Category Archives: Master Data Management

Business Beware! Corporate IT Is “Fixing” YOUR Data

It is troublesome to me to repeatedly get into conversations with IT managers who want to fix data “for the sake of fixing it”.  While this is presumably increasingly rare, due to my department’s role, we probably see a higher occurrence than the normal software vendor employee.  Given that, please excuse the inflammatory title of this post.

Nevertheless, once the deal is done, we find increasingly fewer of these instances, yet still enough, as the average implementation consultant or developer cares about this aspect even less.  A few months ago a petrochemical firm’s G&G IT team lead told me that he does not believe that data quality improvements can or should be measured.  He also said, “if we need another application, we buy it.  End of story.”  Good for software vendors, I thought, but in most organizations $1M here or there do not lay around leisurely plus decision makers want to see the – dare I say it – ROI.

This is not what a business - IT relationship should feel like

This is not what a business – IT relationship should feel like

However, IT and business leaders should take note that a misalignment due to lack OR disregard of communication is a critical success factor.  If the business does not get what it needs and wants AND it differs what Corporate IT is envisioning and working on – and this is what I am talking about here – it makes any IT investment a risky proposition.

Let me illustrate this with 4 recent examples I ran into:

1. Potential for flawed prioritization

A retail customer’s IT department apparently knew that fixing and enriching a customer loyalty record across the enterprise is a good and financially rewarding idea.  They only wanted to understand what the less-risky functional implementation choices where. They indicated that if they wanted to learn what the factual financial impact of “fixing” certain records or attributes, they would just have to look into their enterprise data warehouse.  This is where the logic falls apart as the warehouse would be just as unreliable as the “compromised” applications (POS, mktg, ERP) feeding it.

Even if they massaged the data before it hit the next EDW load, there is nothing inherently real-time about this as all OLTP are running processes of incorrect (no bidirectional linkage) and stale data (since the last load).

I would question if the business is now completely aligned with what IT is continuously correcting. After all, IT may go for the “easy or obvious” fixes via a weekly or monthly recurring data scrub exercise without truly knowing, which the “biggest bang for the buck” is or what the other affected business use cases are, they may not even be aware of yet.  Imagine the productivity impact of all the roundtripping and delay in reporting this creates.  This example also reminds me of a telco client, I encountered during my tenure at another tech firm, which fed their customer master from their EDW and now just found out that this pattern is doomed to fail due to data staleness and performance.

2. Fix IT issues and business benefits will trickle down

Client number two is a large North American construction Company.  An architect built a business case for fixing a variety of data buckets in the organization (CRM, Brand Management, Partner Onboarding, Mobility Services, Quotation & Requisitions, BI & EPM).

Grand vision documents existed and linked to the case, which stated how data would get better (like a sick patient) but there was no mention of hard facts of how each of the use cases would deliver on this.  After I gave him some major counseling what to look out and how to flesh it out – radio silence. Someone got scared of the math, I guess.

3. Now that we bought it, where do we start

The third culprit was a large petrochemical firm, which apparently sat on some excess funds and thought (rightfully so) it was a good idea to fix their well attributes. More power to them.  However, the IT team is now in a dreadful position having to justify to their boss and ultimately the E&P division head why they prioritized this effort so highly and spent the money.  Well, they had their heart in the right place but are a tad late.   Still, I consider this better late than never.

4. A senior moment

The last example comes from a South American communications provider. They seemingly did everything right given the results they achieved to date.  This gets to show that misalignment of IT and business does not necessarily wreak havoc – at least initially.

However, they are now in phase 3 of their roll out and reality caught up with them.  A senior moment or lapse in judgment maybe? Whatever it was; once they fixed their CRM, network and billing application data, they had to start talking to the business and financial analysts as complaints and questions started to trickle in. Once again, better late than never.

So what is the take-away from these stories. Why wait until phase 3, why have to be forced to cram some justification after the purchase?  You pick, which one works best for you to fix this age-old issue.  But please heed Sohaib’s words of wisdom recently broadcast on CNN Money “IT is a mature sector post bubble…..now it needs to deliver the goods”.  And here is an action item for you – check out the new way for the business user to prepare their own data (30 minutes into the video!).  Agreed?

