The 3 (Master Data) Musketeers!

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The motto “All for one & one for all” rings most true in case of deriving insights from data with the 3 musketeers being Governance, Management & Implementation (Tool / Technology).   Governance is somewhat of a new cool kid on the block (our big data’s sibling).  Governance seems cool as its abstract – it’s […]

The motto “All for one & one for all” rings most true in case of deriving insights from data with the 3 musketeers being Governance, Management & Implementation (Tool / Technology).
 
Governance is somewhat of a new cool kid on the block (our big data’s sibling).  Governance seems cool as its abstract – it’s a framework, it’s a vision, it’s a mission, its ground-rules, it’s … COOL!
 
Ironically, usually what evades our understanding is termed as cool.  And so let’s first look at a real life perspective of governance.
 
Your life is governed by your Parents, Spouse, Kids, Siblings, Friends, Teachers, Employers, Government, etc.  Suffice to say that you are the only person NOT governing your life while everyone around you is.  You simply abide by the governing rules.
 
And that pretty much summarizes the true picture of governance.
 
Anyway, moving on to data governance in regards to master data.  Master data is core data – customer, product, location, etc.  Core data allows a transaction to come into existence, for instance, customer C1 bought product P1 at location L1 for a particular amount, on a particular day at a particular time.  
 
Master data has other flavors too but let’s limit it to the “transaction creator” role for now.  
 
Something that creates a transaction has to be important, rather has to be super important as such an entity keeps the business alive, keeps the moolah flowing.
 
Something super important must be handled with extreme care.
 
Handling with extreme care requires governance, management & implementation (tool / technology).
 
Governance defines the rules of engagement for master data elements all through their life-cycle starting with all sources, through their sustenance in a centralized repository, all the way to their usage by downstream systems as well as their consumption in real-time terms and more.
 
But then Governance needs to be managed & implemented.
 
Let’s build this out using the layman perspective of governance provided above.
 
Your Family governs your life through school where in miraculous grades are set as the vision and mission.  Teachers, study groups and others help manage your studies.  But then it’s you who has to study (sob, sob), it’s you who has to perform the “implementation”.
 
Governance, management & implementation have to be performed end-to-end, else it all remains abstract, all of it simply remains a concept. 
 
There are various tools and technologies in the market to implement MDM but then it’s not just limited to a single tool.  MDM comprises of data quality, metadata, master data, data publishing, ETL, cleansing, matching, standardizing, merging, validating, acquiring, etc. and so it’s a cacophony of myriad processes,  tools and technologies that go towards walking the master data governance & management walk.
 
Data is of various types but then as explained, master data is core data upon which businesses survive and hence master data needs to be the starting point!  Govern, manage and implement your master data correctly and rest will follow.
 
Concluding this with musketeer terminology: 
  • If data is the new oil then master data is the king of oils.
  • The 3 musketeers (governance, management & implementation) are needed to protect & serve the king!

//
Note: Though presented in a simplified manner, Governance remains a complex and comprehensive subject that has to be dealt with a deep sense of understanding and respect.  Capgemini provides an Information Governance Quick Start Framework that strongly assists & eases the process.
 

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