Mastery of Data Management Is Latest Hot Topic

This week’s new buzz phrase is master data management, apparently a hot topic for the world’s largest companies, according to Kalido. The company, an enterprise data warehousing and master data management software provider, surveyed attendees at its annual user group meeting last week, and found almost two-thirds of its customers see tackling master data management (MDM) as a top-three priority for their organizations in the year ahead.

Even so, Kalido says, 90 percent of respondents believe the IT industry has neglected the issue of MDM.

Master data is business reference information such as customers, brands, suppliers and financial indicators enterprises analyze to assess their performance. One hundred percent of respondents said management of master data was either important or absolutely vital for effective enterprise information strategies.

When asked why MDM is needed, the top two answers from respondents were to develop standard business definitions (56 percent) and to improve data governance (56 percent). The central role MDM plays in enabling successful business intelligence reporting was also highlighted. Fifty percent of respondents viewed MDM as key to generating faster and more accurate business reporting, and 41 percent said gaining a consolidated view of enterprise performance was a major business driver.

There’s an emerging trend for business executives to take ownership of MDM instead of the IT department, Kalido says. Forty-one percent of survey respondents said ownership of master data by the business is a key driver for implementing master data management solutions.

"Unilever is implementing organizational structures and processes to improve the quality and timeliness of enterprise information,” says Paul Highams, technical architect, Unilever Global Solutions. “Master data management plays a key role in this strategy and is now the responsibility of finance, not the IT department."

The CFO and the finance department emerged as the primary internal customer for MDM projects, as cited by almost half of the survey respondents. The chief marketing officer and the sales and marketing function emerged as the second most likely internal customer.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a contributing editor for Enterprise Systems. He can be reached at [email protected].