Tag Archives: MDM

How Much Does Bad Data Cost Your Business?

Bad data is bad for business. Ovum Research reported that poor quality data is costing businesses at least 30% of revenues. Never before have business leaders across a broad range of roles recognized the importance of using high quality information to drive business success. Leaders in functions ranging from marketing and sales to risk management and compliance have invested in world-class applications, six sigma processes, and the most advanced predictive analytics. So why are you not seeing more return on that investment? Simply put, if your business-critical data is a mess, the rest doesn’t matter.

Dennis Moore explains the implications of using inaccurate, inconsistent and disconnected data and the value business leaders can gain by mastering it.

Dennis Moore explains the impact of using accurate, consistent and connected data and the value business leaders can gain through master data management (MDM).

Not all business leaders know there’s a better way to manage their business-critical data. So, I asked Dennis Moore, the senior vice president and general manager of Informatica’s MDM business, who clocked hundreds of thousands of airline miles last year visiting business leaders around the world, to talk about the impact of using accurate, consistent and connected data and the value business leaders can gain through master data management (MDM).

Q. Why are business leaders focusing on business-critical data now?
A. Leaders have always cared about their business-critical data, the master data on which their enterprises depend most — their customers, suppliers, the products they sell, the locations where they do business, the assets they manage, the employees who make the business perform. Leaders see the value of having a clear picture, or “best version of the truth,” describing these “master data” entities. But, this is hard to come by with competing priorities, mergers and acquisitions and siloed systems.

As companies grow, business leaders start realizing there is a huge gap between what they do know and what they should know about their customers, suppliers, products, assets and employees. Even worse,  most businesses have lost their ability to understand the relationships between business-critical data so they can improve business outcomes. Line of business leaders have been asking questions such as:

  • How can we optimize sales across channels when we don’t know which customers bought which products from which stores, sites or suppliers?
  • How can we quickly execute a recall when we don’t know which supplier delivered a defective part to which factory and where those products are now?
  • How can we accelerate time-to-market for a new drug, when we don’t know which researcher at which site used which combination of compounds on which patients?
  • How can we meet regulatory reporting deadlines, when we don’t know which model of a product we manufactured in which lot on which date?

Q. What is the crux of the problem?
A. The crux of the problem is that as businesses grow, their business-critical data becomes fragmented. There is no big picture because it’s scattered across applications, including on premise applications (such as SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft) and cloud applications (such as Salesforce, Marketo, and Workday). But it gets worse. Business-critical data changes all the time. For example,

  • a customer moves, changes jobs, gets married, or changes their purchasing habits;
  • a suppliers moves, goes bankrupt or acquires a competitor;
  • you discontinue a product or launch a new one; or
  • you onboard a new asset or retire an old one.

As all this change occurs, business-critical data becomes inconsistent, and no one knows which application has the most up-to-date information. This costs companies money. It saps productivity and forces people to do a lot of manual work outside their best-in-class processes and world-class applications. One question I always ask business leaders is, “Do you know how much bad data is costing your business?”

Q. What can business leaders do to deal with this issue?
A. First, find out where bad data is having the most significant impact on the business. It’s not hard – just about any employee can share stories of how bad data led to a lost sale, an extra “truck roll,” lost leverage with suppliers, or a customer service problem. From the call center to the annual board planning meeting, bad data results in sub-optimal decisions and lost opportunities. Work with your line of business partners to reach a common understanding of where an improvement can really make a difference. Bad master data is everywhere, but bad master data that has material costs to the business is a much more pressing and constrained problem. Don’t try to boil the ocean or bring a full-blown data governance maturity level 5 approach to your organization if it’s not already seeing success from better data!

Second, focus on the applications and processes used to create, share, and use master data. Many times, some training, a tweak to a process, or a new interface can be created between systems, resulting in very significant improvements for the users without major IT work or process changes.

Lastly, look for a technology that is purpose-built to deal with this problem.  Master data management (MDM) helps companies better manage business-critical data in a central location on an ongoing basis and then share that “best version of the truth” with all on premise and cloud applications that need it.

