MDM: Harnessing the power of your data

The ever-growing volume and complexity of data presents businesses with a complicated mix of challenges and opportunities. If this data can be harnessed into an accurate, useable form, it conceals an opportunity to gain insight that can then be...

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The ever-growing volume and complexity of data presents businesses with a complicated mix of challenges and opportunities. If this data can be harnessed into an accurate, useable form, it conceals an opportunity to gain insight that can then be used to help drive organisations forward.

Today, more and more businesses are seeing the potential of actively using their data to help them achieve their business objectives rather than merely passively retaining it to fulfil an obligation or a regulatory demand. Until recently, however, most have struggled to find a way of using this data to deliver a single version and complete view of the truth, enabling them to create an accurate picture of their business and use that to forward their strategic goals.

The ability of MDM technologies to present the truth rather than several versions of contradictory and disjointed information potentially changes all of this for organisations by helping them to make sense of the data; use it to help drive their business forward and potentially gain competitive advantage.

While all organisations see MDM as a way to harness the power of data, each individual business will have its own specific reasons for adopting MDM. Ultimately, these will all link to delivering the business objectives whether those are around cutting costs to a certain level, driving performance efficiencies and improvements or gaining competitive advantage. Collating and efficiently managing their data through an MDM system and enabling an accurate and complete picture of the data for analysis can have a huge business impact on any organisation.

They might want to create new products more efficiently to reduce time to market and cut production costs or serve their customers better, to reduce churn rates and grow revenues. Alternatively, they might be looking to improve their reporting and metrics to identify performance inefficiencies or optimising their supply chain to reduce time to market and drive business advantage.

To meet these objectives, companies need to do more with their data and to do it faster with fewer resources. This often entails leveraging existing information assets more effectively while simultaneously meeting performance objectives, all of which is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve in light of rapidly expanding data volumes.

Making MDM Work for the Business

Essentially, the benefits that MDM can deliver for businesses can be divided into two core areas. First, by delivering a single view of the truth, MDM gives organisations the information they need to make accurate decisions about the business. Second, the tight integration of systems and processes provides improves business efficiencies in itself.

The former capability enables companies to obtain a consistent vision of data across many systems. Being able to produce an accurate representation of the data for analysis potentially enables them to identify areas of inefficiency across the organisation, which could then lead to a series of tactical activities that will contribute to improving performance. Once identified, they can use their MDM capability to achieve these.

For example, they may want to use their single view of the truth to gain a greater insight into their customer data to provide the right information to the right customer and therefore to be able to deliver better customer service. Through the enhanced integration that MDM delivers, it will help them to create and manage one customer list for marketing and another completely separate one for billing while maintaining consistency, with the added benefit of cutting costs through process optimisation.

Another example of the benefit of enhanced integration is its ability to enable organisations to implement workflows - ways in which people can manage their data or use the approach to evolve a company-wide data governance strategy, thereby streamlining business processes and cutting costs at the same time.

These kinds of tactical initiatives, whether achieved through enhanced business insight or streamlined integration, are also about achieving competitive advantage or driving the organisation forward. They all help contribute to the business strategy but not necessarily on an enterprise-wide level, they might just as frequently be about driving benefits from a departmental or business unit perspective.

Of course, even though these projects may be departmental in nature, they must always be linked to the accomplishment of the broader organisation-wide targets that the business is looking to achieve. After all, if initiatives of this kind are carried out in isolation without considering the wider organisational objectives, there is a danger of creating new silos and ending up with a series of conflicting standards and processes. If MDM is effectively to deliver the strategic benefits required - from improved revenue generation to enhanced competitive edge, initiatives need to specifically relate to the core business goals.

Reaping the Rewards

MDM helps get value from information assets. Organisations need to use this value to help advance their corporate objectives. Businesses that have control of their data, can bring disparate information across their enterprise under control and turn it into “a single version of the truth” will have greater confidence in the decisions they take, using data, to accomplish those broader goals from improving customer loyalty, to strengthening the product portfolio or driving sales while reducing marketing costs. At the same time, by naturally streamlining processes and reducing errors, they will be effectively driving efficiencies that benefit the bottom line.

It’s also worth highlighting that it’s not just large enterprises that can use MDM to meet their strategic objectives in this way. The emergence of flexible and quick-to-deploy versions of MDM is helping to democratise the technology and effectively level the playing field by reducing implementation complexity, time-to-value, and cost of the project.

So, for all organisations, large and small, taking the decision to implement an MDM-driven business approach can be transformative. Increasingly, companies are realising that data can be harnessed to revolutionise their business strategy and drive the success of an organisation. Adopting MDM means embracing change and entails adopting a different set of tools and accepting a different way to manage their business and harness the information they hold.

It may seem like a bold step but businesses might also want to reflect as awareness of the benefits grows that if they don’t implement MDM, it is likely that their competitors will. Can they afford to miss out?

Posted by Yves de Montcheuil, Talend

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