Category Archives: Master Data Management

Three Missteps to Creating Great Customer Experiences

Which misstep are you making to solve your customer experience problem?

Being customer-ready in the Age of Engagement

Download the ebook to better understand the 3 missteps.

No one ever said that solving the customer experience problem was going to be easy.

Companies aren’t structured to support complex customer relationships across different functional areas – such as marketing, sales and customer service – nor across their many brands, products, channels and locations. But your customers view every employee conversation, location, ecommerce site, email or communication as a reflection of just one company – yours.

Breaking free of organizational and channel silos to create great customer experiences is difficult even for smart companies. Here are two personal examples.

Last year, I bought a television from a leading online retailer. This retailer sets the industry standard. They make it very easy to buy from them. I belong to their membership program and can purchase anything in one-click. This is a smart company.

But the very next day I received an email from this company with a slew of televisions similar to the one that I had just purchased. The offers were too late and irrelevant, and left me wondering how smart they really are.

Why? Fragmented information and siloed applications. My browsing history and purchase history hadn’t yet been connected. The order fulfillment team knew that I bought something; and yet, the marketing team didn’t. I quickly deleted the email.

Here’s another one: I’ve had a charge card from a global financial services company for nearly 15 years. It’s another very smart company. I never leave home without that card.  Three years ago my husband and I were married; and I changed my last name.  But, I occasionally receive marketing emails from this company addressed to Monica Smith.

Why? Inconsistency across their systems and out-of-date information. An email marketing system has old information while their charge card system doesn’t. So how do they know which is correct? In their analytics am I counted twice because they have at least two views of me (one of which is 3 years out of date)? I delete those emails also.

We’ve all had these experiences. In the age of engagement, should we still expect them?

Smart companies want to make sure they’re being smart about the way they manage the total customer experience; and for that they need to have a clean, consistent, and connected view of the total customer relationship. Luckily, customers leave data footprints. To be useful, this data needs to be continually managed so that it is up-to-date, accurate, complete, and validated in order to fuel their applications and analytics with trusted customer profiles.

To help understand why it’s not working, we’ve published an ebook on the three missteps that smart companies make to try to fix the customer experience problem (but don’t truly move them closer to being customer-ready).  It’s a quick and worthwhile read.

Once you’ve finished, come back here and share your thoughts on how you’ve tried to solve your customer experience problem and become customer-ready (or add a new misstep if we missed one).

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Meet Informatica at GS1 Connect and Get Customer & Compliance Ready


GS1 Connect 2015

From May 31st to June 4th, 2015, GS1 Connect is taking place in Austin, Texas. For the first time, Informatica will be a sponsor of the leading trading partner collaboration event where industry stakeholders, data standards users, and experts gather to share practical ideas and industry-tested best practices for leveraging GS1 Standards in supply chain operations.

Informatica is a 1WorldSync certified solutions partner and a partner of GS1, a standards organization dedicated to improving supply chain visibility for all stakeholders along the product’s journey from source to point of consumption. 1WorldSync is the leading global product information network and data pool solutions provider.

Working with the GS1 standards supports brand owners, food manufacturers, grocery and CPG retail companies to become both, customer and compliance ready:

  • Compliance ready: comply with public regulations and safety standards
  • Customer ready: inform consumers on the presence or absence of allergenic product ingredients or other attributes

In addition, it enables targeted and effective recall of dangerous products from the market and helps fight counterfeiting and protects brand integrity.

Combined with Informatica’s GDSN Accelerator for CPG customers can easily link their backend systems with the GDSN (Global Data Synchronization) to deliver consolidated and reliable business-critical data to applications.

1WS choreography imageSuppliers and retailers are able to share standardized product data, cut down the cost of building point to point integrations and speed-up new product introductions having access to the most accurate and current product information.

