Tag Archives: business processes

Building A Business Case For Data Quality: The Steps

Building A Business Case For Data Quality, 3 of a 7-part series

Let’s look at the steps in more detail for building a business case for data quality using the bottom-up approach. Where do you start? You need to find a sponsor—someone who instinctively knows there is a problem and wants help in quantifying it. Marketing knows it has duplicate customer records and wants to get a better handle on them. You should look at these systems or business processes that work with the customer data. You must assess how the data in these systems is used within marketing. For example, what is the data used for, what critical decisions are made based on this data, and how many people use it to make decisions? The more users or the more critical the decision, the more likely this data is a candidate for evaluation. Also look at more than the initial decision support system and data. Look at any systems that get data from the decision support system. Data flow diagrams are always helpful in assessing this but usually difficult to find. (more…)

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MDM Becoming More Critical in Light of Cloud Computing

Over the weekend note blogger David Linthicum did a blogpost on eBiz regarding master data management (MDM) and cloud computing. The crux of David’s argument is that while the profusion of cloud computing will exacerbate the need for MDM, the rush to embrace cloud applications could potentially drive MDM into the background at many companies. That, ironically enough, since organizations can save so much money by replacing big enterprise systems with lighter SaaS applications, in the headlong rush to embrace cloud applications “MDM will be an afterthought” and get pushed aside even as the need for it intensifies.

I agree with David that the migration to cloud computing is going to further spark demand for MDM, but I don’t agree that MDM is going to get pushed aside. The reason I make this argument is that we already have a few customers at Siperian who are using MDM with cloud-based applications, and it’s working out very well. These customers are combing MDM with the cloud in the following two ways:

1. Using MDM to create a single version of the truth before enabling the cloud-based applications (i.e., they’re cleaning up data from multiple in-house CRM systems, and feeding reliable, consistent customer data into Salesforce.com)

2. They’re combining customer and other forms of data from the cloud-based applications (e.g. Salesforce.com) along with internal CRM applications to create a single version of the truth to enable operational and analytical business processes.

As organizations grow the number of cloud based applications, they have to control the key data that they will use across those applications as well as internal applications and data warehouses. MDM enables organizations to do just that—either for enabling cloud-based applications or creating a single view of the master data across cloud-based applications and internal applications. Thus a strong foundation of MDM will be the key to successfully taking advantage of cloud computing.

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The Art of MDM Workflow

The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected
- Sun Tzu, the Art of War

As organizations begin evaluating and leveraging MDM beyond their analytical needs and start to view operational MDM as a cornerstone of their overall strategy, the question of governance and workflow becomes a vitally important topic, which cannot be neglected. For many, workflow and business process management (BPM) is a well ploughed road, with established vendors such as Lombardi (a Siperian partner) providing robust offerings. So the marketplace would have you believe in a simplistic view

Workflow Tool + MDM Hub = Victory and Mission Accomplished

but the “Art” of MDM workflow actually lies within the subtle, yet flexible nature of the MDM platform itself, the ability to handle state. Not the State as referred to in Sun Tzu’s quote but the state of the data or record as it progresses through a business process towards its ultimate destination. A significant concern for organizations looking to enable their MDM Hub as a gateway for system of entry of all master data is the ability to enforce the right level of governance through checks and balances as additions and updates to data are made by business users. A workflow tool functioning independently is designed to easily track and route the operations and approval processes to the correct defined individuals or groups. However, a key requirement of the MDM Hub, in concert with such “in-transition” workflow activities, is to be able to manage the changing state of the data.

For example, when new data is created, the MDM Hub should be able to track its state as “pending approval” or any number of additional states before its final destination – becoming the golden master data record. This built-in capability should permit complete control over the availability of the data, framing it as not yet blessed for enterprise-wide public consumption, but continuing to allow the Hub to determine and resolve conflicts that might occur. In our example, if a second addition is attempted for the same record while the previous entry is currently in the approval process, the MDM Hub’s matching capabilities would highlight such a conflict, thereby preventing duplicate effort or accidental overwriting of data. Therefore, in order to succeed, the workflow tool must leverage the unique data state management capabilities of a MDM Hub. Only then can we claim victory and mission accomplished.

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