Analytical vs. Operational MDM In Decentralized Organizations

In my last blog, I discussed how a leading life sciences firm was starting to roll out an enterprise data management (EDM) strategy, including a strong MDM foundation.  They were creating the structure and processes to manage a small number of master data elements at a global corporate level, despite a strong culture of autonomously operating business units.

Because of the independent nature of the business units, it was clear that the operational applications, including ERP, were going to continue to be managed at a business unit and regional level.  And the business units were in various stages of implementing their own MDM initiatives to suit their own purposes.

So what was the goal of enforcing enterprise level master data for a few dozen key data elements? To support enterprise business intelligence.  In other words, they weren’t going to try to centralize business operations.  That would never work in a company of their size and complexity.  The goal of enterprise data management and MDM was to maintain global visibility into key business metrics like sales by customer and inventory by product.  It was really analytical MDM, rather than operational MDM.

So now I wonder—if your company is large and complex, with several different operating business units that each runs things their own way, is any corporate-level MDM initiative going to be analytical by default?  Is it possible to have enterprise-wide operational MDM in decentralized organizations?  Would love to hear your thoughts.

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