Launching A Master Data Management Program: The Keys to Success

By Mike Sargo

Chief Data and Analytics Officer and Co-Founder of Data Ideology  

Today, many organizations have numerous applications and systems in which data, spanning multiple departments, quickly becomes fragmented, duplicated, and even outdated.

Data fragmentation makes answering basic questions that are critical to your organization's success a challenge. Questions like, who are your most profitable customers? What products or services are they buying? And, how can this help increase margins and lower costs?

Many departments resort to building their own solution, which further contributed to the problem as these data silos start to become prevalent in an organization. Organizations need fast, accurate data that is managed consistently with updated business rules and definitions so that the entire enterprise can utilize standard information.

A successfully implemented Master data management (MDM) program can solve these obstacles. Master data management is about solving business challenges and improving data quality by successfully integrating data and information with business processes.

One of the most repeated mistakes that many companies make is to treat their MDM challenges as a technical issue. Many organizations and their business partners incorrectly seek a technology solution or process to solve all their MDM challenges. While this approach helps an organization quickly start its MDM project, it leaves the most critical challenges unaddressed and dramatically reduces the MDM program's overall qualities and benefits.

Due to many organizations concentrating on technology to solve their MDM problems, managing the organizational aspects becomes one of the most overlooked areas. Regardless of any technical triumphs, failure to address the organizational dynamics and business processes leave an organization struggling with the same problems.

To be successful with its Master Data Management initiatives, you must also manage the organizational dynamics of the business to implement a successful MDM program. Effective Master Data Management programs require a combination of people, processes, data, and technology to deliver value to the company.

The ability to insitute a technical solution incorporated with business processes and a robust data governance program is the right way to start an MDM program. A business-driven approach can ensure the MDM program's success over time and enable a path for further business growth.

Here are some keys to success:

Business Involvement and Management

As outlined, MDM is all about solving business challenges and should be actively driven by the business, which improves the overall buy-in and success of the MDM program. MDM should include a representative group of stakeholders from throughout the business and IT.

Executive Sponsorship and Insight

Most MDM projects are part of enterprise-level data management initiatives that are driven by critical business requirements.

Create a Business Case for Master Data Management

It is much easier to get executive buy-in and support of your Master Data Management program if the initiatives align with organizational goals. Linking MDM initiatives help get the appropriate sponsorship and funding from senior management through a strong business case.

An Iterative and Agile Approach for Businesses

Organizations should develop a high-level plan for an enterprise-wide MDM program; however, an iterative and agile approach should be taken to prove the concept, deliver results, and build upon previous successes.

In summary, Master Data Management is not a technology problem but more of a business challenge as an organization will be required to change business processes to manage and maintain. MDM plays a critical role in building the foundations to streamline and support the data lifecycle solutions. Organizations should carefully plan and consider their Master Data Management strategy and support its more extensive needs.

At Data Ideology, Master Data Management is integrated as part of our approach. Our IT and business consultants have experience working with executives and companies to enable MDM tools and the right solutions and transform their Master Data Management processes. Contact us today to learn more.

Written by Mike Sargo
Mike Sargo is Chief Data and Analytics Officer and Co-Founder of Data Ideology with over 18 years of experience leading, architecting, implementing, and delivering enterprise analytics, business intelligence, and enterprise data management solutions.


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