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Before Implementing ERP Systems, Implement Application Data Management!

by Andrew White  |  October 13, 2017  |  Comments Off on Before Implementing ERP Systems, Implement Application Data Management!

I saw this headline in today’s Techtarget email: Before implementing ERP systems, identify their many components.  I simply had to read it.  It’s a good article.  It nicely captures a traditional view of what comprises an “ERP system” – not that such a “system” really exists as one thing anymore.  But that is not why I am here blogging.  I am here because the article is way out of date, by about 20 years, in that it completely misses the challenge that business data has on the success of the ERP implementation.  In other words, the role of data on business process integrity.  The phrase, “data quality” is not mentioned once in the article.

The way it goes is like this: You pay the bill, you implement the ERP system, and the consultant and software vendors go home (paid) happy, as you do too.  The “user acceptance” processes were a success.  Then 7-9 months later we get “the” call.  “Hello.  Can you help us please?  We just figured out our challenge – we have lost control of our data!”

The point is that data will slowly eat away at your business process integrity.  It rarely harms you fatally but there are a few stories like that.  For most organizations it is death by a thousand data (quality) issues.  We all thought Master Data Management (not the lazy way in which MDM and master data is defined here) was the answer to our woes.  That was a good start but MDM was not focused or designed to help with data quality in an ERP system.

MDM was meant to focus on that small amount of data that is shared across all the major business processes and apps – not within one or one suite.  So we more recently came up with Application Data Management (ADM) which looks and smalls a lot like MDM, but is focused on the data used within one app or suite.  Thus the focus is on a known data model, a known set of business processes.  MDM is focused on an unknown and changing set of data models and business process models.

But this is kind of old news-new news.  We need to think about “governing the least amount of data with the least amount of effort for the greatest return”.  So even MDM and ADM need to be “right sized” for your organization.  Now that’s a good idea for post-modern ERP.


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Category: application-data  application-data-management  erp  master-data  master-data-management  mdm  postmodern-erp  

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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