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MDM implementation – Business Issues Vs. IT Issues – Part 1

MDM implementation is by far a business project in terms of its application. This involves re-engineering the business strategy to connect / communicate the master data between various application systems; re-visiting transactions processes owning to new master data approach.

When it comes to Master Data, we always use the term common and global; to feel good about our definition of MDM process.

Let me clarify one important aspect about this. An organization should have a “common” process, so as to fit the entire master data related to diversified business (across different divisions / geographies, etc). While we need to have a clear-cut understanding of what data can be controlled as “global” vs. “local” for the agreed common master data management process, key to successful MDM implementation is the harmonization of the master data (also referred as de-duplication & normalization).

It is observed that when organization had switched from one system to another, due to immense resource constrain and tight time-lines, they lost the opportunity to cleanse the data, as the primary focus was to align the business to new system environment and business processes. The data duplication is been over-looked and deep resistance is shown for such exercises, quoting variety of business reasons.

It is imperative that, business authorities raise themselves to think beyond day-to-day activities and be rational to define new master data management process that will benefit the entire organization and its supply-chain. Switch-over of (data) user’s mind-frame from MY data to OUR data, will help here.

Introducing advanced system application and a flexible architecture can’t get rid of the inherent master data issues. A new fresh look at the entire requirement, with due consideration to new system landscape; technology and future growth plan, will help arrive at a more robust master data management process (to be supported by equally good content of data).

SAP has termed the following differentiation in the processes supported by MDM 5.5

IT Scenarios :

  • Content Consolidation,
  • Master Data Harmonization and
  • Centralized Master Data Master Management

Business Scenarios :

  • Rich Product Content Management and
  • Global Data Synchronization

A thorough understanding of business requirement is needed, before choosing a specific IT scenario for a given master data object. Individual data objects (like material master / vendor master / customer master) need to be transformed separately and based on the existing set-up, they would fit-in different IT scenarios, mentioned above.

Next blog in this series will take you through real-life scenarios, to get a better understanding of the categorization between IT and Business issues in the context of Master Data Management.

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