Today, we have a Q&A guest post with one of Perficient’s Data Governance Architects, Ben Leeson. Ben has extensive experience working on master data and governance projects for today’s leading financial services companies. He will also be a part of our upcoming financial services webinar, “Creating a ‘Customer 360’ with MDM in Financial Services” where he will share his experiences working with banking customers to: overcome information management challenges, implement MDM solutions for bank product and service strategies, adopt master data and governance best practices, and much more. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Q&A tomorrow.
Elizabeth: What is Master Data Management?
Ben: My formal answer is Master Data Management (MDM) is the desire and attempt to get an enterprise consensus and singular view of a particular set of related data within an information domain (e.g. Customers, Suppliers, Products, Accounts) used to support critical business processes and to facilitate decision making. These decisions may be operational, some analytical, and others managerial in nature. The key to MDM is to understand how the data helps to make decisions – whether it’s an algorithm, workflow, or a report – in each of these realms. And that is why MDM can be like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner.
Elizabeth: Are you saying MDM isn’t a worthwhile endeavor?
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Ben: In many cases it may not be. The way I think of it, businesses have been managing information for years and now we’re supposed to care about a new way of thinking about it? And frankly, banks don’t go out of business because they lack a MDM solution, and many financial institutions are successful without one. So I’d advise anyone undertaking MDM to take a step back and ask themselves if the payoff is worth the effort.
Elizabeth: How do they answer that question?
Ben: The payoff is typically in simplification – one authoritative instance of data that all operations, analytics, and management source to and from. I’d then have to ask why they would source to and from a master data solution. Why not just continue to self-manage the data or get data from somewhere else? Why the headache of synchronization? Why change their architecture? Why develop new processes?
This is where Perficient, as a technology partner and integrator, helps our financial services customers. We engage the business to put together a strategy for their MDM environments. We help customers understand the benefits of master data: high value, shared data in a consistent and standard format delivering meticulous metadata and uncomplicated integration. Providing those capabilities is the value of master data. If a data consumer needs data, they know the Master Data has the highest data quality within the company, practically 99.9% defect free. It must have good metadata, particularly business metadata. And it must have integration processes that are not cumbersome.
Elizabeth: We’re definitely seeing an increased focus on MDM in financial services. I think more and more banks are starting to ask this question as things like social, mobile and big data become more of a game-changer for them. They’re starting to look at information as an enterprise strategic asset. The next step for them is to address the challenge in accessing data and pulling domains together to create more than just a “golden record” of their customer.
Ben: That’s correct. Or they’re seeing their current MDM solution not being optimized because of misalignments between the business, communication, ownership or other contributing factors. Also, the reality is many FIs have MDM already and are either not getting the value from it or they simply don’t call it MDM. It might be called the customer hub or something like that, so there’s still some confusion about what MDM is as a practice and general data management disciplines that companies are already doing.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Master Data Management Q&A post tomorrow.