Master data management (MDM) helps manage business-critical customer data and creates the total customer relationship view across functions, product lines and regions, which CRM promised but never delivered.

Master data management (MDM) helps manage business-critical customer data and creates the total customer relationship view across functions, product lines and regions, which CRM promised but never delivered.

Let’s use customer data as an example. If valuable customer data is located in applications such as Salesforce, Marketo, Seibel CRM, and SAP, MDM brings together all the business-critical data, the core that’s the same across all those applications, and creates the “best version of the truth.” It also creates the total customer relationship view across functions, product lines and regions, which CRM promised but never delivered.

MDM then shares that “mastered” customer data and the total customer relationship view with the applications that want it. MDM can be used to master the relationships between customers, such as legal entity hierarchies. This helps sales and customer service staff be more productive, while also improving legal compliance and management decision making. Advanced MDM products can also manage relationships across different types of master data. For example, advanced MDM enables you to relate an employee to a project to a contract to an asset to a commission plan. This ensures accurate and timely billing, effective expense management, managed supplier spend, and even improved workforce deployment.

When your sales team has the best possible customer information in Salesforce and the finance team has the best possible customer information in SAP, no one wastes time pulling together spreadsheets of information outside of their world-class applications. Your global workforce doesn’t waste time trying to investigate whether Jacqueline Geiger in one system and Jakki Geiger in another system is one or two customers, sending multiple bills and marketing offers at high cost in postage and customer satisfaction. All employees who have access to mastered customer information can be confident they have the best possible customer information available across the organization to do their jobs. And with the most advanced and intelligent data platform, all this information can be secured so only the authorized employees, partners, and systems have access.

Q. Which industries stand to gain the most from mastering their data?
A. In every industry there is some transformation going on that’s driving the need to know people, places and things better. Take insurance for example. Similar to the transformation in the travel industry that reduced the need for travel agents, the insurance industry is experiencing a shift from the agent/broker model to a more direct model. Traditional insurance companies now have an urgent need to know their customers so they can better serve them across all channels and across multiple lines of business.

In other industries, there is an urgent need to get a lot better at supply-chain management or to accelerate new product introductions  to compete better with an emerging rival. Business leaders are starting to make the connection between transformation failures and a more critical need for the best possible data, particularly in industries undergoing rapid transformation, or with rapidly changing regulatory requirements.

Q. Which business functions seem most interested in mastering their business-critical data?
A. It varies by industry, but there are three common threads that seem to span most industries:

Business leaders are starting to make the connection between transformation failures and bad data.

Business leaders are starting to make the connection between transformation failures and a more critical need for the best possible data.

  • MDM can help the marketing team optimize the cross-sell and up-sell process with high quality data about customers, their households or company hierarchies, the products and services they have purchased through various channels, and the interactions their organizations have had with these customers.
  • MDM can help the procurement team optimize strategic sourcing including supplier spend management and supplier risk management with high quality data about suppliers, company hierarchies,  contracts and the products they supply.
  • MDM can help the compliance teams manage all the business-critical data they need to create regulatory reports on time without burning the midnight oil.

Q. How is the use of MDM evolving?
A. When MDM technology was first introduced a decade ago, it was used as a filter. It cleaned up business-critical data on its way to the data warehouse so you’d have clean, consistent, and connected information (“conformed dimensions”) for reporting. Now business leaders are investing in MDM technology to ensure that all of their global employees have access to high quality business-critical data across all applications. They believe high quality data is mission-critical to their operations. High quality data is viewed as the the lifeblood of the company and will enable the next frontier of innovation.

Second, many companies mastered data in only one or two domains (customer and product), and used separate MDM systems for each. One system was dedicated to mastering customer data. You may recall the term Customer Data Integration (CDI). Another system was dedicated to mastering product data. Because the two systems were in silos and business-critical data about customers and products wasn’t connected, they delivered limited business value. Since that time, business leaders have questioned this approach because business problems don’t contain themselves to one type of data, such as customer or product, and many of the benefits of mastering data come from mastering other domains including supplier, chart of accounts, employee and other master or reference data shared across systems.