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Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Business/IT Collaboration, CIO, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customer Services, Data Aggregation, Data Governance, Data Integration, Data Quality, Data Warehousing, Enterprise Data Management, Master Data Management | Leave a comment

Data-Powered Insights Fueled by the “Internet of Master Data”

Master data management (MDM) has come a long way in the past decade or so.  When I was supporting my company’s customer master implementation back in 2001, my management was thrilled to simply have a customer master that brought a bit of order to the chaos sharing customer data between our CRM and ERP applications and downstream into our marketing data warehouse.

karel

Fast forward to 2014 and mastering customer data alone is often table stakes for leadership trying to transform their business from a product- or account-centric to a customer-centric organizations.

Here at Informatica, we’ve seen over 75% of our MDM customers in the past year purchase for multidomain use cases – meaning the scope of their initiative often spans mastering data such as Customers, Suppliers and Products as part of a coordinated effort.  These organizations have built compelling business cases to demonstrate that mastering multiple domains – and the relationships among those domains – is necessary.  Only a true 360 degree view of relationships among any data can provide the necessary insights to deliver on the desired operational efficiencies, optimized customer experiences, and growth objectives for their companies.

The progress we’ve all made in multidomain MDM is impressive, but it’s just scratching the surface of what’s possible.  What happens when MDM meets Cloud, Social, the Internet of Things and other master data enrichment sources such as D&B and Acxiom?  Dennis Moore, Informatica’s GM and SVP for MDM, envisions that a new “Internet of Master Data” will be formed that can include a massive new set of sensor and social data which it leverages to infer and recommend a new class of relationship insights.   For example, in addition to sentiment and relationships from social networks, location data from mobile devices and sensors can now inform customer – and product – behaviors that span beyond direct transactions and interactions within your traditional business applications.

Those of you who have invested in building a foundation of clean, consistent and connected data have a huge advantage as the value of MDM grows exponentially with the exponential growth of data. You are well-positioned to take advantage of the deeper insights and potential innovations now possible by adding Cloud, Social, and Machine data to optimizing analytics and operations.

This week at Informatica World 2014 in Las Vegas, we kicked off with our fantastic MDM Day pre-conference event with over 500 attendees.  During the event, we shared some early insights into our MDM 10 release planned for later this year which integrates the Informatica Vibe engine and incorporates other elements of the just unveiled Informatica Intelligent Data Platform vision to make it easier for customers to gain a 360 degree view of their most critical business entities, including customers, suppliers, products and assets.

We continue to be inspired by our awesome MDM customers and partners, and we’re excited to see what they can do to harness the power of the Internet of Master Data!

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MDM Day Advice: Connect MDM to a Tangible Business Outcome or You Will Fail

“Start your master data management (MDM) journey knowing how it will deliver a tangible business outcome. Will it help your business generate revenue or cut costs? Focus on the business value you plan to deliver with MDM and revisit it often,” advises Michael Delgado, Information  Management Director at Citrix during his presentation at MDM Day, the InformaticaWorld 2014 pre-conference program. MDM Day focused on driving value from business-critical information and attracted 500 people.

A record 500 people attended MDM Day in Las Vegas

A record 500 people attended MDM Day in Las Vegas

In Ravi Shankar’s recent MDM Day preview blog, Part 2: All MDM, All Day at Pre-Conference Day at InformaticaWorld, he highlights the amazing line up of master data management (MDM) and product information management (PIM) customers speakers, Informatica experts as well as our talented partner sponsors.

Here are my MDM Day fun facts and key takeaways:

  • Did you know that every 2 seconds an aircraft with GE engine technology is taking off somewhere in the world?

