Master Data Management Comes Of Age

Recent summit demonstrates that people are comfortable with the core MDM concept and ready to move into other areas like unstructured master data.
By the way, who owns your data governance and/or master data management program? Don't sweat it--there's no one right answer.

Understand how your company operates--the people, the business architecture, the decision-making processes--and that will help you find a way. (My own two cents: Look for the most motivated people, what one speaker called the "friends of data." They're the people you want on your side. Otherwise, as someone plaintively said: "Nobody cares about data.")

And if you're wondering why data governance is so hard, there's no surprises here: It's the people we have to deal with!

A few tips for those embarking on the data governance and MDM journey:

Assess your organizational readiness; that will make or break your MDM program.

Take time to define your architecture and foresee, if not forestall, architectural roadblocks; the more you plan this out, the fewer surprises you'll encounter.

Prepare for the long haul but include frequent stops --i.e. budget for many years and build around quarterly deliverables.

To Sum It All Up

Attendees were interested and engaged, which is a good thing--often we learn as much from fellow attendees as from the vendors and canned presentations--however there were fewer vendors than I expected (the mistake might have been in my expectations). Among vendors notably missing were the consulting biggies, as well as offshore vendors other than Cognizant. Offshore stalwarts like Infosys and Tata were absent altogether. Wipro presented but didn't have a booth. Among other vendors, IBM presented but didn't have a booth. Oracle and CA had booths but didn't present.

Who had the best offering? Well, as the organizer put it in his closing comments: No single vendor has it all.

The vendor that had me most interested was Ataccama. What’s not to like about a product that doesn't cost millions of dollars in hardware, software, and service, yet appears nearly as effective and a darned sight more user-friendly than other products? It just might be the one MDM product the big and established vendors don't want you to know about.

Rajan Chandras has more than 20 years of experience advising and leading business technology initiatives, with a focus on strategy and information management. Write him at rchandras at gmail dot com.

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