I was on an inquiry today with an end-user. It went like this:
- “We have an ERP system –its pretty much stable and OK – but the data within it is not really at the level of quality and consistency we need. We thought we needed to adopt MDM.
- “We have new and emerging requests to clean and govern that data, or some of it – along with other data – used and likely to be used by other applications and even our customers
- “We have a Systems integrator advising is “not to worry about MDM” per se, and instead to “do a complete new ERP replacement since newer ERP systems are better at doing MDM”
Really? Um no, that’s not true. That is mixing metaphors. Why use a hammer on a screw?
ERP systems were NEVER, and are NOT NOW, designed to “do MDM”. They might today do a better job of managing their own (application specific) data – but that is NOT the same as MDM. MDM came about due to the need to govern information (for re-use) across multiple applications or processes, whatever they are called. There is a certain overlap or similarity, but the two efforts are quite different. The ERP focus is ERP – so managing data in the ERP system. And MDM focus is not ERP focused – it spans ERP and any other application that published to or consumes from, ERP and any other application. Note that MDM is not “wall to wall” either – whereas ERP was once part of that sales pitch!
I get the feeling the System Integrator was selling this end-user “the old ERP road map of the 1980’s”. This old model would go like this:
- Sells ERP for a large amount of money
- Get to “user acceptance” as fast as possible *
- Get payment and get out of there ASAP
- Go past “go” and get paid again: Get called back, typically 9 months later, for another gig to “help clean up the data and ‘do’ that information governance thing”.
* Software and consulting vendors have little interest in selling you the ideal, up to date, road map for ERP that INCLUDES the needed information governance to include “before ERP, across ERP, and after ERP” since they are trying to sell THAT at a higher price than the original ERP footprint (w/o information governance). They would much rather you come back for more – and keep feeding their bank account. In a fair world, ERP would be CHEAPER, and part of the difference in cost would cover the MDM and information governance part. But that, my friends, is all in the art of the negotiation.
Here’s the kicker: though I refer to ERP, any 3 letter-named application suite counts just as well here – CRM, SRM/Procurement, SCM and so on. Even “application developed” and industry-specific application often works as well.
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