    Ginny Walker, Chief Enterprise Architect at GE Aviation

    Ginny Walker, Chief Enterprise Architect at GE Aviation

    GE Aviation’s Chief Enterprise Architect, Ginny Walker, presented “Operationalizing Critical Business Processes: GE Aviation’s MDM Story.” GE Aviation is a $22 billion company and a leading provider of jet engines, systems and services.  Ginny shared the company’s multi-year journey to improve installed-base asset data management. She explained how the combination of data, analytics, and connectivity results in productivity improvements such as reducing up to 2% of the annual fuel bill and reducing delays. The keys to GE Aviation’s analytical MDM success were: 1) tying MDM to business metrics, 2) starting with a narrow scope, and 3) data stewards. Ginny believes that MDM is an enabler for the Industrial Internet and Big Data because it empowers companies to get insights from multiple sources of data.

  •  Did you know that EMC has made a $17 billion investment in acquisitions and is integrating more than 70 technology companies?
    Barbara Latulippe, EMC

    Barbara Latulippe, Senior Director, Enterprise Information Management at EMC

    EMC’s Barbara Latulippe, aka “The Data Diva,” is the Senior Director of Enterprise Information Management (EIM). EMC is a $21.7 billion company that has grown through acquisition and has 60,000 employees worldwide. In her presentation, “Formula for Success: EMC MDM Best Practices,” Barbara warns that if you don’t have a data governance program in place, you’re going to have a hard time getting an MDM initiative off the ground. She stressed the importance of building a data governance council and involving the business as early as possible to agree on key definitions such as “customer.” Barbara and her team focused on the financial impact of higher quality data to build a business case for operational MDM. She asked her business counterparts, “Imagine if you could onboard a customer in 3 minutes instead of 15 minutes?”

  • Did you know that Citrix is enabling the mobile workforce by uniting apps, data and services on any device over any network and cloud?

    Michael Delgado, Citrix

    Michael Delgado, Information Management Director at Citrix

    Citrix’s Information Management Director, Michael Delgado, presented “Citrix MDM Case Study: From Partner 360 to Customer 360.” Citrix is a $2.9 billion Cloud software company that embarked on a multi-domain MDM and data governance journey for channel partner, hierarchy and customer data. Because 90% of the company’s product bookings are fulfilled by channel partners, Citrix started their MDM journey to better understand their total channel partner relationship to make it easier to do business with Citrix and boost revenue. Once they were successful with partner data, they turned to customer data. They wanted to boost customer experience by understanding the total customer relationship across products lines and regions. Armed with this information, Citrix employees can engage customers in one product renewal process for all products. MDM also helps Citrix’s sales team with white space analysis to identify opportunities to sell more user licenses in existing customer accounts.

  •  Did you know Quintiles helped develop or commercialize all of the top 5 best-selling drugs on the market?

    John Poonnen, Quintiles

    John Poonnen, Director Infosario Data Factory at Quintiles

    Quintiles’ Director of the Infosario Data Factory, John Poonnen, presented “Using Multi-domain MDM to Gain Information Insights:How Quintiles Efficiently Manages Complex Clinical Trials.” Quintiles is the world’s largest provider of biopharmaceutical development and commercial outsourcing services with more than 27,000 employees. John explained how the company leverages a tailored, multi-domain MDM platform to gain a holistic view of business-critical entities such as investigators, research facilities, clinical studies, study sites and subjects to cut costs, improve quality, improve productivity and to meet regulatory and patient needs. “Although information needs to flow throughout the process – it tends to get stuck in different silos and must be manually manipulated to get meaningful insights,” said John. He believes master data is foundational — combining it with other data, capabilities and expertise makes it transformational.

While I couldn’t attend the PIM customer presentations below, I heard they were excellent. I look forward to watching the videos:

  • Crestline/ Geiger: Dale Denham, CIO presented, “How Product Information in eCommerce improved Geiger’s Ability to Promote and Sell Promotional Products.”
  • Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply: Director of Marketing, Kitch Walker presented, “Driving Omnichannel Customer Engagement – PIM Best Practices.”

I also had the opportunity MDM Day Sponsorsto speak with some of our knowledgeable and experienced MDM Day partner sponsors. Go to Twitter and search for #MDM and #DataQuality to see their advice on what it takes to successfully kick-off and implement an MDM program.

