Friday, April 28, 2006

Are you an MDM sinner?

There is a lot of common sense in the article about the "seven deadly sins" of MDM according to Knightsbridge. In particular:

"Believing that complete enterprise consensus is possible. Master data will exist in a constant state of evolution. It must be accepted that there will never be a point in time at which all business units are in agreement with and have completely implemented master data for all key subject areas."

This may seem obvious but it is a critical point which businesses time and again fail to grasp, waiting for some mega central project to deliver this nirvana, which will never happen. Master data will NEVER be standardized across an entire corporation. You can improve the degree to which different versions are around, but the actual goal of harmonized master data is always an over-the-horizon goal. For a start, business change too rapidly to expect anything else. Even if by magic you could unify all your master data tomorrow, within a short time there would be a major change e.g. an acquisition of another company, which will upset that pretty picture; the new company's master data will clearly not be the same as yours, and the operational systems at least cannot just be switched over without a protracted systems integration project. Hence you must always have to deal with the situation where master data is in multiple places. What you need to do is to be aware of that and to put in place processes and workflow that manage the situation, rather than assuming it will one day go away.

Knightsbridge are a very experienced firm that have more experience of MDM than most and Faisal Shah is a smart guy: their whitepaper is well worth reading.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Ian Bennett said...

Visibility is the key. MDM perfection is a pipe dream, but the more visibiilty we can give to inconsistencies and inaccuracies, the better decision makers can assess the risks associated with decisions made on that data. It may also prompt the decision to actually spend the money to improve data.

Of course, this flies in the face of the currently common practice of hiding such inaccuracies from management and pretending data issues dont exist.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Andy Hayler said...

I absolutely agree Ian. It is critical that data problems are shown to the business; they cannot be swept under the carpet by IT. Such data issues cost companies a fortune, and in many cases they are unaware of them.

6:52 AM  

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