The relationships between data matter to the business. Knowing what customer bought from which store or site is more valuable than just knowing your customer. The business insights you can gain from these relationships is limitless. Over 90% of our customers last year bought MDM because they wanted to master multiple types of data. Our customers value having all types of business-critical data in one system to deliver clean, consistent and connected data to their applications to fuel business success.

One last evolution we’re seeing a lot involves the types and numbers of systems connecting to the master data management system. In the past, there were a small number of operational systems pushing data through the MDM system into a data warehouse used for analytical purposes. Today, we have customers with hundreds of operational systems communicating with each other via an MDM system that has just a few milliseconds to respond, and which must maintain the highest levels of availability and reliability of any system in the enterprise. For example, one major retailer manages all customer information in the MDM system, using the master data to drive real-time recommendations as well as a level of customer service in every interaction that remains the envy of their industry.

Q. Dennis, why should business leaders consider attending MDM Day?
A. Business leaders should consider attending MDM Day at InformaticaWorld 2014 on Monday, May 12, 2014. You can hear first-hand the business value companies are gaining by using clean, consistent and connected information in their operations. We’re excited to have fantastic customers who are willing to share their stories and lessons learned. We have presenters from St. Jude Medical, Citrix, Quintiles and Crestline Geiger and panelists from Thomson Reuters, Accenture, EMC, Jones Lang Lasalle, Wipro, Deloitte, AutoTrader Group, McAfee-Intel, Abbvie, Infoverity, Capgemini, and Informatica among others.

Last year’s Las Vegas event, and the events we held in London, New York and Sao Paolo were extremely well received. This year’s event is packed with even more customer sessions and opportunities to learn and to influence our product road map. MDM Day is one day before InformaticaWorld and is included in the cost of your InformaticaWorld registration. We’d love to see you there!

See the MDM Day Agenda.

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Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Business/IT Collaboration, Customers, Data Quality, Informatica World 2014, Master Data Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That’s not ‘Big Data’, that’s MY DATA!

Personal DataFor the past few years, the press has been buzzing about the potential value of Big Data. However, there is little coverage focusing on the data itself – how do you get it, is it accurate, and who can be trusted with it?

We are the source of data that is often spoken about – our children, friends and relatives and especially those people we know on Facebook or LinkedIn.  Over 40% of Big Data projects are in the sales and marketing arena – relying on personal data as a driving force. While machines have no choice but to provide data when requested, people do have a choice. We can choose not to provide data, or to purposely obscure our data, or to make it up entirely.

So, how can you ensure that your organization is receiving real information? Active participation is needed to ensure a constant flow of accurate data to feed your data-hungry algorithms and processes. While click-stream analysis does not require individual identification, follow-up sales & marketing campaigns will have limited value if the public at large is using false names and pretend information.

BCG has identified a link between trust and data sharing: 

“We estimate that those that manage this issue well [creating trust] should be able to increase the amount of consumer data they can access by at least five to ten times in most countries.”[i]

With that in mind, how do you create the trust that will entice people to share data? The principles behind common data privacy laws provide guidelines. These include:  accountability, purpose identification and disclosure, collection with knowledge and consent, data accuracy, individual access and correction, as well as the right to be forgotten.

But there are challenges in personal data stewardship – in part because the current world of Big Data analysis is far from stable.  In the ongoing search for the value of Big Data, new technologies, tools and approaches are being piloted. Experimentation is still required which means moving data around between data storage technologies and analytical tools, and giving unprecedented access to data in terms of quantity, detail and variety to ever growing teams of analysts. This experimentation should not be discouraged, but it must not degrade the accuracy or security of your customers’ personal data.

How do you measure up? If I made contact and asked for the sum total of what you knew about me, and how my data was being used – how long would it take to provide this information? Would I be able to correct my information? How many of your analysts can view my personal data and how many copies have you distributed in your IT landscape? Are these copies even accurate?

