I had the good fortune to spend last week in Barcelona, Spain, with several hundred users focused on Business Intelligence (BI) and Master Data Management (MDM). I spoke as part of the Gartner BI Summit and the Gartner MDM Summit. It was a busy week – as it should be.
At the BI Summit I presented some research on information strategy. More specifically, how can IT explain what it is seeking to do with it’s money, when talking with the business. The focus was the Information Innovation Yield Curve. This was positioned as a book-end; the other book-end is Infonomics. Infonomics focuses on managing information as an asset (think balance sheet); and the Information Innovation Yield Curve focuses on investment strategy – that is – how to develop a complex/combined strategy to figure out the winning strategy to maximize yield on investment in those assets (think profit and loss).
I introduced this session with a reference to a new report that I had spotted in a recent Economist article [The Job-rich depression – A dive into Britain’s productivity puzzle uncovers a serious risk to the economy]. The worrying point I was drawing on concerned how new data is suggesting that productivity in the UK might actually be falling; and what is the implication of this. My point was that investment in IT is meant to help increase productivity. So how can it be that productivity might fall? Could this same situation take place in the US, or other advanced economies? What happens to IT generally and investment in information management, if productivity starts to decline?
I mentioned this item at our keynote at the MDM Summit, after Bill O’Kane and I had finished the opening skit. It is always nerve wracking but fun to tee off the event with a mildly humorous angle to try to get a key point over. Hopefully our attempt at showing how best practices can help make MDM less complex came over. The keynote look at how organizations are looking at MDM as more of a launchpad (or foundation?) for a range of initiatives. We looked at the latest thinking on how governing information adds value (or enabled) other investments in cloud, mobile and big data.
In terms of the other session, I spoke on a range of topics:
- How Master Data Management is but a step along a much larger, more serious program (such as Enterprise Information Management)
- How to make adopting MDM more effective
- How to organize to make MDM work better
- The benefits of aligning BPM and MDM
- How to get started with MDM
- The state of the market for technology and software supporting MDM and also the future of Multidomain MDM.
I had numerous 1-1’s with end users that hit on a few key topics:
- The intersection between big data and information governance/MDM – See The Impact of Social and Other ‘Big Data’ on Master Data Management
- How to design and build an MDM strategy once an ERP/application strategy is in flight or baked (this is a tough one)
- How and where to get started with MDM
- How does MDM work alongside with BI
And my number one (i.e. most frequent) “category” of end user looked like this (I paraphrase):
- We have been adding numerous add-on’s (such as best of breed tools) to our (withering) enterprise information platform
- We are fast concluding that there is not much new benefit that can be sustained by simply adding the next new silver bullet
- We are concluding that there is more value locked up in our platform that we can release if we finally get to grips with the platform
I thought this was very illuminating and seems to highlight how important it is for us all to ensure a balance focused across our core, information management platforms and capabilities, and the adoption of new, hyped toys. It seems a large number of users are focused now on getting the platform “right” rather than simply adding on the next silver bullet.