On 29 April 2014, Orchestra Networks had the pleasure of sponsoring a webinar with the MDM Institute entitled: Why is Reference data mission critical now?
This webinar, presented by Aaron Zornes, Chief Research Officer of The MDM Institute, was a enormous success–hundreds of people attended. While we knew that reference data is of great interest and crucial for MDM implementations (we implement some version of RDM in nearly every multidomain MDM implementation we do) we didn’t realize that the market was that hungry for information.
Replay the webinar
Then again this confirms the MDM Institute’s findings in their market survey. The MDM Institute found, through its 1st ever market survey, that reference data management is quickly becoming, according to Mr. Zornes “The third pillar of master data management (MDM), comparable in size to product information management (PIM) or customer data integration (CDI).”
Throughout the webinar Aaron unveiled the results of the industry first market survey on RDM. He debunked many myths, including the fact that RDM is an isolated program, a tactical project or that it can be done with custom tools.
We’ve been going through the log of questions we did not get to in the Q&A (there were a lot). So if you haven’t received a response yet please be patient.
The results of the webinar insta-polls
During the webinar we performed a series of instant polls to understand the maturity of our participants on reference data management. Our three questions were:
- If you have implemented RDM what are you using?
- What is the most important “R” for your RDM business case?
- Where are you in the RDM Process?
And here are the responses:
If you have implemented RDM what are you using? (Multiple Selection)
There’s no surprise here that many of the respondents are using custom developed tools and/or spreadsheets for reference data management. This confirms what the MDM Institute’s RDM Market Survey uncovered.
Also spreadsheets are no surprise. As we’ve written in the past, despite their well known limitations, spreadsheets are very easy to use for the business users and SMEs (This is why the people who govern your organization’s reference data use Excel).
All too often the teams making technology decisions fail to take ease-of-use, for this user community, into account when acquiring solutions. They select technically sophisticated solutions that are often inaccessible without loads of training. One of our attendees described this exact situation in their organization:
We had tried to implement a product with a reference data repository, master data management module, ISO 11179 compliant metadadata repository, hierarchy management module, etc. The expense per module, complexity and knowledge needed to implement pushed us toward a customized solution.
This is why we, and the MDM institute, feel that one ought to take a pragmatic, perhaps realpolitik, view of RDM (and MDM for that matter). Adapt to the preferences of your users and remember that the objective is to maintain a consistent and accurate enterprise source of reference data not implement of the worlds most technically sophisticated RDM/MDM.
What is the most important “R” for your RDM business case? (Single Selection)
As recently described in our blog, a business case for reference data management (RDM) requires more than a general recognition of reference data’s importance. Business cases demand specificity. Where does effective management of reference data add value to the business?
Given that mismatches in reference data are often the root cause of failure (and one of the reasons why Chief Data Officers are starting to investigate RDM for their organizations) it’s no wonder that reconciliation rises to the top of the business case heap. That said we did notice that when viewing participants by industry, regulatory compliance and risk management are important for industries such as financial services, pharmaceuticals and healthcare.
Where are you in the RDM Process? (Single Selection)
Last but not least, we asked those who are implementing RDM where they were in their process. For this audience quite a few teams are in active development. That said, taking into account the responses from question #1 (what tools), the leading solution was commercial RDM solutions quickly followed by custom development then a bit lower customized MDM. The strong showing for custom developed could be an illustration that the commercial tools are far too complex. This is backed up by the fact that spreadsheets did appear, but almost always in conjunction with RDM, Custom Dev or MDM. Could this illustrate that participants are using spreadsheets as an interface into the RDM?
By Conrad Chuang