Master Data Management Comes Full Circle

April 23, 2014

Image_Master Data Management Workers Around Table

One of the greatest validations you get from an analyst research firm like Gartner is corroboration on when a market has reached its potential. It was worth the time and wait over these past years to hear Gartner speak about Master Data Management (MDM) reaching that pinnacle of potential, which is typically judged by the tone and perspective of their client inquiries, at the recent Gartner MDM Summit in Las Vegas.

According to comments from various analysts, clients are not asking “What is MDM and why do I need it?”, but rather “OK, here is where I am in MDM – how do I fine-tune it?”. Great examples include those presented by Ellis Healthcare and Westinghouse Electric Company. Of course, MDM itself is only one aspect of “information governance” – a much broader term that now speaks to a full market that includes best practices, methodology, technology and lines of business for data. Yes, data has now become its own department! It was fascinating to hear that enterprises are now organizing around data as a corporate asset. As businesses and people engage and interact via internet, devices and developing technology, the resulting slew of new and growing data is invaluable for data departments as they add context and relevance to their existing information. We will now see clients asking “How relevant and real-time is my data”? Businesses that adopt this mantra will be much further ahead and their cycles to achieve financial success will become shorter and shorter.

In a recent blog, Andrew White, Research VP for MDM at Gartner stated,”[MDM] should always and in every case start with ‘what does the business use to describe what it does’ such as provide processes or services to consumers; or sell products to customers; or process loans for students. That is where the definition of master data starts. It should NOT start with a discussion by IT about frequency of use of common data across the application landscape”. This shift from IT use to business use points to a much larger role for master data, and for the job to be performed by the data department.

Gartner’s central focus on data at the MDM Summit and the many benefits they called out from addressing it through Information Governance, is all the validation I need to accept that MDM has come full circle.


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