There are more thought-provoking MDM and PIM customer presentations taking place this week at InformaticaWorld 2014. To join or follow the conversation, use #INFA14 #MDM or #INFA14 #PIM.

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Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Business/IT Collaboration, CIO, CMO, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customers, Data Governance, Data Integration, Data Quality, Enterprise Data Management, Informatica World 2014, Master Data Management, Partners, PiM, Product Information Management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Comparative Costs and Uses for Data Integration Platforms – A Study from Bloor Research

Data Integration PlatformsFor years, companies have wrestled with the promise of data integration platforms. Along the way, businesses have asked many questions, including:

  • Does Data Integration technology truly provide a clear path toward unified data?
  • Can businesses truly harness the potential of their information?
  • Can companies take powerful action as a result?

Recently, Bloor Research set out to evaluate how things were actually playing out on the ground. In particular, they wanted to determine which data integration projects were actually taking place, at what scale, and with what results. The study, “Comparative Costs and Uses for Data Integration Platforms,” was authored by Philip Howard, research director at Bloor. The study examined data integration tool suitability across a range of scenarios, including:

  1. Data migration and consolidation projects
  2. Master data management (MDM) and associated solutions
  3. Application-to-application integration
  4. Data warehousing and business intelligence implementations
  5. Synching data with SaaS applications
  6. B2B data exchange

To draw conclusions, Bloor examined 292 responses from a range of companies. The responders used a variety of data integration approaches, from commercial data integration tools to “hand-coding.”

Informatica is pleased to be able to offer you a copy of this research for your review. The research covers areas like:

  • Suitability
  • Productivity
  • Reusability
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

We welcome you to download a copy of “Comparative Costs and Uses for Data Integration Platforms” today. We hope these findings offer you insights as you implement and evaluate your data integration projects and options.

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Accenture Analytics at Informatica World 2014

Accenture Analytics at Informatica World

Accenture Analytics at Informatica World

Managing and integrating data is a critical function of the digital enterprise. Since 1999, Accenture and Informatica have collaborated to help organizations (like yours) transform their data-related issues into powerful business outcomes.

In fact, the Accenture and Informatica alliance has delivered more than 1,000 projects globally, across all major industries.

This year, Accenture will again be a Platinum sponsor of Informatica World. Accenture is also excited to be a sponsor of MDM Pre-conference Day. By attending their sessions below, you’ll learn new ways to integrate and harness actionable business insights through analytics.

  1. MDM Day: Driving Value from Business-Critical Information – Learn to drive value from business-critical info with Chuck Nardi, Managing Director, Accenture Digital – Data and Analytics
  2. MDM Day: Ask-the-Experts – Discuss MDM and PIM Integration with Hersh Shah and Sourabh Mukherjee.
  3. PaW153: From Digitally Disrupted to Digital Disruptor: Accenture’s Technology Vision 2014 – Chuck Nardi shows how, together, Accenture and Informatica are helping the new digital disruptors to get out in front of the dramatic changes digital technology and analytics are enabling.
  4. ARCH124: Implementation with a Software as a Service (SaaS) Approach – Learn how Accenture and Informatica are helping clients gain competitive advantage from their data using a SaaS approach with Steve Li

Accenture and Informatica can help you harness data and new technologies to move along your Analytics Journey to ROI. Accenture’s Informatica World sessions will show how to gain insights from data to help improve business performance and increase return from data and analytics investments.

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Posted in Informatica World 2014, Master Data Management, Partners | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Funny Side of Poor Master Data Management

In almost all cases, poor quality master data is not a laughing matter.  It can directly lead to losing out on millions either through excess costs or lost opportunity.  However, there are occasions where poor data has a lighter side.  One such case happened in the mid ‘90s whilst I was implementing ERP for a living.

