As a growing number of businesses are embarking on comprehensive master data management (MDM) strategies, more and more of them are realizing the importance of having business users actively participate in all facets of their project. In fact, the experts agree that the most successful MDM initiatives are those that come to fruition through a close collaboration between the IT professionals who will deploy and support the environment, and the non-technical workers who will actually use the master data generated.
A recent study from Ventana Research indicates that it should be business people – not IT staff – that serve as the driving force behind MDM. The analyst firm claims that a company’s success will hinder greatly on its ability to rally support all the way up the chain of command – from end users and department managers, to senior and C-level executives.
But, why is the involvement of functional representatives so important?
Master data must be directly tied to day-to-day activities, as well as broad-reaching corporate goals and objectives, in order to be truly useful. David Loshin, president of Knowledge Integrity, Inc., a consultancy that specializes in enterprise-scale MDM development states that “MDM has to be driven by business needs, otherwise it may turn out to be just another database that must be synchronized with all the other ones.”
Yet, IT staff members simply don’t have the subject matter expertise needed to truly understand what master data is needed, why it is important, and how it will be used. For example, few of them know how master data will be applied in the context of customer, sales, or financial analysis, and therefore – alone – will be unable to develop and execute an MDM plan that most effectively satisfies the needs of master data consumers.
User adoption is crucial to the success of any technology effort, and MDM is no exception. If members of the user community are involved in the creation of master data at the outset, the more likely they will be to embrace the environment once it has been implemented, and to use master data regularly to support and enhance their daily operations. And, the more business people who consistently leverage master data, the more of an impact it will have on company performance.
MDM is an ongoing process, one that requires continuous refinement in order to deliver maximum value over time and address evolving needs as they emerge. Therefore, the user community must participate actively in MDM maintenance, in order to ensure the highest level of quality and accuracy at all times.
Through teamwork, communication, and collaboration, your IT team and end users can work together to ensure the success of your MDM initiative.