Through our data quality, data mastering and data masking tools, Informatica can deliver a coordinated approach to managing your customer’s personal data and build trust by ensuring the safety and accuracy of that data. With Informatica managing your customer’s data, your internal team can focus their attention on analytics. Analytics from accurate data can help develop the customer loyalty and engagement that is vital to both the future security of your business and continued collection of accurate data to feed your Big Data analysis.


[i] The Trust Advantage: How to Win with Big Data; bcg.perspectives November 2013

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Dive Deep into MDM at Informatica World 2014

Informatica World Conference 2014

We are happy to announce many opportunities to add to your MDM knowledge at this year’s Informatica World Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference will run between May 13-15 and will feature many MDM sessions within the conference agenda and a pre-conference MDM Day on May 12th focused solely on MDM and PIM sessions.

May 12: MDM Day, “Driving Value from Business-Critical Information”

After the overwhelming response to our New York MDM Day in February – we are hosting a pre-conference MDM Day with a laser focus on MDM and PIM. Attendance is free when you register for the full Informatica World Conference. This Day features more than 20 sessions to choose from and provides a chance to learn from experts such as St. Jude Medical, Citrix, and Quintiles, and network with various companies that apply MDM and PIM solutions. We’ll host an “Ask the Experts” table with systems integration partners and present Informatica best practices and product roadmaps.

What: MDM Day – Driving Value from Business-Critical Information
When: Pre-Conference, May 12th, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Where: Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas
How:
Sign Up Here for MDM Day (free with full conference registration)

May 13-15: 2014 Informatica World Conference – MDM Sessions

As the industry evolves, Informatica takes great effort to share our successes and bring our customers together to discuss their experiences in putting data strategies to work. This year, there will be more than a dozen sessions on MDM at the main conference, including:

  • Scaling MDM to Enterprise SizeLessons Learned from HP’s Ginormous Volume (HP)
  • Operational Insight for MDM (Zurich American Insurance)
  • Increasing Revenue and Retention in M&A (AutoTrader)
  • Using MDM to Build a Complex Solution for Dynamic Business (Thomson Reuters)
  • Two Distinct Best-in-Class MDM Implementations (McAfee-Intel Security and PwC)

Be sure to attend these and more to learn how industries from healthcare to retail are applying Informatica technologies to fit their objectives for data integration and management.

What:              Informatica World Conference
When:             May 13- 15th 2014
Where:           Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas
How:              Register Today!

Register today for the Informatica World Conference and make the most of your trip to Las Vegas with a free pre-conference MDM Day. Learn more about both events online, or contact me if you have any questions. See you in Vegas!

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Posted in Informatica World 2014, Master Data Management, Product Information Management | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

April in Vegas – Informatica a Sponsor at the Gartner Enterprise Information & MDM Summit

Vegas_Strip

Last month, our MDM Day Conference in New York confirmed that data management is a hot topic. As many have sought additional knowledge regarding best practices, next month’s Gartner Enterprise Information & MDM Summit will provide great learning opportunities. As a sponsor, Informatica will host two sessions focused on MDM in action during this event from April 2nd – 4th in Las Vegas.

On Thursday, April 3rd, Informatica will present alongside one of our clients, AutoTrader. We’ll discuss AutoTrader’s successful integration of its auto dealers, OEMs, and ad agencies, through the use of multidomain MDM. As a result of this, AutoTrader increased revenue through cross-sell and upsell, and also improved customer service and retention rates through a 360-degree view of relationships.

You will learn how to architect a real-time operational MDM hub integrating multiple acquired companies, establish cross-functional data governance, and measure ongoing data quality. Lastly, we will discuss what worked and didn’t with business stakeholders and how to mitigate risk.

