Implementing a Master Data Management solution

Dinesh Gulati
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Dinesh Gulati
In this era of social media and internet, there is a plethora of data to be stored and processed. The data can be from internal resources, customer data on the web/mobile, and other external resources. In larger organizations, there would be many services or products, and there would be many applications holding various data about customers, suppliers, employees, projects, finance, and accounting. Keeping all this data accurate, synchronized and consistent is becoming a challenge as companies become more reliant on this data.

Consider an example of a bank, which offers loans and checking/savings accounts. The bank may have different system for loans and different systems for consumer banking. If a single customer has both products from the bank, and this customer relocates to a new home, will the new address automatically be reflected in both systems? In addition to this complexity, large enterprises would have varying data in applications coming from other subsidiaries and results of mergers and acquisitions. It is to solve similar issues that organizations are turning to implementing Mater Data Management (MDM) solutions.

There are many commercial MDM products out in the market for the various verticals. The cost can be enormous for MDM systems implementations. However, if implemented properly, an established MDM system can reduce cost, automate processes and provide analytical insights. Regardless of commercial MDM products chosen, organizations must plan adequately. Several issues to consider when planning MDM implementation include:

- Identify the business requirements - MDM is built by collaboration of various departments. The requirements that can be addressed by MDM, must be collated and prioritized. Lack of clear business objectives can result in frequent changes and increased cost of implementation. Also, organizations must assure that MDM implementation is not solely an IT driven initiative. And key business executives must be engaged in this initiative.

- Understand the Business Process Model - The business process flow determines how the information flows through the systems for the various business activities in the organization. It is important not to confuse the business process with the business application. At the end of the day, all new IT applications must improve the processes, without having end users need to adapt their process to the new applications. There will be situations requiring compromises, but proper analysis must be done, and stakeholders need to be educated.

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