A Business Perspective on MDM and Process Integration

Jake Freivald's picture
 By | februari 02, 2011
in iWay , data governance, MDM, Data Governance
februari 02, 2011

Art courtesy of Renjith Krishnan.

Recently, right before we launched the blog, SearchDataManagement editor Mark Brunelli published an interview of Forrester Research’s Rob Karel titled, “Expect a greater focus on MDM and business process alignment in 2011.”

In one of the best bits, Karel said, “[There’s] this mismatch, this chasm between business and IT that says, “I [business] own the process but you [IT] own the data and magically all this stuff is just going to work.” Yeah, pretty much. One of the biggest work-related problems facing me personally right now is centered on incomplete and untrustworthy data in our marketing database. This isn’t the kind of thing that can be fixed with a data quality tool, either – we’re talking about stuff where the definitive source is direct sales rep input. It’s my problem. It’s the VP of sales’s problem. It’s a process problem.

Karel goes on to note, “We want to get control of our customer data. We want to get control of our financial data or our product data. Business process governance, however, is saying that we have to get control over our order management process or our direct marketing process. But it’s two sides of the same coin. You can’t fulfill an order management process without good data, and customer data in and of itself is a useless asset unless it’s in the context of a process that it’s solving.”


You want good data? Have good processes. You want good processes? Have good data. You want a good company? Have both.

Unless you’re a very small company, you’ll benefit from having tools that help you do that job. Karel focuses on MDM, but unless I’m missing something, that’s too limited. MDM focuses on entities and relationships and golden records, but based on Karel’s own argument I’d say that we need just as much emphasis on process management tools: B2B integration tools (what’s the process for interacting with other companies?), application-to-application integration tools (what business logic do I invoke as I transfer the relevant information across multiple systems?), and analytics tools (how do I grok the processes that make my company run?) all have a substantial part to play.

Read the whole thing. It’s short, but it’s good.