MDM Project: Capture Data At Source

Arun Gupta, Group Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Shoppers Stop defines what a Master Data Management strategy should be like.

Esha Birnur August 09, 2011 14:00:46 IST
MDM Project: Capture Data At Source

What are the specific challenges that enterprises face with respect to their MDM projects? How can these challenges be overcome?

The big challenge is to integrate multiple and disparate systems into a formal MDM solution.

This can be addressed by systemically reducing the number of existing systems and thereby cutting down on the integration points, which will result in a leaner MDM solution.

What factors should the CIO consider before choosing the MDM solution/vendor?

Before embarking on the MDM project, review the process; fix issues at source, if the problem is too complex, then look at MDM solutions.

MDM is a discipline that can be enabled by technology. Just the technology solution will not solve the problem over the long-term unless the process of capturing data at source is addressed. Complexity of the architecture with multiple source points or multiple systems editing the masters creates the need for a vendor solution. CIOs should consider simplifying the integration across multiple systems before evaluating MDM solutions.

What are the emerging trends you foresee in the area of Master Data Management?

MDM is becoming a focus area for industries who are in the growth paradigm as well as where the complexity of integrating multiple systems is a challenge. Adoption has been slow but it should become mainstream for most enterprises in the next 2-3 years. The challenge as presented by most technology companies is the lack of technology, but the real issue requires process change to fix the problem at source i.e to create a “single point of entry” and then the systems should be integrated.

This should not be done the other way round where the “master data” is pulled after the system integration process.

As the focus shifts from technology to what matters - Clean master data, companies will begin to reap benefits from a mix of process and technology.

Your views on MDM-as-a-service? What are the factors that will drive the adoption of MDM in the Cloud?

MDM as a service is an interesting concept; I believe that it will pose challenges in integration across the multiple technologies that need to connect to the service.

According to Gartner, by 2015, 15 percent of organisations will have added social media data about their customers to the customer master data attributes they manage in their MDM systems. What is your view on the social media integration with MDM and how critical is this aspect of MDM going to be moving forward?

Social media integration is still experimental; multiple identities and, in many cases, incorrect information in social media sites pose challenges. I believe this requires careful treading lest the insights generated are not aligned to what the reality indeed is.

In the coming years, customer-facing companies will attempt to integrate social media attributes to the master data to improve the understanding of the customer. Models will evolve but a ready framework that works across industries is a long way off.

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