user organizations that helped me draw out some important considerations. Company A was very much a large, global concern who’s product is very much information rich, selling to consumer (B2C) and commercial organizations (B2B). Company B was another large, global concern, who’s product is very much physical, industrial oriented, selling to industry (B2B). I spoke with both concerning their maturity of MDM and how they could improve it. Never did I see such extreme differences and a rich landscape on which to pull learnings.
Company A – Two steps forward, One steps back
I met with a number of individuals that represented business and IT, across sales & marketing, operations, finance, IT, and BI. The customer had an objective of formalizing their MDM strategy. They reviewed several different initiatives they had underway:
one focused on finance data consolidation (across multiple ERP systems)
another focused on building a new “customer hub” for multiple CRM systems, including transactional, master and analytical data
and a third focused on a data integration pilot that built data quality rules into several data integration flows to clean data up as it flows through.
This firm also has a longer term ERP rationalization strategy underway. Over several years they have grown through acquisition, and now represents 5 distinct businesses, in US and Europe, each with their own business systems but sharing common customers, and common suppliers.
During the dialog the team of users realized that governance, process change, and organization change were keys to making MDM a living, breathing, sustained process. The projects the team had described had no distinct MDM focus, even though master data was being touched over and over again, with each IT and business initiative. But with now business sponsor, IT was not able to make MDM “stick”.
Lastly, we explored why there had not been any MDM focus to date. We learned that the firm, that is predominantly an information oriented company, had no Information Architect or defined information strategy! This explained a lot. Though the firm is profitable (the enemy of innovation), there was no single person or role looking at the overall strategy, let alone master data. But business pressure was mounting that eventually brought enough users together to realize that MDM was going to be needed – so now the next step is first to establish a broader vision and strategy.
Company B – The Sunny Uplands
This firm is a large engineering firm that has also grown through mergers and acquisitions. This firm also has several ERP systems, as well as large PLM components. There are separate sales and marketing business units also.
This firm had developed a comprehensive information strategy even though they are a physical products company. The products this company makes is very complex (ie engineered) and so a lot technical data is used to design and manufacture – and then support – the product. This skill has led to a good understand of how to ensure data is maintained consistently, and made shareable.
Additionally the firm also had developed a series of other master data oriented strategies, across supplier, customer, location, and also other data (called reference data) that looks and smells like master data but is not your typical objects (ie exchange rates, units of measure).
The firm had adopted Gartner’s MDM Maturity Model and compared and contrasted their maturity, across all key business units and departments, all master data domains and initiatives, and evaluated their current maturity against vision, strategy, governance, organization process, metrics, and technology. The firm presented this information to us and was looking for feedback on the overall strategy:
How did the approach look?
Would gaps in the strategy be found if they continued in this way?
Were there any obvious gaps now?
How does their status equate to industry norms?
What else can they do to assure better success with next steps (execution)?
These two stories were like applies and oranges – both firms have MDM aspirations, both know that MDM can help their businesses and both know that it is needed. However, two very important take-aways came to me when I compared these initiatives:
MDM can succeed in isolation to some larger, information management strategy (such as Enterprise Information Management) but it is real, real hard to succeed with MDM
Governance, process, and organization is far more important to MDM success then technology
Busy week – closing out an MDM Magic Quadrant; closing out the MDM Hype Cycle, as well as talking to some users about some complex MDM problems. What else can an analyst ask for…
Category: Business Case Business Drivers Business Intelligence Data Quality Enterprise Information Management (EIM) ERP Governance Implementation MDM Operational MDM Tags: Business Case, Business Drivers, Data Quality, Enterprise Information Management (EIM), Governance, MDM, Organization, Process