What: Increasing Revenue and Retention in M&A: AutoTraders’ Operational MDM Case Study
When:
April 3rd, 10:15-11:15 AM
Where:
Pallazo D, Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas

Later that afternoon, I will present “Hybrid MDM Architecture: Scaling On-premise MDM to Hybrid Cloud Hub-of-Hubs.” This presentation will cover how MDM implementations begin by solving the most pressing business problem in a single hub. While these implementations are mostly on premise, they can expand to another use case, domain, or region, and might evolve to another MDM hub within the cloud or in a different country. Whatever the journey is, the question is clear: How do you integrate different hubs in a hybrid or federated hub-of-hubs MDM architecture?

Come to this session to learn how certain leading companies are solving this conundrum.

What: Hybrid MDM Architecture: Scaling On-premise MDM to Hybrid Cloud Hub-of-Hubs
When:
April 3rd, 1:15-1:35 PM
Where:
Exhibit Floor, Theater Area, Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas

Experience is the best way to learn – but second-best is to learn from someone else’s experience. We look forward to seeing you at the Gartner Enterprise Information & MDM Summit on Thursday, April 3rd.

Register Here for the Gartner Conference.

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Saint-Gobain sees “time to market improvement” using Informatica PIM

Every company wants to see a “time to market improvement.” The wisest companies know this is only possible once you’ve mastered your internal data. One such company is Saint-Gobain, a Netherlands-based distributor of building materials. Saint-Gobain has accelerated and enhanced their customer’s multichannel experience using Informatica Product Information Management (PIM). Using Informatica PIM, Saint-Gobain has unleashed the potential of their information in the following ways:

  1. Ecommerce product introduction: Before using Informatica PIM, it took about one week to update a product to the website – now it is done within a few minutes.
  2. Everywhere commerce: The mobile app helps construction workers, on-site, to learn the details and stock availability of nearly 100,000 products and parts.
  3. Cross-selling: In addition to selling roof tiles, Saint-Gobain is also offering additional materials and tools as an up-sell.
  4. Retail stores: In addition to direct distribution, St. Gobain also sells through retailers. These specialty retailers need to create individual customer quotes which contain potential cross-sell and up-sell items. With Informatica PIM the retailers can create these custom quotes more effectively.

In the video below, Ron Kessels, Saint-Gobain’s Deputy Director of E-Business, talks about how they bring products to market more quickly while creating more opportunities for up-selling building supplies.

If you’d like to learn how your retail business can bring products to market more quickly, consider attending the Informatica World 2014 RETAIL PATH. This collection of sessions will show how to create unique customer experiences with relevant information, analytics, and relationships between data and people. In addition, the pre-conference MDM Day offers a track on “Omnichannel Commerce and Supplier Optimization”.

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Posted in Informatica World 2014, Master Data Management, Product Information Management, Retail, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

MDM for Utilities: Data Revives a 100 Year-Old Business Model

In both Europe and North America, there’s something profoundly different about today’s Utility Bill. Today’s bill goes well beyond the amount of money you owe for service that month. Today your Utility Bill is full of DATA. Perhaps it contains baseline analytics around usage and temperature, over a twelve month span. Perhaps it contains additional warranties for the power lines that go from the street to your property (typically not covered for repairs by the utility).  In fact, recently, even 3rd party companies have been sending me mail, offering to engage in a fixed-rate payment plan to smooth out my cash flow from the customary projected (from last year) vs actual (read) usage readings. Since smart readers are cropping up everywhere, I was wondering why this “actual vs plan” was still practice, even in the most urban of environments.

MDM for Utilities

Keep flipping-the-switch profitable. Source: thetyee.ca

In fact, a modern utility company has far more intricate data than a consumer sees on a bill. Behind the scenes, utilities leverage a plethora of data pools. Utility companies now have robust asset management, job order and scheduling systems. In addition, they use advanced analytics that monitor sensor data to predict maintenance needs. Mostly importantly, utilities run monthly analytics to prepare rate case requests with local regulators. These are then used to lock in new cost-plus structures for local and business billing in the years ahead.

