Two popular questions users have these days:
- Should I “do” MDM before, during, or after, I “do” ERP?
- How do I “do” MDM with an ERP migration/implementation/rationalization?
The answer to both questions actually depends, in part, on what is meant by “ERP”. Some users use the term “ERP” to describe the intention of “source all solutions from a primary/preferred vendor”. Some users use the term to describe “a single data/process model”; yet more assume ERP means “a single business application suite on which to run an entire business”. These are three different things, and this explains why the MDM question is not simple.
However I can generalize the following observations:
Most, if not all, “ERP” vendors do not call MDM out as a separate work-stream in their ERP road mapping or blue printing. This makes sense; MDM evolved after ERP did. However many tasks and activities in ERP overlap with MDM.
- Most, if not all ESPs that help you implement MDM do not call MDM out separately from the ERP design either, for the same reason as for ERP software vendors.
- ERP, when either a vendor strategy or an application suite strategy, is most likely nothing other than one of many blobs of application and data. Unless ERP means “a single, enterprise wide data and process model” then ERP is just another blob; albeit a pretty large one in many cases. As such the discipline of MDM is needed whatever the status of the ERP roll-out.
So the recommendation is most likely this: If you have time and money, look to carve an MDM work-stream out of any ERP road map, in order to create/govern master data across but independent of ERP. It maybe that your MDM program starts and ends with ERP (data) in the short term, but MDM is broader than ERP. The ideal state is to plan an explicit MDM work-stream offset by 2 months, ahead of the ERP program. The MDM work will service the needs of the ERP users more holistically and in fact make the ERP implementation, migration, or consolidation, easier.
I have taken many inquiries that explore this topic, and I don’t think we have written a short, specific note that says what I say above. I need to write the note, and fill in the details and options. But my colleague Bill Swanton get’s pretty close with a note, “MDM for ERP Requires a Different Mind Set”.
Bottom line: If you “do” ERP first, and think you can “do” MDM afterward, you will re-work a lot of ERP and it will cost you a lot more. Worse, you probably won’t “do” MDM for a long time since the ERP thing will have to be used a lot in order get the return you wanted from its large investment. The motivation to architect your information properly will be low down the list…