Business Value Should Reign


Bill Hewitt

I read this morning Evan Levy’s excellent blog “Blind Vendor Allegiance Trumps Utility.” In it, he laments the number of companies he spoke to at the recent Gartner MDM Summit who identified their leading MDM vendor (based on being a [Microsoft / IBM / SAP / Oracle / SAS] shop) before even defining their requirements.

Unfortunately, this attitude is representative of a subset of the market that tries to treat MDM with an IT tool rather than a business one. In our experience, this approach usually fails to deliver tangible business value quickly.

We’ve all said it over and over again: The success of a master data management program hinges not just on business involvement, but also on business ownership. Why then would you select a tool based on its supposed IT-fit before determining if it will address your business needs? If we ignore for the moment that most MDM tools are based on acquisitions and often not truly integrated into a megavendor “stack,” the approach still seems to be counter-productive to the best practices we as an industry have identified for MDM.

Instead, focus first on your business needs. Identify the critical components of what you’re trying to accomplish – where you’re going to get tangible business value. Then select a tool based on its ability to support the creation of that business value and the business process of managing master data, not on whether the logo on the front of the box matches.

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