A large food manufacturer in the US has recently picked Informatica’s Master Data Management for product data, including Data Quality and a GDSN Accelerator to synchronize product data with trading partners. Using the GDSN Accelerator allows them to share relevant product information with their trading partners. Having product data synchronization with GS1 via 1Worldsync was a major prerequisite when selecting the right partner. They use Informatica as their foundation to seamlessly and effectively execute their multichannel strategies and to provide accurate product information and -data quality, optimizing their omnichannel initiatives, automating and expediting the current manual process of GS1 data synchronization.

Their VP of IT says: “For our business success it is crucial to ensure accurate and up-to-date product information when communicating our offerings to consumers through various sales channels, including traditional print, online and mobile. Additionally, we need to automate the process of sharing mandatory food related product attributes with our trading partners via the GDSN. We expect to significantly reduce manual efforts and costs of labor related to GS1 product data synchronization. In addition, using this 1WorldSync certified GDSN solution, we will be able to increase our product data quality, provide more detailed product information, and help ensure that our food service customers are compliant with public regulations and consumers asking for allergen and nutrition facts.”

Meet Informatica at GS1 Connect 2015 in Austin at booth, 701 to learn more on MDM and the GDSN Accelerator for CPG.

Links to related blogs:

How GS1 and PIM Help to Fulfill Legal Regulations and Feed Distribution Channels

5 Ways to Comply with the New European Food Information Regulation

The Supply Chain Impact of Adding an Allergen to a Chocolate Bar

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The Age of Engagement Depends on Great Data



The Age of Engagement

It’s been a while since we were able to connect. We tried to reach you recently regarding a recall on your 2013 (car make and model removed) that you leased from our dealership. Please confirm your address and phone number and contact us to make an appointment for the recall replacement.

Address: 13506 Crestview Circle, Raleigh, NC 27601

Phone: 918-908-7755

Thank you!

Local Car Dealership

My wife recently received an email just like the one above to her personal email address, which provided us with a good laugh. See her name isn’t Warren, it’s actually Lauren…and this isn’t her phone number or our mailing address. However, the contact information was close and the details about our vehicle were correct. Couple that with the fact that the email is from the salesman that we leased our car from, and we realized that something terribly wrong must have occurred when the dealer typed our data into their contact database at the time we leased the car.

While Lauren has comically always received mail addressed to Warren, it’s usually been junk mail and not about a safety recall to one of our cars. As I’m sure you can imagine this was a less than stellar experience with a brand that we love. However, it reminded me about the various keynote presentations that I heard last week at Informatica World and inspired me to write this post.

For those of you that were able to attend Informatica World 2015 last week, you likely learned all about The Age of Engagement and how your customers expect you to interact with them. There were several presentations showing how each of the product groups enable you to effectively engage with your customers and how at the heart of this Age of Engagement lies accurate data.

Whether it’s getting someone’s name right or storing an accurate address, having clean data is a requirement to be able to improve your relationship with your customers in this new Age of Engagement. I’d like to offer you three quick steps to start getting this right and begin your customer interactions.

Verify Your Customer Information

Whether you’re using an MDM solution to have a single view of your customer or verifying their contact data at the point of acquisition, technology can make having clean data simple. With the great tools that are available today, you can easily know that your customer’s name isn’t Warren. You can also verify each individual part of the customer contact record. For example using our Address Verification service will ensure that you have the accurate mailing address for each of your customers throughout the world. Using our Email Verification service will verify that the email address that your customer gave you is accurate, in real-time at that moment, directly with the domain. Also, using our Phone Validation service, you can confidently know that your customer’s phone number is accurate, if it’s a mobile or a landline phone, even what time zone it’s in (so that you don’t try send them a message in the middle of the night). These easy to use services will take the most critical components of the contact record, verify their accuracy, and give you the confidence that you’ll be able to connect with your customers.

Create a Better Message

Now that you know that you can confidently connect with your customers, it’s time to create a message that will resonate with them. You could utilize a product or customer MDM solution to pull in data about your previous customer interactions such as their accurate name, the product that they bought, and when they bought it. You could also append additional data elements from external sources to more accurately segment and target your audience, and even personalize the message for both B2C and B2B customers. For example, you could leverage our Business Data Enrichment service, fueled by Dun and Bradstreet, to learn all about your B2B customers and their businesses to craft the perfect message to use in your engagement efforts.

