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A Week is a Long Time in Research

by Andrew White  |  September 4, 2009  |  Comments Off on A Week is a Long Time in Research

Well that was a fun week.  I just had a week without travel (always a pleasure) where I spend most of the time on the telephone with users, or doing research.  And this week was important because we are wrapping up our preparations for our up coming Gartner MDM Summit, 2009, in Los Angeles, October 5-7th.

Preparations this week focused on getting our last presentations into our editing machine such that they can be formatted, made consistent, and cleaned up for public consumption.  Once the presentations are completed we then begin the slow process if distilling from the key messages, and creating a body of work that is to be published over the next couple of quarters.  Our Summits force us to put on paper all the good, new ideas and content that we have explored with users recently that has not hitherto been published.  These Summits, though a lot of work, are a great way to keep forcing our brains to dump content onto paper, thus freeing up more space for the next set of client interactions.

I had some interesting inquiries this week.  Here is a smattering of the more notable:

On Monday I had a real interesting call with a large industrial end user client that wanted to explore options for – wait for it – “cloud based MDM”!  Well, I knew I was in for an exciting conversation already since that is an odd topic.  I have blogged on this before(SaaS moves the process boundary, does not necessarily change the process, and can make integration of master data more complex); there are not real cloud based MDM offerings today, and really only a very small handful of end users have asked about this – more for interest than anything else.  Only one serious vendor has talked to me about this opportunity – and a credible vendor at that.  But, as I have said before, this is a complex topic.  On the one hand it makes sense that aspects, even all of MDM, should/could go outside the firewall, but the costs to move to that state increase for each and every object.  Those costs relate to integration, synchronization, management and so on.  Application infrastructure gets more complex as a result – until and if enough master data exists outside the firewall at which point the costs, and complexity, fall.  But there must be a tipping point at which this takes place.  Question is – which industry, which business processes, and which master data, are close to that tipping point?  

On Tuesday I had a real good call with an energy user.  This was a large organization with a strong IT shop; I spoke with several senior architecture folks were trying to invigorate their overall information management (IM) strategy.  They knew that MDM played a role in overall IM but they were not totally clear what the relationship was; and they also had an issue with “getting started” – how could they get interest from the business to help them with their IM strategy?  We explored MDM and its connections to IM, as well as to Business Intelligence and Business Applications, and very quickly the client realize that MDM is a great place to start their IM invigoration efforts!  I suspect that I will be talking with them a few times in the next few months to help guide them through their MDM launch.

On Wednesday I presented on MDM vendors to our MDM Special Interest Group (SIG) that is part of our EXP program’s Best Practice Council.  I highlighted the lenses through which we look at the MDM landscape (data domain, use cases, industries) and then talked about how the vendors align both in terms of capability, versus direction.  Many vendors are “good” at one thing/area, and have plans to be “good” at many others.

On Thursday I had a call with an end user firm that I know very well.  In a previous life I worked for an organization that had a business relationship with this client, so I knew something about their business.  They are in consumer goods/fine chemical industry segment, and they are struggling with one aspect of MDM – that being the link between MDM and product design/development, clinical trials, and operations/manufacturing.  The client has a lot of experience with operational MDM for traditional objects, such as customer and product, but this aspect of MDM was more focused on multi-enterprise considerations of sharing complex and confidential information that drive product design, development and acceptance.  

On Friday I joined one of our more interesting virtual research communities (B2B) that span several other formal communities, to explore how business to business is evolving.  My interests, including Supply Chain Management (SCM), concerned both the drivers for why business processes are moving outside the firewall, and with Master Data Management (MDM), what are the barriers and inhibitors to that movement. By exploring one specific phenomenon, related to e-Invoicing, we concluded that we need to identify scenarios by which users can evaluate a longer term B2B strategy.  You might not see the connection – between e-Invoicing and long term B2B strategy – but it is there.  More on this later…

So it was a great week – brimming with client interaction, and research production.  Time for a rest, and a cold one.  Have a good weekend.



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Category: business-to-business-b2b  cloud-computing  mdm  mdm-of-product-data-mdm  mdm-summit  multidomain-mdm  multienterprise  operational-mdm  procurement-mdm  product-lifecycle-management-plm  regulationcompliance  saas  scm  

Tags: b2b  cloud-computing  mdm  mdm-of-product-data  plm  saas  

Andrew White
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Andrew White is a Distinguished Analyst and VP. His roles include Chief of Research and Content Lead for Data and Analytics. His main research focus is data and analytics strategy, platforms, and governance. Read Full Bio

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