Unfortunately, most of these applications sit in geographical or departmental silos, and only connect with each other in batch mode, if at all.  These data silos make utilities susceptible to frequent, costly data clean-up projects. These Data clean-up projects always surface the Utility’s shortcomings with regard to data standardization, duplication, linkage and hierarchical structuring. However, until recently, few Utilities were willing to invest to ensure that the newly cleaned data pools remained clean.

Enter MDM for Utilities

Master Data Management is the lynch pin for resolving Utility data issues. Without a clean, enriched, truthful picture of substation, breaker, valve, pump and line information, how can an operator adequately document the need for a rate hike? MDM can help answer questions like:

  • Was that breaker really installed in back in 1900?
  • Or is the year 1900 simply the default date for this data field?
  • Does the substation design mirror what was actually installed?
  • Is the breaker physically located where it is supposed to be?
  • Am I paying maintenance for a breaker that is actually owned by another operator?
  • Why am I sending a crew to inspect equipment that was deemed in-working-order one month earlier?
  • Is the housing development meter really located where the installing contractor claims it was installed?

Without MDM, utilities face all sorts of potential problems:

  1. Maintenance budgets can be either underfunded or overfunded
  2. Job vs bill requests can fail to align with local county delineations
  3. New housing construction can be significantly underbid

MDM for Utilities When a Utility operator uses the wealth of data they possess to optimize their operations, they inevitably reap financial benefits. The Utility company of the future invests in the maintained integrity of their data pool, rather than continually wasting cycles bodies on quarterly data cleansing. To learn how your company can do the same, please register for our Utility Industry MDM webinar on April 1 at 10 AM PST. In the webinar, Informatica and Noah Consulting will address the use cases and financial value MDM can bring to the utility industry.

Disclaimer: Recommendations and illustrations contained in this post are estimates only and are based entirely upon information provided by the prospective customer and on our observations and benchmarks.  While we believe our recommendations and estimates to be sound, the degree of success achieved by the prospective customer is dependent upon a variety of factors, many of which are not under Informatica’s control and nothing in this post shall be relied upon as representative of the degree of success that may, in fact, be realized and no warranty or representation of success, either express or implied, is made.

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Posted in Master Data Management, Utilities & Energy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Was Your Last Data Migration Project On Time and On Budget?

Data Migration ProjectData migration projects are notorious for going over budget and over time. These large projects typically cost around $875,000 and an average of 30% of that is due to project overruns. In today’s fast-paced, big data era, organizations cannot afford these missteps. Unfortunately, many companies treat major data projects as one-off events. This approach leads to product launch delays, produces no re-usable assets or best practices, and presents an outsized risk to business objectives.

I look forward to sharing how the successful organizations we work with have combated these issues using Master Data Management (MDM) as a platform for systems consolidation, migration, and upgrade projects. MDM accomplishes the following:

  • Creates authoritative, trustworthy data
  • Simplifies migration architecture using a hub-and-spoke model
  • Maintains data consistency across new and old systems post-migration
  • Enables reuse of data, mappings, and rules for the next migration project

In summary, MDM allows organizations to minimize risk and increase the speed of data migration.

To address this topic, I will be hosting a webinar titled “MDM as Platform for Systems Consolidation, Migration and Upgrade” on March 19th at 2:00 PM Eastern. In this webinar, you will learn about:

  • Challenges faced in systems consolidation, migration and upgrades
  • Solutions MDM brings to address these challenges in pre-migration, during-migration, and post-migration phases
  • Examples of companies using MDM to manage data migration as a repeatable process
  • Tips for expanding the use of MDM beyond data migration for operational and analytical purposes

Join me to learn how MDM works in practice and to gain understanding of how it can help make your next systems consolidation, migration, or upgrade the most efficient and effective yet. Sign up today for the webinar on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

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Posted in Data Migration, Master Data Management | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Surprising Link Between Hurricanes and Strawberry Pop-Tarts: Brought to you by Clean, Consistent and Connected Data

What do you think Wal-Mart’s best-seller is right before a hurricane? If you guessed water like I did, you’d be wrong. According to this New York Times article, “What Wal-Mart Knows About Customers’ Habits” the retailer sells 7X more strawberry Pop-Tarts in Florida right before a hurricane than any other time. Armed with predictive analytics and a solid information management foundation, the team stocks up on strawberry Pop-Tarts to make sure they have enough supply to meet demand.

