Business-Oriented MDM: An Experimental Workshop Idea

May 3, 2011 by
Filed under: Master Data, Performance Measures 

I have been participating in a series of events sponsored by DataFlux on strategies for long-term success for enterprise master data management projects. We are about halfway through the series, and so far I have noticed two common threads among the questions posed by the attendees. The first thread involves justifying the value of MDM knowing that there is significant upfront effort that might not lead to the commonly-noted benefits. The second is about herding the business managers together to have them discuss (and hopefully agree) about the impacts of replicated records and inconsistent semantics.

The more I think about these types of questions, the more I wonder whether we actually need to justify master data management to the business user. No, I am not saying that we don’t need business sponsorship. Rather, do information practitioners need to detail the inner workings of the technology in order to justify accomplishing the ends desired by the business areas? Not really, and in fact one might be better off in not providing the details if that will detract from getting buy-in for the activity (and *not* for the “project”).

To that end, I am trying an experiment. I was asked to put together a workshop on master data management for a collection of business managers. My goal for the workshop is to raise awareness of the issues associated with ungoverned or low-quality replicated data, and to convey a need for assembling a unified view of commonly-shared data domains. At the end of the session, the attendees would reach consensus regarding the current state of data sharing. The experimental part of this is that I plan to facilitate the workshop without using the phrase “master data management.” By doing this I hope to lead the attendees to a conclusion that is not technology-centric but instead looks at the business expectations for the use of shared information.

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