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I attended wanting to get a jump up to get started doing MDM & DG and it has certainly done that. Excellent!
-2013 Conference Attendee

How often do you sit at a conference for days and wish it hadn't ended. Great sessions today at #MDMDG
-2013 Conference Attendee

At #MDMDG listening to @azornes perform his annual rip through the top 15 #MDM vendor solutions. Fun (for data geeks) and
-2013 Conference Attendee

Q&A with Aaron Zornes

Q&A with Aaron Zornes

Aaron Zornes
Chief Research Officer
The MDM Institute
Conference Chair
MDM & Data Governance Summit

Q&A with Aaron Zornes on the important synergy between master data management and data governance to deliver a "single view of the customer/product/supplier/citizen" across the enterprise.

Master data management (MDM) is increasingly a vital business strategy for companies to provide operational and IT cost savings as well as drive business growth. Join us for this year’s MDM & Data Governance Summit on June 26-27, in Toronto, where we’ll provide case studies and best practices on MDM for customer, product, supplier and reference data, as well as MDM for big data and social network data. A perennial favorite topic (as noted by our conference title) is the confluence of MDM and data governance. Analyst firms such the MDM Institute and Gartner agree on the importance of data governance to the success of MDM programs, and you will, too, after browsing our brief Q&A on this vital career topic.

Q. What are the better career paths for someone getting started in MDM and data governance?

A. Given that Gartner recently pegged the worldwide MDM software market to hit $1.9 billion in 2012 (21% increase over 2011), it would seem wise to investigate the career opportunities this will open up.

One of the more common paths is for an organization to take their best and brightest IT staff and cycle them through the current key initiatives. In past years this meant data warehouse, e-commerce and CRM. Today, those same fast-tracked IT pros are being asked to take up master data management (MDM), business process management (BPM), and/or data governance. Concurrently, we see a lot of enterprise or data/solution architects being tasked with the new role of Director of MDM or Director of Information Governance. This is a common means to a 15-20% compensation bump without changing firms or relocating. If the enterprise is savvy, it will also create some golden handcuffs to help keep these multi-hatted technologists from jumping ship.

There are basically two paths to consider: product-neutral or product-specific. Product-neutral roles are less amenable to offshoring or outsourcing as they rely heavily upon local geographic presence and strong communication and language skills. Examples include: Enterprise Data Architect, Enterprise Data Modeler, Directors of Centers of Excellence (COEs), and Data Steward/Trustee. Product-specific roles such as programmers, QA testers, etc., are at risk to traditional outsourcing and not advisable even though there currently is a huge shortage of IT pros with specific MDM experience using the likes of IBM MDM (including Initiate MDS), Informatica MDM (Siperian), Oracle MDM, and SAP NetWeaver MDM/MDG.

Q. What is driving IT interest in MDM and data governance solutions?

A. Managing strategic data assets is foundational to a service-oriented architecture (SOA), which in turn facilitates business process management (BPM). These statements make MDM an enticing proposition for many executives but to achieve these results, a proper master data governance strategy must be in place.

When deploying MDM, a proper data governance discipline should consider the business drivers, project scope, roles and people filling each role, policies and procedures, data quality, inheritability, social norms, and the business operating model.

Master data governance is more than a single product or process; rather, it is an ecosystem of products, processes, people and information.

Q. Why is master data governance so important?

A. MDM provides a trusted, consistent view of key information assets across the enterprise – ranging from customers, products, and suppliers to locations and more. In large corporations, MDM is becoming a business transformation strategy as the cornerstone of every critical business process and business decision.

Based on quarterly surveys of the MDM Institute Business Council™-- which is comprised of more than 35,000 subscribers to the MDM Alert newsletter engaged in MDM and data governance projects- the perennial top five business drivers for MDM initiatives are summarized as: (1) compliance and regulatory reporting; (2) economies of scale for mergers and acquisitions (M&A); (3) synergies for cross-sell and up-sell; (4) legacy system integration and augmentation; and (5) “once and done” economies and customer satisfaction.

One of the greatest challenges is the political arena (governance), which necessarily accelerates or brakes the critical momentum of both tactical and enterprise MDM. While tactical MDM marts may be successful via judicious efforts of data stewards who focus on the data quality of a singular domain, when the business utilization of master data expands across departments and lines of business then the government’s governance framework is essential. Each and every consuming and producing organization has a duty or role in the governance of master data. For example, once it is determined that master data is a corporate asset then that data must be protected across its life cycle from creation or capture through its retirement and will include such critical issues as accessibility and compliance. Unfortunately, most of the marketed MDM solutions do not adequately address this formal requirement.

Q. What are some of the latest best practices evolving around master data governance?

A.Acknowledge that manual data governance is error-prone, time-consuming and unable to ensure compliance or measure business impact.

Don’t settle for passive/downstream data governance, but rather demand proactive/upstream data governance.

Realize that data steward consoles are more than demo-ware for headless applications, but substantially less than integrated or proactive master data governance.

Don’t expect data governance maturity assessments to provide a road map out of anarchy.

Prepare to spend US$250,000 - US$500,000 for an initial master data governance solution.

Q. How will the "master data governance" market evolve?

A. Even after several years of healthy adoption rates, the data governance market as a whole is actually just beginning its trajectory toward broad adoption and deep penetration.

Moreover, during the next five years, we will also see buyer behavior migrating from point products (i.e., to address customer or product master data governance only) to enterprise data governance (supporting multiple entities and data domains such as customer, product, supplier, location, price, etc.) — and, to a lesser extent, from software products to hosted or managed services (cloud-based software as a hosted service).

Concurrently, the mega application package vendors will increasingly bundle in industry- and application-specific data governance offerings as a general trend (which complicates the revenue projections for the master data governance market as a whole).