“Every company has big data in its future, and every company will eventually be in the data business.” – Thomas H Davenport, International Institute for Analytics
Enterprises today urgently need to make sure their data is ready and able to keep up with new regulations, changing customer expectations, restructuring or acquisitions, etc. Good data helps you mitigate risk and gain a competitive edge, whereas bad data has the opposite effect. Harnessed correctly, data empowers your organization to make informed decisions and provides crucial insights into market behaviors and trends. The benefits of properly accessing and analyzing your data are well-known and business-critical, but the logistics of implementing and maintaining a successful data management plan can be daunting to organizations who aren’t sure where to start.
Master Data Management can unleash real cost savings and operational returns, but IT directors often struggle to make a business case for it that resonates with the C-suite and encourages buy-in from key decision makers. The truth is, IT cannot drive MDM implementation alone. A healthy and robust MDM program hinges on company-wide adoption and participation, so it is a project for everyone who has a vested interest in an organization’s success.
How to Get C-Suite Buy-In for your MDM Project
For long-term success with your MDM initiative, you not only need funding upfront, but also on-going support from your organizations’ decision makers. To win this support, you must first convincingly demonstrate the business benefits of master data, and how you plan to achieve them. Here are 5 steps to obtaining buy-in for your master data management project:
1. Identify Business Objectives Creating business value is the most significant driver of all MDM projects. At the beginning of your MDM initiative, meet with your key business stakeholders to understand their pain points and the business KPIs that are lagging or suffering from a lack of proper data. It’s important to maintain open and detailed communication with your executive team to ensure that your project not only has buy-in, but more importantly that you are on the right track in your efforts.
2. Align MDM Efforts to Business Value Drivers To prove the value of your MDM project, you need to demonstrate to your executives how the program aligns with the unique business value drivers of your organization. Does your program improve customer engagement? Optimize supply-chain processes? Streamline data for mergers and acquisitions? Whatever the end goal, your MDM initiative is only as valuable as the actionable insights it provides to key decision makers.
3. Gather Input from Stakeholders In your search to identify business goals, you’ll need to gather intelligence from many different sources within your organization. These include application and process owners, business analysts, operational managers, and anyone who is responsible for fixing or consuming the data. Gaining insight into the data-related pain points of various executives will help you to have a holistic understanding of what you need out of your master data management efforts. Bear in mind that when presenting to the C-suite, you’ll want to present a full picture of both the business and IT logistics and benefits, so the more information you have the better prepared you will be.
4. Create Detailed Roadmap In order to convince budget holders to fund your program, you need to have a full understanding of the scope of the project you’re about to undertake. Begin by taking full stock of where all of your data lives, whether it is structured or unstructured, how it is currently captured and stored, how accurate it is, and of course—what type of architecture you’ll need to draw it all together.
Once you’ve established where you’re at, it’s time to build the roadmap for where you need to go. Create a list of tasks and a timeline of when they can realistically be achieved. Some examples of tasks on your MDM implementation journey are:
Standardizing data in your front-line applications
Verifying, cleansing, and enriching your enterprise data
Reducing and removing duplicates
Delivering clean data to both operational and analytical systems
5. Present Your Business Case Once you’ve identified your business objectives, tied your project to key business value drivers, gotten crucial input from key stakeholders, and created a roadmap, you are ready to make your business case. When presenting your proposal to your executive team, consider including major business use cases, qualitative findings and quotes from your stakeholder interviews, data that helps quantify the proposed business value, and an executive summary that ties all of the pieces together and paints a picture of how your program will solve problems and create new opportunities for your organization.
Organizations today have data living in many places—on-premises, in the cloud, on company devices and phones—and it all needs to be managed in a coherent, strategic way. Doing so enables you to reduce risk, develop new leads, solidify relationships, improve productivity, and lower your costs. As the drivers of MDM implementation, modern IT teams now find themselves in a position to positively impact business decisions by leveraging data that provides meaningful insights. Master Data Management is certainly an IT project, but it is also something the entire organization needs to buy into for it to work successfully.