Think Big, Start Small, Be Prepared — Master Data Management

MDM is a complex, costly undertaking. As a technology-enabled business initiative, software alone cannot meet the challenge. Data and analytics leaders should compare available options against strategic goals to make an informed decision on organizational readiness to adopt enterprise MDM.

Key Challenges

  • Enterprise MDM requires more than technology, yet organizations continue to approach MDM programs through a technology lens. Without due consideration for organizational impact and in the absence of significant business engagement — MDM programs will fail.
  • MDM is not an out-of-the-box pure technology solution. Organizations that look to enterprise MDM to resolve simpler technical challenges will incur unnecessary complexity and expense.
  • Organizations that avoid MDM due to cost and complexity may be missing an opportunity to tactically build up to a broader strategic MDM initiative and reap the benefits of enterprise MDM over time.

Gartner recommends data and analytics leaders exploring master data management should:

  • Assess organizational readiness. An MDM program demands more than just the implementation of technology — challenges extend to political and organizational silos. Be realistic about organizational readiness to adopt an enterprise MDM solution by assessing organizational culture, data-driven maturity and the right level of executive support required to facilitate cross-organizational collaboration. 
  • Establish whether MDM is the right response to the problem by assessing the viability of simpler solutions, including application data management (ADM) or customer data platforms (CDPs). Evaluate enabling technology choices and architectures (that is, data quality and information stewardship tools) by comparing their advantages and limitations against strategic goals and organizational impact to rightsize the response. 
  • Plan for an enterprise MDM strategy, irrespective. Shared and trusted master data is key to digital business success — period. Start to lay the foundation for a successful enterprisewide MDM program now by creating a future-state MDM vision and adopting a stepwise, programmatic approach. Start small and grow over time.

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