IT strategy driven MDM (part three)

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Product Director, Master Data Governance

About 50 percent of MDM programs are driven by IT organizations as an IT strategy initiative. This scenario makes MDM business cases more challenging since, typically, IT management cannot approach the business case problem with the same level of power and authority as business executive management, particularly in the business strategy driven MDM scenario.

IT strategy driven MDM efforts often place the greatest focus on implementations of MDM software and creation of the benchmark record—unfortunately leaving out the analysis of consuming applications and processes, including big data and analytics use cases that will be enabled by MDM for the consequent phases. This approach may cause problems in relationships with the business, result in end user adoption issues and can even cause the initiative to fail.

If this view dominates in the enterprise, an MDM initiative can be perceived by many as a massive infrastructure improvement project that requires significant efforts and investments while lacking tangible business and operational benefits. This is a common challenge for many MDM initiatives driven by IT organizations, and should be avoided at all costs.

Some even expressed an opinion that MDM initiatives driven by IT are doomed. In reality, many IT strategy driven initiatives succeed if they properly engage the business in a timely manner. Some IT leaders, especially those who spent over 15–20 years with the company, have acquired a broad understanding of business and operational issues and are well positioned to champion the initiative.

The challenges of MDM business cases grow with the number of stakeholders. Different groups of stakeholders see MDM from different angles and approach the funding/no-funding decision with different criteria and agendas. Thus, individuals responsible for a justification of MDM have to approach the business case from multiple perspectives and explore a variety of methods to tackle the business case justification problem properly.

Managers responsible for MDM business case justification should have a mindset of a sales person engaged in complex technical sales. The book Hope is Not a Strategy by Rick Page introduces the “Shark Chart” that describes a variety of stakeholder levels and roles. The overall approach and methodology in this book is exactly what the individuals responsible for MDM business case and justification should adopt.

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