Start the Conversation

Once you know you have accurate contact data and you’ve crafted the best message to your customer, it’s time to actually reach out to them. In the history of customer engagement, there have never been more options available to us in order to reach our customers. While every customer might have a different preference for how they want to be contacted, one surefire way is to leverage the mobile channel. SMS text messages sent to your customers are quick and interactive. By 2017 Portio Research estimates that nearly 2 trillion messages will be sent from businesses to their customers throughout the world. If mobile isn’t a channel that you’re considering, maybe it’s time to start thinking about adding it into your engagement plans.

By verifying that you have clean data and have created a great message, engaging with your customers has never been easier than it is right now. Start the conversation and improve the relationship that you have with your customers today.

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New Supplier360 View for Optimized Supplier Information Management

If your organization is working with a large number of vendors, you know the challenge to successfully manage your suppliers’ information across the entire enterprise.

It starts with quickly onboarding the right suppliers at the right location to introduce a new product or initiate a project – a process that can take several weeks if it isn’t automated.

Once qualified and on-boarded, you need to be able to assess your suppliers’ risk and compliance and analyze their performance. Do my suppliers deliver on time? Do they meet our quality standards? Do we benefit from negotiated corporate discounts and payment terms with a trusted Supplier360 view of our supplier relationships worldwide?

In order to enable organizations to more effectively manage vendors and their performance, negotiate better prices and payment terms, and reduce operating costs and risk, Informatica just launched the Total Supplier Relationship Application (TSR), a master data-fueled solution that optimizes supplier information management with a Supplier360 view across the enterprise.

Sodexo is a multinational food services and facilities management corporation. Frank Griffith, Senior Director of Integrated Procurement Systems at Sodexo says: “The Informatica Total Supplier Relationship application will empower Sodexo to manage our supplier master data and vendor items more effectively and streamline our current supply chain processes. Based on one, single trusted view of our vendor and product data, we will be able to better track our vendors’ compliance, and manage vendor performance and certifications, while leveraging the GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network) for nutritional product attribute data.”

TSR-OverviewCombining the industry-leading Informatica Master Data Management (MDM) hub with Informatica Data Integration and Informatica Data Quality, TSR is a master data-fueled application with a configurable business-friendly user interface. It can be enhanced with Informatica Product Information Management (PIM) and Data-as-a-Service for contact data verification and enrichment.




Visit to learn more or read the press release.


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(Re)Thinking Data Security Strategy

Data Security Strategy

Rethinking Data Security Strategy

Data security is usually something people only think about when they get hacked, a place they do business with gets hacked, or they lose their credit card or wallet. It is just human nature to not worry about things that you cannot see and that seem to be well at hand. Instead I would suggest every company (and person) take just 15 minutes once a month to think about the below items that need to be part of their data security strategy.

Data security is a complex issue with many facets. I will skip past how you create and use passwords as that is the one area that gets a lot of focus. With the now well accepted use of SaaS and cloud based technologies by companies and people in their personal lives it is also time that people take a few moments to consider just how their data is secured or in some cases at risk.

Data centric security. Traditionally enterprise security has focused on access issues. What can be accessed from where and by who. The problem with this often walled garden approach is that when it comes to data these technologies and procedures do not take into account the common use cases of data usage. Most data security programs are also really outdated in a world where the majority of companies are using systems they do not own or directly manage (e.g. SaaS, Cloud, Mobile) or all the different types of data that are being created by people, systems and applications. Many enterprise security strategies need to move from focusing on access to include data usage and the ontology of data being used.

Question: Does your company have a modern enterprise security strategy or a walled garden approach?

Data about data. Long ago to make it easier to store, search and retrieve data people figured out that adding descriptive information about what is in the data file would be useful. Metadata is the actual term and it is no different than the labels people would put on a file to hold papers before we started moving everything to software based storage. The problem is that metadata has really grown and it can provide ways for people to learn a lot of personal, business and proprietary information without even getting access to the underlying information file. The richer the meta-data the more business or personal risk is created by possibly exposing information without actually exposing the underlying data.

