Okay so I've spent a while in the last 10+ years on various MDM (Master Data Management) programmes and its come down to a very simple reason why lots of MDM programmes fail..
People screw up MDM programmes by forgetting what MDM actually is.The first bit is that people look at the various different MDM packages and then really miss the point. Whether its Oracle UCM, Informatica, SAP MDM, IBM MDM, Initiate, TIBCO or anything else people look at it and go...
Right so this is what we do, what else can we fit into itNow this is a stupid way to behave but its what most people do. The use the MDM piece as the starting point. The reality is that MDM is only about two things
- The cross references of the core entity between all the systems in the IT estate
- The data quality and governance around the core entity to uplift its business value
And that really is it. The more attributes that are added beyond the those required for these two elements then the more expensive and more complex and less effective your MDM solution will be.
The other core part of this is that there really are only a very limited number of bits to MDM, its about three things
- Things - assets, accounts, parts, products, etc
- Parties - individuals, organisations, customers, suppliers, etc
- Locations - postal addresses, email address, web addresses, physical address, geo locations, etc
That really is it from an entity perspective then you've got the relationships for those entities (and remember a relationship is just the keys to do the match) which means
- Parties to Things
- Parties to Locations
- Things to Locations
- (Parties to Things) to Locations (e.g. a persons specific account address)
There really isn't much else to do it really is just
So all you need for MDM to succeed is the above entity model and a list of attributes required to uniquely identify a high quality version of that entity.
So why do people screw up?
Well first off is because they do something like picking a customer mastering package and then trying to master product information or product relationships within it (e.g. Asset to Location).
Secondly because they start extending the number of attributes rather than creating a cheap ODS.
Thirdly because they create their own versions of the relationships because of a belief that business rules that they have change the entity model rather than actually just being data quality rules against the standard entity model.
So the reality is that MDM is simple, its about the data quality and matching, which means its about the business governance of information.
And that is the real reason that most MDM programmes fail to deliver, because in order to get to the business governance of information and make MDM simple you have to do an awful lot of hard work in building up the trust between the business areas and IT that governance can be done in a way that benefits rather than impacts business.