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Master Your Data, But Manage Your Business First

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August 23 2017

Is your company focused on mastering your data or managing the business? Whether you know it or not, if you’re like almost every other organization in the world today the answer is “both.” As increasingly more functions become digitized, every company eventually finds itself in the data business. And, that’s a good thing.

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More data on products, customers, suppliers, employees, etc., deliver insights and enable analytics that can help you make critical decisions more quickly and accurately to drive superior business outcomes. Unfortunately, however, you can get too much of a good thing. 

Too often, many companies get bogged down in building and maintaining the IT “plumbing” to manage the ever-increasing volume and variety of data that they can no longer manage the business. As a result, programs designed specifically to drive business value from data, such as master data management (MDM) programs, can fall short of business goals. In a recent survey from McKinsey & Company, 86 percent of executives admitted that their organizations have been only somewhat effective at meeting the primary objective of their data and analytics programs. And, more than one-quarter say they’ve been “ineffective.” 

Why is this? Because too many organizations are so focused on “knowing” their data and being “data-driven” that they lose focus on the very reasons they began these initiatives in the first place. The reality is that it’s not about consolidated data, master data or any other kind of data. These programs fundamentally miss the point unless they are first and foremost focused on the goals of the business. 

Leading industry research firm Gartner stated, “Failure to align MDM to business drivers will result in multiple serious barriers to success that can easily derail an MDM program. There barriers include lack of business engagement, inability to develop measurable business-oriented key performance indicators (KPIs), discontinuity of executive sponsorship, and contention for funding with other business initiatives.”

In other words, successfully driving business value out of your MDM program requires a different mindset – a business-first mindset. With the correct mindset in place, MDM can power business users to shape a more successful future. 




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