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Four Tips for successful MDM from Amadeus’ Jean-Michel Collomb

Greetings from the Gartner Enterprise Information and Master Data Management conference in London!

One of the best reasons to attend a show such as Gartner is the case studies. We were honored that Jean-Michel Collomb from Amadeus, a leading provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel industry, chose to deliver a talk on how Amadeus is using EBX5, our software, for MDM across major business lines.

(Here’s a quick picture of Jean-Michel starting his talk)

The MDM program at Amadeus is accretive. They started with one domain, they’re now standing up multiple domains and they are on the path the being truly multidomain. Meaning that the same software (EBX5) holds multiple domains of master data, governing their values, relationships and hierarchies.

Jean-Michel’s Four Tips for successful MDM.

1. High level (exec) sponsorship is mandatory for the success of any MDM project.
2. Start small and achieve business value, get buy in and expand MDM usage
3. Bottom up initiatives focusing on small use cases can contribute to data quality and MDM awareness
4. Manage expectations carefully 

Additional thoughts and comments

…On the need for executive sponsorship

In addition to executive support, Jean-Michel commented that one should not underestimate resistance to change. At Amadeus, offering up insights into the performance of the MDM program (via dashboards, KPIs and scorecards) was one way they reduced that resistance. 

Sharing details on program performance with the C-level execs illustrated how (and sometimes, by how much) the MDM program was improving operations at Amadeus. For what it’s worth, providing an easy way to report on the performance on one’s MDM program is why we developed EBX5 Insight.

…on the need to find bottom up initiatives focusing on small use cases

Jean-Michel pointed out that one needs to help stakeholders understand how their DQ problems can be solved by MDM and get their buy in. These bottom up initiatives can be the tip-of-the-spear when starting an MDM initiative. 

We agree, and what we’ve noticed is that the stakeholders are hungry for a solution. I’ve never run into stakeholders who thought that their data quality couldn’t stand some improvement–they just don’t know if MDM is the right approach.

The question is then, how do you prove that MDM is the right path? While one could powerpoint these stakeholders into submission, we’ve found exposing all the responsible, accountable, consulted and informed parties to the actual software is one of the best ways to show value. When a stakeholders navigates through EBX5, generates their own hierarchies, and creates excel reports; they begin to understand how MDM can fit into their day-to-day and why it’s a viable approach. 

…on managing expectations 

Jean-Michel pointed out that data quality is often at the root cause of wider problems. And that as powerful as MDM is, it’s often just a piece of the puzzle.

Even though we’re a pure-play MDM vendor you’ll find no disagreement on our side. We often find that poor data quality is why there are so many reconciliation issues throughout the business. Accurate and consistent master data is required in business intelligence, in finance, in the ERP. The end result is an architecture that looks a bit like this:

Where MDM supports multiple enterprise applications with up-to-date and consistent master and reference data.