What MDM stakeholders want to know (part four)

Product Director, Master Data Governance

At the very strategic level, the board of directors and CEO want to know how the equity value and market capitalization of the company change as a result of the MDM, MDM-empowered applications, big data and analytics.

Executive management wishes to know which divisions/lines of business (LOBs) will benefit from the MDM initiative and how. They want to hear that divisional leadership supports the initiative and understands its benefits, risks and costs.

A CFO may require ROI and NPV calculations. Often, for a CFO, the costs of the initiative are more important than the benefits because the CFO may rely on the business leadership opinion that the change promised by the initiative is indeed required.

The CFO wants to have a solid understanding of the initiative’s costs to prevent a potential long term cash flow issue. To achieve this, and gain the CFO’s support, the business case justification team must understand and communicate several things:

  • MDM solution to be implemented
  • Components to be used
  • Which processes will change
  • The resources required
  • An implementation roadmap detailed enough to substantiate cost estimates with a reasonable certainty

For large (Fortune 1000) firms a division can be considered an enterprise on its own. Then an enterprise MDM may be limited to the division or even a line of business (LOB). In this scenario the head of the LOB is in the role of the CEO from the MDM sponsorship perspective.

Even if the LOB management does not sponsor the initiative championed by their superior executive management, the LOB support is absolutely critical.

LOB leaders are looking to understand tactical changes in the LOB processes and user interfaces that the initiative will result in. They want to understand what resources from their organization will be engaged in the new MDM initiative and, thus, distracted from their current day job.

Information strategists and enterprise architects are looking to see how well the new MDM architecture will comply with open architecture standards and fit their enterprise architecture and big data vision. Operations management, database administrators and individuals that will be responsible for maintenance of MDM components have significant stakes in the MDM solution too. 

In our book, "Master Data Management and Customer Data Integration for a Global Enterprise," Alex Berson and I laid out key questions that a typical organization must understand to initiate an MDM program:

  • What business processes will change and how?
  • How will the equity value and market capitalization of the company change as a result of the MDM initiative?
  • What is the phase by phase and total project cost/ROI?
  • What will it take to accomplish transition to the new business processes, big data and analytics?
  • What additional skills and technology will have to be acquired and how?
  • Will the organizational structure be affected, and to what extent?
  • What legacy systems and functions will be affected and how?
  • How will the project be organized and planned?
  • What are the major milestones and releases?
  • Does the technology organization have adequate knowledge, resources and understanding of the industry best practices in order to translate business objectives into IT vision, strategy, actionable roadmap, project plans and successfully implement the project?
  • What are the investment and delivery risks and mitigation strategies?
  • What is the end state vision that would impact business and technology domains?
  • How should the current in-flight initiatives be modified, aligned and prioritized in light of starting an MDM initiative?
  • What is the success criteria for each phase, and for the project overall?
  • How will MDM enable big data and analytics initiatives to maximize their outcomes?

Each of these questions should be addressed with a reasonable level of completeness, even though enterprise programs like MDM have too many moving parts, uncertainties and dependencies to expect comprehensive answers to all of the questions above.

Finding the right balance between what must be understood at the beginning of the initiative versus what can be addressed later (during planning, design or implementation phases) is crucial.

Catch up on the entire series so far:

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