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When and When Not to Offshore Master Data Management? Wrong question!

by Andrew White  |  April 16, 2014  |  3 Comments

I had a great call with an end user yesterday: they wanted to talk about how to be successful with an offshore/shared service for MDM.  Apparently the client has experienced challenges with their MDM program in an offshore environment.

The key point for me here was that shared services and offshoring had nothing to do with this call.  In fact the question was the wrong one!  You can’t offshore “MDM”.  You cant “do” MDM in a shared service.  MDM is not a single “thing”. 

The wrong question keeps popping up since some vendors and users equate MDM with a technology, such as a data hub where master data or a single version of the truth resides.  MDM is NOT a technology or a hub.  It is a program, a discrete effort, that ends up in a change in the way the business operates – and specifically – creates and users its own (master) data.  The RESULT might be a new data hub – but it might not! 

So the question SHOULD be – what parts of the technology infrastructure can be moved into a shared service, or off shored, or even outsourced.  But that is the low cost work – the easily automated work of “data maintenance”.  That is not even the main challenge with MDM programs.  The reason why so many shared service and/or off-shored MDM efforts struggle is because the governance and stewardship elements of the programs are not established in the business operations!  If these more complex, more value-add efforts are adopted, then all manner of simpler processes oriented around technology can be automated and even outsourced.  But pleas, stop trying to outsource the expensive brain power that comes from the business, for the business, by the business.  That is where the value of MDM is derived – not the physical data hub you want to save money on by outsourcing it.


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Category: master-data-management  mdm  outsourcing  

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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