In my last post, I explained my perspective on Master Data Management, explaining that the key to a successful MDM solution is to implement it incrementally, so that the stakeholders realize a series of short-term benefits as the project progresses. MDM solutions are complex and tedious, and they tend to go on for a long time.
Business users play an important role in MDM project success, since technical MDM professionals may not have the domain knowledge needed to create and maintain high-quality master data. Any MDM project that does not include changes to the processes that create, maintain, and validate master data is likely to fail. MDM is not just a technical problem; it requires fundamental changes to business disciplines to maintain clean master data. Hence, some of the most difficult MDM issues are more political than technical in nature.
The biggest challenge for most organizations is the cost of hosting and maintaining master data solutions. Licensing costs of some MDM products are extremely high, and support and maintenance costs increase every year. The answer is to reduce the initial cost of deployment by implementing MDM as a service.
MDM in the cloud
Many large organizations are already well into adopting cloud-based software solutions. These organizations are building cloud strategies and spending a significant amount of their IT budget on building a solid cloud strategy.
Following suit, MDM vendors are building products that will allow businesses to create master data solutions in the cloud. I expect MDM-as-a-service to be in high demand in next few years, in part because these solutions will be less expensive than legacy, on-premise MDM solutions.
The cost of maintaining master data in the cloud will be much lower than with traditional MDM. They also offer availability of on-demand master data to business users—with better scalability and security. In the next few years, we’ll see better pricing models on cloud offerings as compared to legacy MDM on-premise solutions that have been around for more than 10 years.
Cloud-based MDM products have low initial costs: there is no hardware to buy, no software to buy or upgrade, no waste, and minimal business user training needed. However, there are some downsides, including agility in customization/configuration of hosted MDM solutions and the fact that some business agility capabilities are also not available in all cloud MDM solutions.
MDM is critical to organizations, since master data is the most reliable data and is the foundation for most of the data-driven applications that deliver relevant and intelligent insight for predictive analytics and better decisionmaking in today’s progressive organizations.
We’ll look closely at more MDM-related topics in upcoming posts.