As more and more companies embark on new master data management (MDM) initiatives, few truly realize just how complicated the deployment stage of their project will be. Even the most solid and well-thought out plans are likely to face obstacles, require changes, and experience other issues once the implementation actually begins.
That’s why many experts agree that the “phased” approach – as opposed to a “big bang” deployment – is the best way to go. The MDM Institute, in their December, 2008 Market Report describes master data management as a critical strategic initiative, and strongly recommends that it be carried “across multiple lines of business, multiple channels, and therefore across multiple years.”
Companies who have attempted to execute on their entire MDM strategy all at once have run into significant problems, such as:
- Project delays
- Cost overruns
- Loss of end user productivity
- Unplanned drain on IT resources
Why so many issues? Because master data management isn’t just a set of technology solutions to be installed and forgotten about. It’s a rigid discipline that spans both IT and business. It requires an evolution of both culture and process – and those changes simply can’t happen overnight.
The implementation of MDM on an enterprise-scale will also undoubtedly impact back-end systems, disrupting core business activities. Deploying MDM across the business, in every department simultaneously, can bring critical operations to a screeching halt. On the other hand, a well-timed series of smaller roll-outs will affect only one or two divisions at a time, making it easy for the company to create a contingency plan, and minimize losses from the temporary reduction in output.
Additionally, broad-reaching MDM implementations are highly inflexible because they fail to give project leaders the opportunity to assess the viability of the strategy, and make changes along the way. But, incremental implementations make it easy to assess goals – and whether or not they can actually be met by the current plan – before the entire initiative has been executed upon. Corrections and adjustments can take place “on the fly”, as the deployment is in progress, ensuring success in both the short-term and the long term.
To learn more about best practices in master data management deployment, visit the Croyten Web site at www.croyten.com.