Justifying Your MDM Strategy

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March 2nd, 2011


Why is getting your organization’s management to recognize the value of creating and using a Master Data Management (MDM) strategy so difficult? It seems that the concept of trying to create a strategy that would reduce errors, cleanse data and, in general, improve the organization’s ability to make their data much more useable would be an easy sell. Not so! The cost factor scares many in IT management, and those in the higher business positions do not necessarily understand the struggle that the organization faces each month when it comes time to produce reporting deliverables.

If you look up MDM in Wikipedia, you will find the following definitions and assertions:

“In computing, master data management (MDM) comprises a set of processes and tools that consistently defines and manages the non-transactional data entities of an organization (which may include reference data). MDM has the objective of providing processes for collecting, aggregating, matching, consolidating, quality-assuring, persisting and distributing such data throughout an organization to ensure consistency and control in the ongoing maintenance and application use of this information.”

The first step in moving this strategy forward is a painful yet enlightening exercise: You need to map out and flowchart the current business processes and steps that are being used to deliver the key reporting information for your organization.

If you are like the typical organization, you are going to find at the end of the exercise that members of the organization use a collection of spreadsheets, access databases, and a number of convoluted processes to create individual pieces of information. In all probability, you will also find that your business analysts have turned into ETL (Extraction, Transformation and Loading) specialists and are spending very little time doing business analysis. They are diverted instead to the business of downloading information from a variety of sources and using any means necessary to generate the numbers (Sales, Financial or other) required to drive the information flow within your organization. You are also going to find that in the window of time you have to deliver information, the majority of the effort required to supply it is being taken up by all of these hidden silos of data restatement, reclassification and massaging that somehow magically produce the information that is used to make key business decisions about your organization’s future.

It has been my experience that when you present the findings of this exercise to those who have to make decisions or certify the validity of the organizational numbers, the introduction of an MDM initiative becomes much easier. It only takes one of the cells of the many spreadsheets to have a wrong formula or a column in an access database to be transforming incorrectly to skew or invalidate the numbers. The reality of how easy it is to throw off your numbers, and the resulting cascade effect that can ultimately result in someone signing their name to a bottom line that’s wrong, hits home every time.

The white paper, “TopDown and Oracle Hyperion DRM: Leveraging an Analytical Master Data Management Methodology to Improve Financial Reporting,” provides an in-depth look at MDM, including a review of the underlying causes of data inconsistency across an organization and the challenges that inconsistency poses to operational efficiency. It also shows how an enterprise can make optimal use of Oracle Hyperion DRM and an Analytical MDM strategy to overcome these challenges and gain dramatic operational efficiencies, including:

  • Enhanced enterprise performance management
  • Increased IT and business collaboration
  • Improved master data change management
  • Easy management of non-compliance risk
  • Enhanced reporting integrity

For more details on MDM and Data Relationship Management, I invite all of you who are part of a team that is responsible for generating “the numbers” to join me  for my webcast “Achieving Exceptional Reporting with MDM and Oracle Hyperion DRM.”

DATE: Wednesday, March 16
TIME: 10AM PST/1PM EST
LOCATION: Online
To register for the Webinar, please click here.

Once you have completed the registration form, meeting details will be sent to you.

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Al Moreno is a TopDown Consulting Solutions Architect where he works with clients to accommodate complex environments through tailored EPM solutions. Al has over 30 years experience in the datawarehousing and BI space. He has co-authored several publications for Cutter Consortium and has been an instructor for TDWI.   He spent the last six years specializing in the implementation of Oracle Hyperion DRM for large installations and has done extensive work worldwide in many industries.

 


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