Sorry folks – been way too busy to post anything for a while. Trying to wrap-up the MDM Hype Cycle and an MDM Magic Quadrant at the same time, while supporting increases in MDM inquiries, sales calls, and travel. I can see a more “normal” time coming up end August….here’s to hoping, anyway.
Here’s a blog on a favorite topic of mine that comes up a lot – especially in ERP land but is applicable to many, if not all, MDM users.
Should MDM applications be extended/developed with business application logic (as a single application)?
- Yes: Given MDM is fast becoming a much better place where good, clean master data is governed, why not be efficient and build business application on it? Surely this is efficient and effective, and means that over time users can sunset legacy applications that are remote from the (master) data.
- No: This is history repeating itself and is the reason why MDM came about in the first place! No single system or application will be capable of supporting the needs of the entire business. Just look at ERP! Before you know it another data store will be created “in the interests of speed” or flexibility or some other reason, and we will be back to where we started: larger and larger application stacks with their own copy of the (master) data. Separate the (master) data, once and for all, from the application from whence it came.
MDM results in the separation of (master) data (governance) from the application that originally (for the last 30 years) created it. It is because we deployed each application with its own copy of the (master) data that we got into this mess in the first place. This notion of separating business application from master data is however an ideal; it is not where we start from but it is the place organizations are headed toward, slowly. In some places (think BI, Finance, Procurement) there are places where this separation has not yet taken place. In CRM, e-Commerce, ERP, SCM, PLM, it is underway to varying degrees of completeness.
Where master data is not yet separated from Applications
There is a follow on question that becomes CRITICAL to MDM’s long term success and adoption. The question focuses on analytics, and how analytics support all manner of business processes/decisions, as well as those specific to supporting MDM.
The business analysis needed to support (master) data governance is DIFFERENT to the analysis a business user makes that uses master data! In finance, a user might play with various “what if” scenarios for evaluating re-reporting annual sales using different reporting schemes. This is what Hyperion DRM does; even though Hyperion DRM also supports hierarchy management.
This situation – adding business application support/logic to MDM capabilities has been observed in one part of MDM already, that of MDM of product data, or Product Information Management (PIM). Old PIM vendors (before we talked about MDM) were adding all manner of business application logic onto their systems, such as the screens needed to support the launch of a new product, or product catalog views for use by merchants selling to customers through different channels.
For governance to work well in a sustainable manner, architecturally it needs to be separated from the business application domain. IT will have to resist the pressure and only add critical capabilities (such as search) that could be called as a service be remote applications. If not, we (users) run the risk of duplicating their governance capabilities and the data along with it, and hence we will be back where we were when MDM emerged.