Starting a Master Data Management project is a lot like an emergency visit to the dentist’s office. Let’s look at some of the common traits:
As such, both dentists and MDM professionals are generally not very well-liked by their clients. The main reasons are that they are always preaching the most commonsensical rhetoric about good dental (=data) health, importance of flossing and brushing (=data cleansing and quality assurance), and inevitably causing pain and distress during the consultation process as decay and cavities (=data inconsistencies and discrepancies) are being treated. And to add insult to injury, the clients have to then fork out tidy sums of money to get the advice they already know in the back of their minds, but are ill-equipped to clear up the mess that they made, because they haven’t exercise the discipline and vigilance required of them.
The point though, is that data health, as well as dental health, should never be an afterthought and deserves much more attention than it is normally given. Data health is a fundamental indicator to the overall well-being of the enterprise and is a key enabler of other critical arterial functions of the organization. It is thus important that there is strong emphasis in enforcement of discipline in data quality management and data integrity maintenance. Even as master data projects are being commissioned to address issues in master data management, the crux of the matter lies in the hands of the organization that will ultimately sustain and execute master data processes to facilitate smooth operations of the business. The more stringent the regimes for master data processes are, the better the chances are for avoiding pitfalls due to master data issues.
Just as individuals are responsible for their own dental upkeep, the organization needs to be accountable for data governance and stewardship. To accomplish this, professional services can be employed to tackle existing issues and tools can be leveraged to support ongoing maintenance, but in spite of the sophistication of master data management technologies, the success of a master data program really depends on the mindset of the people in front of the technology, not behind it.