In this two part series weblog, I have put together 10 questions that have helped customers understand the importance of SAP MDM within their enterprise. In the first part, I focus on business aspect of master data management while in the second part I will focus on IT aspect of MDM. I hope you find it useful. Please provide your comments and feedback. Also, let me know if there are important questions that need to be answered during MDM implementation.
Is management of master data strategic to your enterprise?
Master data has always been high importance to organizations but many times people don’t pay much attention to maintaining and managing master data properly. One need to ensure that management and maintenance of master data is not only of high importance to the enterprise but also strategic in terms of having reliable and accurate information management. Master data management strategy should encompass but not limited to achieving accurate and reliable master data, governance, maintaining quality of master data and ultimately achieving better results.
What is master data for your enterprise?
Generally, master data comprise of customer, supplier, product, employee, etc but is not limited to only these objects. For Oil and Gas industry, master data object can be oil well, while for food and drug industry it could be chemical composition. One need to define master data for the enterprise and should specify exclusively why.
Where and how master data is being used in your enterprise?
Once the definition of master data is clear, it is important to find out where and how master data is being used in the enterprise. One can not restrict its view to application only because sometimes use of master data could be beyond application boundaries. E.g. product which may get originated in an application can be used in a marketing campaign and may have totally different attributes than application could have. This is very important exercise of overall MDM implementation because this will define characteristics of the master data object. Once all the attributes and characteristics of master object are clear, one can start linking them to software applications.
Do you have master data management processes?
Whenever this question gets asked, one responds back with return question – ‘do I need one’? And answer is always yes. Many times people get confused between a process and a workflow. Every organization has processes and sure they have for master data management as well. Question needs to be asked around – is current process to manage and maintain master data enough? Having well defined process – from creation of master data to its retirement through retention and maintenance over its lifecycle is very important and should be well thought of during SAP MDM implementation.
How do you maintain master data quality in your organization?
What does it mean? We don’t maintain it, our IT systems maintain quality of data – this is the most common answer I had received so far. But, I must admit that some companies are ahead on this aspect than others and I realized, based on statistical data that was presented to me that enterprise needs to think of having processes and procedures to maintain data quality.
Have you implemented Master data governance?
Governance is a hot topic everywhere, from corporate governance to IT governance, it has taken important turn in the way we manage things. Having an authoritative body who defines policies and procedures, implementation of those policies and procedures and then monitoring them through out is a general purpose for governance. The same applies to master data management and it can be part of overall IT governance or information governance but one should thought about as overall MDM strategy.