Get in Touch
With Our Experts
+49 711 / 75886-600
Please Type A Message
Let us know where we can contact you
Please click to start verification
Send message
Thank You For Your Message!
We will contact you as soon as possible.
Close Window

Racing Sailboat Instead of Tanker – Taking an Unconventional MDM Course to the Top

09 January 2024
Kolja Cords, Kristina Tischler

MDM programs have a reputation for being heavyweight. They are thought to be too expensive and deliver few results. This article will dispel those myths by showing that master data management can provide value right from the implementation phase.

But before we get into the weeds, let's use an analogy. Imagine a racing sailboat and a tanker. Manned by a small, highly specialized team, the agile racing sailboat glides effortlessly through the waves. Decisions are made quickly, adjustments are made easily, and the course can be steered flexibly.

While the racing sailboat is already reaching milestones, the fully loaded tanker still struggles to leave the harbor. Each decision requires multiple consultations and approvals, slowing progress significantly, and maneuvering proves cumbersome.

The lesson for today's MDM programs is that agility is the key to success in a fast-paced business world. Organizations must be willing to adapt and respond flexibly to change to move forward effectively – just like a skilled sailboat in the race of projects.

Say goodbye to the sluggish tanker mentality and embrace agility. Kolja Cords, Principal Business Consultant, and Kristina Tischler, Project Manager and Consultant in Data Management, have already executed several agile MDM projects for renowned companies. In this magazine article, they explain how to get companies moving at top speed.

From Zero to One Hundred: The Agile MDM Consulting Approach

The efficient design and seamless execution of an organization's key business processes require a solid foundation. Several key elements play a critical role:

  • Immediate and cross-functional availability of trusted master data linked across multiple data domains (e.g., customer, product)
  • Automated processes to create golden records
  • Enforce data quality rules
  • Gain deeper insights from metadata and reference data

Whether operational or analytical, these key elements are essential for responding quickly to changing conditions and making sustainable business decisions. Especially in times of political and economic uncertainty, agility becomes extremely important for companies.

Master Data Management Guide

In our "Master Data Management Guide", we outline specific measures to be taken in terms of people, processes, and technology. Download the white paper and start laying the foundation for a successful MDM program now by taking a step-by-step, programmatic approach. 

MDM is not just a technology; it's also the organized definition of who is responsible for what data and when – data governance in action. This is a fundamental foundation, especially for instilling trust in data. Not too complicated, right?

The reality, however, is that the increasing speed of data generation, the number of data sources, and human manipulation mean that MDM remains an untapped potential for many organizations. When companies finally take the first step toward implementing MDM, projects often quickly become gigantic and complex, overwhelming their organization.

One of the main reasons for this is the large number of relevant stakeholders whose requirements must be considered when implementing MDM. The vaguer the initial scope and goals are (in an attempt to please everyone), the greater the risk of failure or shipwreck.

Another neglected aspect is that the mindset required for goal-oriented project implementation is often insufficiently present in project teams. Experience shows that it's better to bet on a well-constructed racing sailboat with the right team than to add unnecessary ballast that complicates maneuverability and reduces speed – to stay with our analogy.

Navigate With Care: Smart MDM Implementation, Maximum Impact

The following typical questions can help you get started:

  • Why is trusted master data critical to our business success?
  • How can master data management help?
  • Which organizational prerequisites must be fulfilled in addition to the introduction of MDM as a technology?
  • In which areas do we face the most significant problems and expect outstanding benefits?

Accompanying change management measures support the MDM implementation process. Generally, the smaller the teams, the faster and more efficient the implementation. Suppose the benefits of MDM become tangible after an initial successful implementation phase. In this case, it acts as a multiplier for further change management measures – a kind of tailwind that helps gain additional momentum.

Therefore, the initial scope of an MDM implementation should be kept as small as possible, the number of stakeholders should be minimized, and the complexity should be kept manageable. The key to success is HOW you start and scale your MDM initiative. In a metaphorical sense, it's about choosing the right watercraft to deliver the benefits of MDM to your organization quickly and effectively.

We deliberately chose the racing sailboat over the tanker in some successful projects. We are happy to reveal the two critical success factors for these decisions.

  1. It’s All About the Right Start
    Our actual implementation projects were preceded by a discovery phase (up to 12 weeks) in which we discussed the vision, the strategy, and the specific goals of the MDM initiative in detail with our customers. The goal was to derive concrete implementation content from these discussions. It is crucial to find the right balance between the level of detail and the coverage of topics, which depends heavily on the customer's current situation.
  2. Think Big, Start Small, and Scale Fast
    We intentionally kept the teams small and initially started with a relatively small scope and a moderate level of detail. We uncovered the day-to-day pain points of the business, prioritized the needs, and derived transparent requirements. Clear metrics and success goals were established. Once these goals were met, a plan to expand the program was developed, and feasibility was demonstrated.

Breaking down a gigantic MDM initiative into smaller iterations that can be put into production quickly and deliver tangible value is the most promising approach for our customers. It's like reaching for a visible rock when the water level is low.

The Art of Finding the Perfect Breeze and Maintaining Course

High transparency in project planning and expectations for project participants, along with clearly defined deliverables from the outset and at each phase, provide a solid foundation for successful collaboration. MDM projects don't have to be enormous from the start to be successful. In fact, with a manageable scope, initial go-live is possible much sooner than in a traditional multi-year MDM program. This allows you to create early business value, win over stakeholders from the outset, and lay the groundwork for a successful, incremental MDM journey. It's a mix of finding the perfect breeze, facing the headwinds, and knowing more challenges are on the horizon.

To get off to a good start, it is necessary to categorize and prioritize existing requirements. This task is challenging, where best practices and lessons learned from similar customer contexts are beneficial. Examining the business value of each requirement to be implemented will guide the way.

The following project methodology has proven to be successful at Parsionate:

At the core of this approach are the requirements for MDM: Top-down, the MDM vision, and strategy provide critical guidance to ensure the project is always on track. Bottom-up, business requirements are defined, and their implementation is prioritized and planned based on the benefits or value they bring to create the solution design.

Part of the methodology is that all elements are interconnected, and the project documentation is built on this connectivity. For example, the defined pains are linked to the derived requirements, ensuring consistent transparency.

The implementation of an iteration follows a schematic structure, as shown below.

A wave corresponds to the bundling of multiple requirements to be implemented. Bottom-up addresses business pain points and user stories, while top-down contributes to the MDM vision, strategy, and goals.

Setting Sail for the Customized MDM Journey

In principle, all commercial models are possible for the execution or commissioning of MDM projects with Parsionate, from agile and scrum-based time and material models to hybrid approaches and fixed price models. The chosen model must fit the company and its work organization.

So don't try to sail around the world from the start. Define your "waypoint islands" where relevant "value treasures" for your organization can be uncovered. With the foundations laid along the way, combined with the increasing MDM maturity of your organization, it will be easier to reach larger islands and discover even greater treasures.

We help you plan your journey with our years of experience. Together, we define the starting point and the first waypoints, ensuring that the racing sailboat stays on course even in rough seas and regains a good wind in calm conditions.

Request support now

This was an article from the topic area Data Foundation. There you will find further information on subjects such as master data management, data quality and data governance.

Ihr Webbrowser ist veraltet

Aktualisieren Sie Ihren Browser damit diese Webseite richtig dargestellt werden kann.

Zur Infoseite