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Master Data Management – How to make it a business decision.

shutterstock_77002084Previous articles have tackled if and why Data Management should be a business decision, now we move on to the most difficult question – How do you ensure that the Master Data Strategy is owned, facilitated, sponsored and implemented by business users.

It is not a simple task. Many business users do not understand why Data Management is of import. In fact, if an organisation gets as far as implementing a strategy, there is often resistance in the business, a feeling of “if it isn’t broken, why fix it?” The difficulty is that without a solid data management foundation, no one will be able to identify if it is “broken” in the first place.

There are two or three key elements that must be addressed in order to embed MDM strategies in the business, first and most probably of greatest importance is to have a business sponsor. Usually this sponsor will hold a senior management role in the organisation and have a clear understanding of the criticality of accurate data. With accurate data business decision makers can take informed decisions about the organisation. But how does one identify this sponsor. Sometimes it will be a natural progression that stems from other data related projects such as Business Intelligence, for example Finance departments quickly realise if the numbers are different from a lack of consistent underlying data. This inconsistency is frustrating and will eventually lead to a return to the “old way” of doing things, manipulating data in spreadsheets (outside of the implemented BI solution), going on “gut feel”. When this happens the effort and money invested in a BI project is wasted, and often IT departments or the software takes the blame for this. It is a this point that the traditional owners of Master Data need to engage with the business.

Identifying why and where there is inconsistent data, understanding what is truly required by users and integrating it into everyday roles and responsibilities is key.

Another way to overcome the challenges of integrating MDM into the business is to create a BICC (Business Intelligence Competency Centre).

Usually a BICC isn’t even considered until an organisation is mature in the use of Business Intelligence, however here at InforData Consulting we believe this could be the best way to begin a Data Management project.

Bringing together roles from across the business and IT to create such a centre will ensure that you have business buy in from the beginning. The end goals will be clear and will result in something tangible, making a business case for Data Management much more acceptable to those who hold the purse strings. As with any project there are challenges and issues as well as benefits. It’s important to understand how a BICC should be structured and the types of skills need to make it a success. More information on BICC will follow in later articles.

Engaging with the business is never simple. Time constraints, lack of understanding and an unwillingness to change from the world they know is a challenge faced in every project. But find those key users, those who will benefit from having accurate, reliable data and convince them that it will make their lives easier and you are halfway there.

Using specialist consultancies can help create your business case, identify suitable members for the BICC, review current processes and suggest easier, quicker and more efficient ways to manage the data, freeing up time to concentrate on development and growth within the organisation. InforData can assist with this, whether it’s a couple of days advice or a full implementation project our team can help you achieve your goals.

Find out more at www.infordataconsulting.com

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