On the first phase of a major project, I was on the master data team – in particular developing processes that enabled master data creation and maintenance.  Since both MDM and workflow tools were in their infancy, we conjured up a manual processes supported by green screen based scripts and email.  Not great, but workable.  However, before go-live, system test was proving painful, with every other team wanting lots of material numbers for testing.  Since manual entry excited no-one, so we created a product master file, populated by cut-and-paste, which the IT guys happily automated for us to create hundreds of material masters.

Data Chart

Testing was a success, but then something went wrong.  Actually two things went wrong – the first being the script was designed to load test data and had no data quality reviews, but somehow it was used to load production data.  This brought on the second  problem which our master data team found highly amusing.

A couple of days after go-live, I got a call from ‘Phil’ – the shift supervisor in shipping.

After the usual pleasantries, it was clear that something was really bothering Phil, and he had been grappling with a problem for 45min or so.  It came down to this:

“No matter how hard we try, we cannot fit 32 desktops on a pallet, even if we shrink wrap it”

I was a bit confused – pallets were sized for 32 laptops, or 16 desktops.  Why would Phil be trying to put 32 desktops on a single pallet?  Some brief queries showed there was an error in the master data.  Since system test did not actually involve any physical actions in the real world, nobody noticed that our master data was inaccurate, and all products were defined as 32 per pallet.  This was the script used to load data into the new ERP.

I suggested Phil continue as usual (16 per pallet), regardless of what the system said in terms of items per pallet, and I would raise a support request to get the data fixed.

I still try to imagine how many warehouse employees it takes to hold 32 desktops on a pallet designed for 16, whilst another armed with a portable shrink-wrapper desperately tries to wrap desktops, but not hands or whole people onto the pallet.  I imagine all would be cursing ‘the new system’ loudly during the process.

There are a few important lessons out of this, some of which are:

  • Without the correct tools and care, your data will quickly be infested with inaccuracies
  • New systems are not immune to poor data quality (and may be at greater risk)
  • Appointed data custodians should care about the data and have a stake in it’s accuracy

And perhaps most interestingly:

People will believe the system, even if their instinct tells them otherwise.

Which is probably one of the best reasons to ensure your data is correct.  This was a clear demonstration of how poor data quality can directly & negatively affect daily business processes.

A real pity that this incident predated smart phones as well as Master Data Management and workflow tools.  If it happened today, I may have had a great photo to remind me of the importance of accurate master data.

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Part 2: All MDM, All Day at Pre-Conference Day at Informatica World (Watch Preview Videos)!

My post today will take you through a more detailed look at the free pre-conference MDM Day on May 12th at Informatica World 2014 (May 13-15). These day-long events are so popular that we’ve even had to turn away attendees in past years. Prospective customers, clients and partners tend to find these presentations and panels extremely valuable.

To get an idea of the type of presentations you will see, view these videos from our last sold-out MDM Day in New York. The presentations, Q&A sessions, and breakout discussions provide rich insight into real-world experience with MDM and Informatica solutions.

MDM Day Quote

The Las Vegas MDM Day will include presentations by customers on their MDM experience, best practices presentations, demonstrations of our latest release functionality, an overview of our planned roadmap of future releases, and breakout sessions for in-depth discussions.

Below is a more detailed look at some of the agenda highlights:

  • Ginny Walker, chief enterprise architect at GE Aviation will present their multi-year journey to improve their installed-base asset data management. A panel discussion among experts from Thomson Reuters, HP, and Accenture will follow.
  • The Sr. MDM Manager from St. Jude Medical, Andrew Urbanski, will discuss how their MDM program drove up business value inside their organization from initial use case through follow-on solutions. A discussion among panelists from  EMC, Jones Lang LaSalle, and Wipro will follow.
  • Michael Delgado, Information Management Director at Citrix, will present “Citrix MDM Case Study: From Partner 360 to Customer 360,” which takes us through the Citrix multi-domain MDM and data governance journey for channel partner, hierarchy and customer data. The follow-up panel will include experts from AutoTrader, McAfee-Intel Security , and Deloitte.
  • John Poonnen, the Infosario Data Factory Director at Quintiles, will present how his company leverages a tailored, multi-domain MDM platform to gain a holistic view of business-critical entities such as investigators, research facilities, clinical studies, study sites and subjects. A discussion among panelists from Abbvie, Infoverity and CapGemini will follow.
  • Dale Denham, CIO at Crestline/ Geiger, will present how product information improved Geiger’s ecommerce ability to promote and sell products. Later, he will be joined for a panel discussion with experts from Deloitte, LumenData and Ideosity.
  • The afternoon will feature presentations and breakout sessions led by Informatica product teams giving demonstrations of new product features, business and use cases and roadmaps. Each session is addressed to specific audiences to provide the most relevant information.
  • Our “Ask the Experts” session closes the day with 11 tables hosted by Informatica employees willing to have discussions with anyone in attendance. Lots of great questions are raised after a day of new in-depth information.
  • Networking breaks and lunches also provide a chance for more casual discussion among Informatica experts, customers and partners.

