There is often a debate with MDM around ‘operational’, ‘analytical’ or ‘registry’ styles and which one is the best to use. Large amounts of time will be spent weighing up which of these three technical styles is the ‘right’ one. The reality is however that the biggest challenge for companies looking to take control of Master Data is not the technical style for the solution but the challenge of how the business operations will run. This is where MDM programmes should really start with questions like
- What is our definition of Customer? (or Product, or Location, or anything else in the ‘POL’ of POLE)
- How will be ensure that these standards will be applied?
- How will be measure its success?
Now these are the Standards, Policies and Control groups for any Master Data effort and its these that will ultimately determine the success or failure of MDM in a way that a technical solution cannot. Indeed a technical solution is best placed when it is able to automate these elements rather than try and put in place technology where it doesn’t fit the business operations. Running Standards, Policy and Control linked but separately is a good idea for a few reasons, firstly standards groups shouldn’t be bogged down in ‘well we can’t do that today’. If you agree that a certain set of attributes is required then it is down to Policy groups to ensure that happens and Control groups to monitor it. If a Policy group knows it isn’t possible yet then it should institute the business change required.
None of this requires technology support, it is just that technology support often industrialises these elements so it is possible for them to succeed. This is the real reality of MDM styles.
There are MDM Operations and MDM technical styles, you can certainly do MDM Operations without the technology and succeed in your goals (if not in your efficiency) but you simply cannot be successful no matter what MDM technical style you choose if your MDM Operations are unable to define and then deliver the level of control required to succeed.
Understand MDM Operations first then automate with technology