Andrew Donaher advises IT leaders to ask business  leaders how much bad data is costing them.

Andrew Donaher
advises IT leaders to ask business
leaders how much bad data is costing them.

I learned this fun fact from Andrew Donaher, Director of Information Management Strategy at Groundswell Group, a consulting firm based in western Canada that specializes in information management services. In this interview, Andy and I discuss how IT leaders can increase the value of data to drive business value, explain how some IT leaders are collaborating with business leaders to improve predictive analytics, and share advice about how to talk to business leaders, such as the CFO about investing in an information management strategy.

Q. Andy, what can IT leaders do to increase the value of data to drive business value?

A. Simply put, each business leader in a company needs to focus on achieving their goals. The first step IT leaders should take is to engage with each business leader to understand their long and short-term goals and ask some key questions, such as:

  • What type of information is critical to achieving their goals?
  • Do they have the information they need to make the next decision or take the next best action?
  • Is all the data they need in house? If not, where is it?
  • What challenges are they facing when it comes to their data?
  • How much time are people spending trying to pull together the information they need?
  • How much time are people spending fixing bad data?
  • How much is this costing them?
  • What opportunities exist if they had all the information they need and could trust it?
You need a solid information management strategy to make the shift from looking into the rear-view mirror realizing the potential business value of predictive analytics.

If you want to get the business value you’re expecting by shifting from rear-view mirror style reporting to predictive analytics, you need to use clean, consistent and connected data

Q. How are IT leaders collaborating with business partners to improve predictive analytics?

A. Wal-Mart’s IT team collaborated with the business to improve the forecasting and demand planning process. Once they found out what was important, IT figured out how to gather, store and seamlessly integrate external data like historical weather and future weather forecasts into the process. This enabled the business to get more valuable insights, tailor product selections at particular stores, and generate more revenue.

Q. Why is it difficult for IT leaders to convince business leaders to invest in an information management strategy?

A. In most cases, business leaders don’t see the value in an information management strategy or they haven’t seen value before. Unfortunately this often happens because IT isn’t able to connect the dots between the information management strategy and the outcomes that matter to the business.

Business leaders see value in having control over their business-critical information, being able to access it quickly and to allocate their resources to get any additional information they need. Relinquishing control takes a lot of trust. When IT leaders want to get buy-in from business leaders to invest in an information management strategy they need to be clear about how it will impact business priorities. Data integration, data quality and master data management (MDM) should be built into the budget for predictive or advanced analytics initiatives to ensure the data the business is relying on is clean, consistent and connected.

Q: You liked this quotation from an IT leader at a beer manufacturing company, “We don’t just make beer. We make beer and data. We need to manage our product supply chain and information supply chain equally efficiently.”

A.What I like about that quote is the IT leader was able to connect the dots between the primary revenue generator for the company and the role data plays in improving organizational performance. That’s something that a lot of IT leaders struggle with. IT leaders should always be thinking about what’s the next thing they can do to increase business value with the data they have in house and other data that the company may not yet be tapping into.

Q. According to a recent survey by Gartner and the Financial Executives Research Foundation, 60% of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are investing in analytics and improved decision-making as their #1 IT priority. What’s your advice for IT Leaders who need to get buy-in from the CFO to invest in information management?