Question: Are you accidentally exposing sensitive information in your metadata?

At rest data. The reason they use to say keep your tax records for 3 years and then destroy them is because people stored everything in file cabinets, drawers, or under a mattress. Some people do still like physical records but for most people and companies data is stored electronically and has been for a long time. The addition of SaaS and cloud based solutions adds a new wrinkle because the data is stored somewhere that you do not necessarily have direct access. And in many cases the data is stored multiple times if it is archived or backed up. Even when data is deleted in many cases it is not really gone because with the right technology data can be recovered if it was not fully deleted off the storage system that was used.

Question: Do you know where your data is stored? Archived? Backed up?

Question: Do you know how you would dispose of sensitive data that is no longer needed?

In flight data. No, this is not the Wi-Fi on the airplane. This is literally the data and meta-data that as they are being used by applications in the regular course of business. The issue is that while the data is being transmitted it could be at risk. This is one reason that people are warned to be careful of how they use public Wi-Fi because any decent hacker can see all the data on the network. (yes, really is that easy). Another enterprise issue that often needs to be dealt with is data cleaning in order to reduce duplicates or errors in data. A problem that occurs is how to do this with sensitive data that you do not want the developers or IT staff actually seeing. (e.g. HR or financial records).

Question: How does your company safe guard transactional and in flight data?

Question: Does your company use data masking and cleansing technology to safe guard in flight data?

Data Security Strategy

Rethinking Data Security Strategy

Data. Yes, the actual data or information that you care about or just store because it is so easy. I would recommend that companies look holistically at their data and think of it across it’s lifecycle. In this approach the data risks should be identified for how it is stored, used, transmitted, exposed internally or externally, and integrated or accessed for data integration. There are some new and interesting solutions coming to market that go beyond traditional data security, masking, and cleansing to help identify and access data security risks in the area of Security Intelligence. The concepts of Security Intelligence are solutions that are meant to create a measurement of security risk and identify issues so that they can a) be addressed before becoming a big problem b) automated procedures can be put in place to improve the level of security or bring solution up to the desired level of security .

One example is a new solution from Informatica called Secure@Source, which is just coming to market. This is a solution that is meant to provide automated analysis for enterprises so they can determine data risks so they can make improvements and then put in place new policies and automated procedures so that the desired level of data security is maintained. There have been similar solutions used for network security for years but these newer solutions while using similar approaches are now dealing with the more specific issues of data security.

Question: What is your company doing to proactively assess and manage data risk? Are you a good candidate for a security intelligence approach?

Data security is an important issue that all companies should have a strategy. While this is not meant to be an all encompassing list it is a good starting place for a discussion. Stay secure. Don’t be the next company in the news with a data security issue.

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Customer Experience Suffers When You’re not Strategically Managing and Sharing Customer Data

In the age of engagement, customers expect a seamless, integrated and consistent customer experience. But most companies can’t meet those expectations today. This video explains what holds many companies back.

customer data

Download this eBook to learn the 7 critical steps to becoming a customer-ready enterprise

Then, check out this eBook, Mastering the Chaos of Customer Experience. It explains the 7 steps to becoming a customer ready enterprise. A customer ready enterprise has a total customer relationship view, that trusted customer profile that’s accurate, up-to-date, complete and consistent across the company.

Find out how you can stop your customer data chaos and start using great customer data to fuel great customer experiences.

If you are unable to view the video, click here.

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A Day in the Life of an MDMer at Informatica World 2015 – Day 1

What a day! This should go down as one of the best days in this entire year.

At the sold out Informatica World 2015 All Things Data conference today, Sohaib Abbasi, CEO of Informatica outlined the move to the “age of engagement”. The main highlight for the MDMer in me was the announcement of Social360 for Internet of Master Data.

Informatica MDM now offers Social360 to view master data, relationships and associated interactions, including social media feeds and media mentions. By matching transactions with social relationships, Informatica MDM can identify the top influencers among the most valuable customers. Designed to run natively on Hadoop, Informatica Big Data Relationship Management identifies household and social relationships across billions of records representing millions of people.

Age_of_EngagementSuresh Menon – VP of Product Management at Informatica opened the MDM Day sessions with a one liner – “we make great data ready to use”.

Companies are trying master the digital transformation successfully. In order to accelerate this transformation, Suresh talked about 3 key aspects that will drive the new age –

New Age of Relationships: Relations between party, places, things, household, family and their interactions in a socially rich world will continue in fast pace.

New Age of Bimodal Governance: Information governance has  become a democratic exercise that works both top-down and buttom-up. Bimodal is an ENABLER for business and IT, managing the way how we colloborate and how processes are exectuted to do the right things right.

New Age of Trusted Master Data Fueled Apps: We are entering a new era of master data fuled applications which deliver clean, consistent data. For example, Product 360 for retail, Total supplier relationship for supply chain optimization, Big Data Realtionship Management to address use cases such as effective campaign management to increase your marketing ROI. These apps run on Informatica’s powerful multidomain platform to deliver wide range of use case and industry specific solutions.

Following this was Devon Energy and Noah Consulting keynote where Devon shared how they could deliver fast, accurate Big Data to make smart and quick decisions. Devon uses Informatica MDM and Big Data solutions to provide authoritative and trusted data as it relates to wells, suppliers, and other key master and reference data. This allows them to build data pipelines in Hadoop that transform and prepare data for Big Data analytics.

I attended a number of sessions that were part of MDM Day agenda. That include –

  • Symantec & EMC using Informatica MDM and Informatica Data Quality to deliver trusted customer views.
  • eBay one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, led a financial transformation with data to maximize the value of finance and drive functional effectiveness.
  • A large global company utilizing MDM to enable successful global workday implementation for HR across 60 countries with 100+ HR applications with varying level of data governance across 275 companies.
  • GE Aviation shared their new approach to scaling MDM to the enterprise, architecture and concepts on data lakes, and how MDM plays into their large data volumes.

A great day overall with a lot of discussion on topics thar are near and dear to me. I also got a chance to sit (and have a drink) with some amazing folks who focus on MDM, data quality and data governance.

With that I will sign-off as the clock hits the midnight. I will bring you more news from Informatica World, specifically the Information Quality and Governance track sessions happening tomorrow. Stay tuned and as always keep an eye on @MDMGeek on twitter.


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What is a Golden Record?


Golden Record

If you are as long in the tooth as I am – you are familiar with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory…one of the major plot points revolves around Charlie getting the “golden ticket” which allows him access to Willy Wonka’s factory…but there are only 5 golden tickets available.

Within the world of Master Data Management (MDM) – there is a concept of a “golden record.” This is (hopefully) not as elusive as the Wonka Golden Ticket – but equally as important. This golden record gives you access to the most pure, validated and complete picture of your individual records in your domain.

Let’s start with defining a lot of the terms from the previous paragraph:

  • Golden record (according to whatis) ” is a single, well-defined version of all the data entities in an organizational ecosystem. In this context, a golden record is sometimes called the “single version of the truth,” where “truth” is understood to mean the reference to which data users can turn when they want to ensure that they have the correct version of a piece of information. The golden record encompasses all the data in every system of record (SOR) within a particular organization.
  • Domain is an area of control or knowledge. In the context of MDM – it refers to the type of data you want to master. For the payer market – it is typical to start with a member or provider domain, but there can be many, many different types of domains.

One of the trickiest parts of implementing an MDM solution is creating the workflow around this golden record. You need to consider all of your data sources, which fields from which data sources tend to be more reliable and what are the criteria for allowing the field from one system to populate an MDM field over another. In other words, if you have an enrollment system that captures the member’s name and a claims system that also captures the member’s name – which of these two systems tend to have the most correct member’s name? Is there another source system that is particularly reliable for capturing address – but the member name tends to be off?

One of the main considerations in the creation and maintenance of the golden record is matching and merging records.  If there are two records that are pretty similar, what is the process for inclusion in the golden record? – for instance consider the two records below:

Last Name First Name Member # Phone Number Street Address City, State
Wayland Jennifer 201215 7065842 123 Maine Street Camden, Maine
Wayland Jenn 201211 2078675309 123 Main Street Camden, Maine

The last names are the same as are the City, State fields. All of the other fields are different – in the world of a golden record, they don’t create an automatic match/merge. For the sake of this example – let’s say that we know that the first record comes from a source that has great reliability for names and addresses, while the second record comes from a source that is known for highly accurate member numbers and phone numbers. With good MDM solutions there should be a toolset that allows you to automate the merge functionality as much as possible. For this example, you could set up the workflow to obtain the records from the two sources, set up the criteria for merging/matching (take the name from the first record, the member number and phone number from the second record, and the addresses from the first record. The following could be the golden record for this member:

Last Name First Name Member # Phone Number Street Address City, State
Wayland Jennifer 201211 2078675309 123 Maine Street Camden, Maine

Where matching and merging get interesting is when the source fields are not clear “winners.” There will be situations where manual intervention is necessary to determine which record should take precedence. For this – a workflow manager toolkit is very helpful. It will assign records to a data steward who can then make the judgment based on their specific experience and knowledge of the data set which field from which record should take precedence. It can also have approval mechanisms before a record is finally and truly merged resulting in a modification to the existing golden record for a specific member.

As a result of the complexity of implementing a Master Data Management solution – it will help to start with picturing your golden record. Can you answer the following questions?

  • What information needs to be captured in your golden record?
    • Related to this – is there any information that is not necessarily specific to the domain but may be interesting when attaching relationships to a record (attaching a provider to a specific member)
  • What are all the sources of data for the record?
  • Are all the sources currently integrated? How easily can new records or updated records be shared?
  • Which source is the best source for which fields?
  • What is the threshold your company can tolerate for automatic merges?

What approval process needs to be in place before a merge takes place? Who needs to look at the record/recommendation before the merge is complete?

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Put Yourself Ahead of Digital Transformation Curve – Informatica World 2015

The rapid advancement we are seeing in social, mobile and other digital technologies have transformed the way of our life significantly. My commute to airport for business travel takes three taps on an app on my smart phone and a leading retailer I shop frequently, knows what I like, which product I have put on the cart using my iPad, which products I “liked” on their social channels so they can do real-time recommendations while I am at their physical store. Their employees are now armed with information that is integrated in ways that empower them be more customer-centric than ever before.

All these rapid changes just over a decade are bought to us by companies that pioneered the digital transformation and data is at the center of this revolution. These organizations gained competitive advantage from social, mobile, analytics, cloud, and internet of things technologies. In a world filled with data of different variety, volume and velocity, it’s more important for organizations to become data-ready. While the potential for insight in big data is massive, we need a new generation of Master Data Management to realize all the potential.

In the contrast of this rapid change fueled by data, growing number of companies are realizing that they now have a massive opportunity in front of them. At the centers of this digital transformation is master data that provides an opportunity for organizations to:

  • Better understand customers, their household and relationships so they can do effective cross-sell and up-sell
  • Identify customers interacting with company via different channels so they can push relevant offer to these customers in real time.
  • Offer better product recommendations to customers based on their purchasing and browsing behavior
  • Optimize the way they manage their inventory leading to significant cost savings
  • Manage supplier relationships more effectively so they can negotiate better rate
  • Provide superior patient care and cure harmful deceases at early stage by creating patient-centric solutions that connect health information from more and more sources
  • Master wellhead and other upstream exploration and production assets so they can do better crew allocation and production planning
  • Be compliant to complex and ever changing government regulations leading to significant savings in terms of fines and punishments

We will talk about all this and more at Informatica World 2015 which is happening next week in Las Vegas. Join us for the MDM Day on May 12 followed by Information Quality and Governance track sessions on May 13 and 14. Register now.

We have 37 sessions that cover Master Data Management, Omnichannel Commerce, Data Quality, Data as a Service and Big Data Relationship Management. You get a chance to learn from Informatica’s customers about their experience, best practices from our partners and our vision and roadmap straight from our product management team. We will also talk about master data fueled Total Customer Relationship and Total Supplier Relationship applications that leverage our industry leading multidomain MDM platform.

Informatica world 2015

Here is your guide to sessions that will be covered. I will see you there. If you want to say hello in person, reach out to me at @MDMGeek and follow @InfaMDM twitter handle for all the latest news. The hash tag for this event is #INFA15


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What is the Best Way to Implement an MDM solution? One Bite at a Time

You know that old saying, “What’s the best way to eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time.”


Best Way to Implement an MDM solution? One Bite at a Time

Much like the daunting task of eating an elephant, implementing an MDM solution can seem staggering. Many times, the implementation team gets mired in the details, wanting to create a solution that is the answer to everyone’s problems and as a result never gets started due to the overwhelming nature of the undertaking. After many successful MDM implementations – I’d like to recommend the following approach to eating your elephant:

  •  Clearly establish the business problem you are trying to solve

According to the Gartner Group, “MDM is a business-driven, technology-enabled environment and program.” It is really important to remember that the reason you are working on an MDM project is to satisfy a specific business need aligned with the overall business strategy. Once aligned – it is easier to show value to the organization when it is successfully implemented.

For instance – if you want to reduce readmission costs for a specific segment of your member population, this could have an impact on several potential business goals in the payer market including improving customer satisfaction and lowering cost of care for specific populations. Improving customer satisfaction is a pretty big elephant – but focusing down on reducing readmission costs is much more manageable. And it will impact two of your business ! Sutter Health has taken this approach and is releasing new use cases every 90 days.

  •  Understand and document your current state

Now that you know what problem you are attempting to solve – you will need to understand the current level of maturity of your current approach and the resources it will take to implement your solution. You will need to consider your available resources, understand the amount of time and money it may take to implement a solution, and obtain visibility into where your organization stands currently in regards to the .

Using the readmission example – you are going to need to identify where readmission data is available. How often is this data updated? What is the quality of the data? How difficult is it to get access to the data? Who are the resources that are responsible for readmission data? Are they distracted by many competing requests? What are some of the data sources that could impact readmission rates that are not currently part of your data sources? For instance – understanding the living arrangement of the member prior to discharge can have an impact on readmission rates (members living alone have a much higher readmission rate than those living with others). If you can identify a household through social media data, you can better predict who will be going home alone.

  • Clearly define success

There is business adage (much like eating an elephant!) that says “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Before you implement your MDM solution – you need to identify what metrics are most important and show success. These should align with the goals you set in #1 (which should align with the goals of the business). You should also identify specific business outcomes that metrics can apply to.

What would be a reasonable measure of success for reduction of readmission rates?

  • Moving from a 15% readmission rate to an 8% readmission rate?
  • Moving from a 15% readmission rate to a 10% readmission rate? In what amount of time?
  • Perhaps moving from a 15% readmission rate to a 13% readmission rate in a year after implementation?
  1. Build a governance hierarchy

According to Gartner Group, “Governance is about decision making and ensuring that you have an authority framework that takes decisions and is able to measure the execution of those decisions.” An effective governance program requires a well-defined hierarchy, headed by a sponsor — someone in a position of authority who carries the necessary weight and cross-departmental authority to make MDM governance a reality. How can you find out how mature your organization is from a data governance perspective? There are several vendors and websites that can help with that including: .

You need to be able to make assessments about the quality of the source data, the data lineage (where and how the data that is feeding your MDM solution has been modified) for compliance reporting requirements, as well as establishing a process for support of your data quality. There are 10 data governance insights from UPMC here.

Now – what is the smallest bite you can define for your organization? By laying out your business priorities, identifying your current state, creating a measurable goal and a method for governing – you have put clear boundaries on what you are trying to accomplish. Once you’ve established your credibility on your ability to finish your first bite successfully, the next bite will be easier!

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