Don’t miss this power-packed day of valuable MDM insight. Register today for the Informatica World Conference and make sure to reserve your spot at the free MDM Day Pre-conference. Learn more online, or contact me if you have any questions. I hope to see you there!

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MDM Session Highlights at Informatica World Next Month

MDM - Master Data ManagementIn my last post, I gave you a taste of our upcoming events: Informatica World (May 13-15) and our special pre-conference MDM Day (May 12) in Las Vegas. Today, I am going to take a closer look at various MDM sessions that will provide many opportunities to dive deep into this exciting technology.

We have several panels and sessions featuring Informatica clients and their real-world experiences with implementing MDM, overcoming challenges, and capitalizing on results. Citrix, Liberty Mutual, Morgan-Stanley, Nordstrom, Quintiles, and Thomson Reuters are just a few of the companies participating in this great event.

Here are a few sessions that I highly recommend attending:

  • What’s New in Informatica MDM? – On Tuesday, my colleague Suresh Menon and I will present how Informatica MDM’s enhanced capabilities deliver even more flexible, scalable, rapid management of multi-domain master data on premise, in the cloud, or as a hybrid. This demo will show how the platform integrates with PowerCenter, Data Quality, and BPM. Attendees will also see a view of the product roadmap.
  • Scaling MDM to Enterprise Size:  Lessons Learned from HP’s ‘Ginormous’ Volume – Fran Anniballi and William Arkles from HP will present how leveraging master data can be key to application and business transformation, while addressing how loading huge volumes of data for hundreds of millions of records and thousands of users globally is a daunting challenge.
  • AutoTrader’s Operational MDM:  Creating A 360-Degree Customer View from M&As – On Wednesday, Jaideep Siswawala and Rachel Hua from AutoTrader will present on how to integrate multiple acquisitions after establishing a real-time operational MDM hub. In addition, AutoTrader will discuss how they used multi-domain MDM to create a 360-degree view of customer relationships to help dealers, OEMs, and ad agencies for increased revenues and greater customer satisfaction.
  • McAfee-Intel Security and PricewaterhouseCoopers:  Two Distinct Best-in-Class MDM Implementations – McAfee-Intel will present on how they use MDM to base critical business decisions and sales territory planning with a 360-degree view of customers and partners. PwC will present its use-case for global customer on-boarding and risk analysis.
  • Implementing a Hybrid Architecture for Distributing MDM Globally – On Thursday, Informatica MDM architects will demonstrate how hybrid MDM integrates multiple MDM solutions across domains, geographies, MDM styles, and deployment approaches, exposing the master data to business users as a single seamless data layer.
  • Hands-on Labs – The conference includes dozens of 45-minute Hands-on Labs hosted by Informatica product and service experts. MDM Labs include: MDM Multi-domain Edition, MDM for Healthcare, Cloud & Hybrid MDM, Performance Tips & Tricks, MDM for Financial Services, MDM Upgrade Best Practices,MDM IDD Best Practices

Register today for Informatica World 2014 to gain a uniquely rich education in MDM. For more information, please visit us online. Tomorrow I’ll detail the MDM Day related sessions. See you in Vegas!

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