Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Is your Business in the Driver’s Seat for Master Information Management?

The coordination and collaboration between the business and IT team are the keys to any MDM implementation.

In today's market where analytics is becoming increasingly important, Master Data Management (MDM) increases the validity of data used to model customer behavior, cross-sell and up-sell. If your organization has multiple customer touch points or multiple service lines, then MDM will help ensure that you are able to assemble a complete picture of the relationship with customers. In order to manage and analyze data well, is your business in the driver’s seat for Master Data Management?

Undoubtedly Business Needs should be the driver. The business obviously has an understanding of the data and current processes. IT has an understanding of how to implement - and perhaps an instinctive concept of control of data. However, the business can sometimes be too close to the problem, too parochial perhaps, and see MDM as a way of replicating what they currently have with more quality, rather than an opportunity for business transformation. Hence, cross-functional collaborations are crucial to MDM success. Each of MDMs (Product, Material, Customer, Vendor) is owned by the most appropriate business area, BUT to the others' points - it is a very close partnership with IT. The business should own their data since they are the ones using it, but IT plays an integral role in how the systems all work together and impact analysis of any changes. This is particularly true if you are adding new enterprise apps or acquiring new businesses.

IT is driving solution: Business is driving the requirements to ensure the right data and right process in place. IT is driving the solution that enables and enforces business governance requirements and processes. Otherwise, no matter what solution IT is putting in place, the master data quality is still doomed to the overall project failure. The only time the business has assumed ownership of MDM is when the sponsorship for MDM comes from very senior management, and they understand the importance of business ownership. Otherwise, the typical corporate culture and dynamics force MDM to become an IT initiative dooming the program to failure.

Coordination between business and IT: The coordination and collaboration between the business and IT team are the keys to any MDM implementation. No group can do MDM in isolation. The business experiences the problems on a daily basis and needs the help of IT to solve those problems. IT needs to understand the business issues so they implement the business rules accurately. But when companies try to approach it as an IT problem, IT doesn't have the clout to drive the business case and sustain the funding for the MDM program. The business should be the driver for Master Data Management and other IT initiatives, so there needs to be a collaborative partnership between the business and IT teams to effectively implement any technical solution. A project such as Master Data Management requires a person who understands data and can liaison between the business and technical team members to drive out the business requirements and help the technical team develop the best solution to meet those needs.

There are two words: Ownership and collaboration. Because Master Data are transversal all along with the business processes, the business faces the difficulty of transversality. How to efficiently communicate on the need, availability or update of Master Data that is used by many users, but managed by one single owner, becomes a key question. In real life, owners don't always know who uses the data, why, and which impact it causes to change it ; and users don't always know who owns the data, what constraints pilot the activity of the owner, and how their own constraints comply - or not - to the owner's ones. This is what makes shared KPI and notification process important in MDM implementation. The alignment of the business part of the business and the IT part of the business within master data management is for sure hard to crack without becoming an old chestnut.

Linking MDM to the multiple Business Domains within the enterprise and their business partners for product, location, promotion, and even chart of accounts will create a richer value return from the enterprise transaction data. The strong MDM can improve analytics project success rate, it means to discover more opportunities for future business growth and increasing customer satisfaction.


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