Gartner Master Data Management (MDM) Summit 2013 – Trip Report

Gartner Master Data Management (MDM) Summit 2013 – Trip Report  author Webmaster1 On: 04/01/2013 Views: 48



I happened to travel the following week of our event so was not able to get this blog out earlier.  Sorry about that.  Hope the feedback is of interest.

It was great seeing so many folks attend our North American MDM Summit.  It was a really busy week – and I left Friday afternoon with so much energy due to the interest, questions, and challenges we all explored on site in Texas.  We all hope that attendees got great value from the event.

We hosted our 2013 Gartner MDM Excellence Award where attendees in the session voted on which of the three finalists presented the best case study, using the Gartner Building Blocks for MDM as the program framework.  The finalists were FedEx, W.W. Grainger, and Swiss Re.  All three case studies were very strong and demonstrated a good, effective link to business outcomes and line of sight to business sponsors.  However, there had to be a winner – and Swiss Re won the award.  Here is the team with the award.  Scott Cohanpour, who presented the case study, is on the left.  Congratulation to all three finalists.











 In the closing, Track Chair’s Ted Friedman and Bill O’Kane, and me, offered up some observations and key ideas to take away from the event.  Here is a summary of the major items (in no particular order of importance):

  • It’s about business outcomes.  First, second, third and last – no effective MDM program succeeds without a clear line of sight to a targeted business outcome that needs to be improved or assured.
  • Priorities and scoping are often difficult to manage.  There are some newer ideas to help with some current aspects of scope creep (see ) and this whole problem sits in the second building block of MDM, the Strategy.
  • Clarity of vision (line of sight to the business goal) – the Vision building block – is reportedly hard to define and sustain.
  • We noted numerous efforts to “get MDM started” but also “once we get MDM sorted out, how can we leverage it with other initiatives like BI” and so on.
  • Information Governance needs attention from IT – as well as business, even though our own emphasis is on the business side.
  • We noted increasing interest from end users on small vendors, those with niche technologies that help in and around the MDM landscape.  Seems like the big vendors “don’t do it”.  Well, there’s a surprise!
  • Those organizations that led the first wave of MDM implementations are, in some cases, replacing original hub (vendors) with other, newer hub (vendors); some are also discussion the need for “hub of hub” type solutions that just happens to play into our early forecast for information stewardship apps (See The Emergence of Information Stewardship Applications for Master Data)
  • Don’t get hung on names.  One of the Excellence Awards finalists said that they stopped using the word, “governance” since it had baggage that users felt related to ‘control’ and ‘bureaucracy’.  Use a different word – like custodianship or owner or whatever fits your culture.
  • And lastly my favorite (I was conference chair, so I get to choose a favorite J ), was my “issue of the year, 2013” that is, “making information governance stick”.  The point being that many firms are very likely able to get to the “go live” of a change in technology to support MDM, but those that get beyond that, that are live, report all manner of problems in trying to get the operational side of information governance and stewardship to work day to day, is if this was “the way we do things around here”.

In terms of key points to “take away” – here is a summary of those:

  •  Leverage best practices.  A success MDM program can look like this: The Seven Building Blocks of MDM: A Framework for Success
  • The skill in developing a business case for MDM is certainly becoming critical and it is a great, reusable skill.  See Toolkit: Building the Business Case for Master Data Management
  • There remains a lot of work to do in the area of education – see next blog!
  • MDM is becoming central to many organizations overall Information Strategy, and in fact if MDM is adopted effectively, the IM program can evolve into a full Enterprise Information Management program.  This is not to down play MDM’s value and priority – but to make clear that MDM is just the start of something bigger.

 Hope you had some fun – and learned a lot.  Hope to see you again next year – or sooner!




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