A. Read your company’s financial statements, especially the Management Discussion and Analysis section. You’ll learn about the company’s direction, what the stakeholders are looking for, and what the CFO needs to deliver. Offer to get your CFO the information s/he needs to make decisions and to deliver. When you talk to a CFO about investing in information management, focus on the two things that matter most:

  1. Risk mitigation: CFOs know that bad decisions based on bad information can negatively impact revenue, expenses and market value. If you have to caveat all your decisions because you can’t trust the information, or it isn’t current, then you have problems. CFOs need to trust their information. They need to feel confident they can use it to make important financial decisions and deliver accurate reports for compliance.
  2. Opportunity: Once you have mitigated the risk and can trust the data, you can take advantage of predictive analytics. Wal-Mart doesn’t just do forecasting and demand planning. They do “demand shaping.” They use accurate, consistent and connected data to plan events and promotions not just to drive inventory turns, but to optimize inventory and the supply chain process. Some companies in the energy market are using accurate, consistent and connected data for predictive asset maintenance. By preventing unplanned maintenance they are saving millions of dollars, protecting revenue streams, and gaining health and safety benefits.

To do either of these things you need a solid information management plan to manage clean, consistent and connected information.  It takes a commitment but the pays offs can be very significant.

Q. What are the top three business requirements when building an information management and integration strategy?
A: In my experience, IT leaders should focus on:

  1. Business value: A solid information management and integration strategy that has a chance of getting funded must be focused on delivering business value. Otherwise, your strategy will lack clarity and won’t drive priorities. If you focus on business value, it will be much easier to gain organizational buy-in. Get that dollar figure before you start anything. Whether it is risk mitigation, time savings, revenue generation or cost savings, you need to calculate that value to the business and get their buy-in.
  2. Trust: When people know they can trust the information they are getting it liberates them to explore new ideas and not have to worry about issues in the data itself.
  3. Flexibility: Flexibility should be banked right into the strategy. Business drivers will evolve and change. You must be able to adapt to change. One of the most neglected, and I would argue most important, parts of a solid strategy is the ability to make continuous small improvements that may require more effort than a typical maintenance event, but don’t create long delays. This will be very much appreciated by the business. We work with our clients to ensure that this is addressed.
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Posted in Business/IT Collaboration, Data Integration, Data Quality, Enterprise Data Management, Master Data Management, Partners, Retail | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

MDM Day in New York a Huge Hit, Thanks to YOU!

MDM DayBeyond our wildest expectations—not to mention our original room reservations—the Third MDM Day event on February 19th was a tremendous success, a “three-peat” if you will. Expecting 100 attendees, we had nearly 500 registrations and a crowd of 350 who braved the weather, including a quarter of whom traveled from outside the tri-state area, to join us in New York City for a wall-to-wall day of MDM discussion and presentations.

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Informatica Riding High about the MDM Forrester Wave™

Forrester MDM Wave I have the pleasure of boasting that Informatica was positioned as a leader on the latest Forrester Wave™ Report covering MDM Solutions. We are so pleased in fact, that we want to share the report with you – for free.

Click on the link below to receive a free copy of the full Forrester Research report, The Forrester Wave™: Master Data Management Solutions, Q1 2014.

The report used a combination of four data sources to assess the strengths and weaknesses of selected solutions:

  • Hands-on lab evaluations
  • Vendor surveys
  • Product demos
  • Customer reference calls

The vendors were chosen based on product fit, customer success and Forrester client demand. The report evaluated vendors on 65 criteria which were grouped in three high-level categories – current offering, strategy and market presence.

Informatica was noted for our strength in mastering and integrating data. The report noted that we “define the master domain across the data ecosystem.” In their interviews with customers, Forrester reported, “Customers purchasing Informatica MDM are often looking for an out-of-the-box solution to solve particularly complex business challenges impacted by master data.” They noted that Informatica’s specialization “helps customers link master data management to business outcomes.”

As a service provider, we were particularly pleased with the results of Forrester’s calls with our clients. After all, the proof of a truly superior product is in its day-to-day, real-world operation. The reports states, “Informatica continues to compete and increasingly closes sales in head-to-head reviews. Clients state its strengths are configurability, scalability, performance, and understanding of the business impact.”

But please, read it for yourself! We want to share this good news by offering a free copy of the Forrester Wave™ Report, Q1 2014. We have built a great team here at Informatica and we proudly believe that the study results support  our approach and performance.

Want to see why Informatica is riding high about the results? Click here.

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Posted in Master Data Management | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment