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Master Data Management – Why it should be a business decision.

shutterstock_75156478Recently InforData Consulting posed the question; Master Data Management – Is it a business decision? Traditionally the focus for a majority of data related projects has been the purchasing of software and an IT implementation. However, without strong processes and governance, any data management project will be less effective than it could be. In this article, we will take things a step further and try to explain why we believe Master Data Management should be a business decision.

IT departments have long been held responsible for not only the day to day performance of systems and programmes, but also for software selection, implementation and requirements. But should this really be the case? Over the last few years the gap between IT and “the business” has been narrowing, in particular in the case of Performance Management and Business Intelligence, nonetheless where Data Management Projects are concerned these seem to still remain predominantely in the remit of IT. Yet, at the very core of delivering an effective Performance Management and Business Intelligence solution lies Data. The old cliché “Put rubbish in and you will get rubbish out” remains true, without good data (Data Quality) reports and analytics could be inaccurate, incomplete and uncontrolled and still business decision makers rely on these reports to drive the business forward. Putting process in place throughout the business, making business units the owners of Data Governance and Data Quality can only assist in producing better data in the first place, and keeping the level of quality high moving forward. IT departments alone cannot do this. They must liaise with the business and try to persuade key personnel that this is a vital part of Data Management, not necessarily an easy task.

The key to any successful MDM project is to have a unified team, looking to deliver to a standardized approach. As with any project each team member needs a specific role, be that governance, data stewardship, implementation or project management. All these roles are essential. Hand in hand with these essential roles, should be a business analyst and a project sponsor from the business. Whether your BA is one or many, internal or external the key deliverables are to understand the current processes, what needs to be achieved, the business requirements and how and where improvements and consolidation can take place.

It is these requirements, along with data stewards and owners, that will drive and determine the success of your long term data management strategy and ensure that the data owned by your organisation is one of its most valuable and useful assets. If we accept that data is a valuable business asset it becomes very clear why data management in all its guises should be a strategy and project that is led by the business and integrated within the core IT processes.

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