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The MDM User Experience–It really does make a difference

On February 8th, we announced EBX5, the fifth major release of our multidomain Master Data Management (MDM) software. While EBX5 introduces many new features for master data quality, authoring and lineage, an important part of the announcement is the product’s new user interface (UI) which was specifically designed for business users.

Business users own master data and are responsible for its quality and governance. In fact, day-to-day, they are often the front-line managers for data governance. So, for an MDM initiative to be a complete success, business user adoption is critical.

My experience over the last ten years with Orchestra Networks’ customers has confirmed that this is true. However; user adoption is easy to envision but very difficult to achieve.

Most MDM software solutions have been designed (or acquired) by data integration vendors. These tools are technical and require expert-level IT skills. Features for the end-user are typically limited to few data stewardship capabilities.

At Orchestra Networks, we believe an MDM solution should be as easy-to-use as a consumer-grade web application so our product is designed that way. After all, at the end of the day–business users are also consumers. Key vendors in Business Intelligence have stated that user experience is the number one attribute they look for. QlikView is a great example.

We are so committed to the user experience that we spent two years developing the EBX5 UI from scratch and testing it with users before the product was launched. The result–EBX5 provides a 100% web-based, user-focused experience. It absorbs the complexity of any data model and business rules (it’s truly multidomain) and dynamically generates a super-simple UI.

A positive user experience offers a wealth of benefits:

  • End-users understand the MDM solution immediately with very little training.
  • When a user likes the product they are working with, they will often become more proactive about moving data from other sources over to the new solution (the days of hidden spreadsheets–the worst enemy of any MDM initiative–will be gone).  
  • With all the features available in the Web UI, business users are involved in the MDM project from day one. This means active collaboration during all steps, including data modeling, business rules definition or governance process configuration. Business User participation from the beginning ensures they will become data governance evangelists.

If you are in the process of selecting an MDM solution, my advice to you is the following: “put business users in a room and do a short (1-2 days), live Proof of Concept (PoC) without any ‘hidden agendas’ by the vendors.” You’ll find that buy-in from the beginning is the best way to gain business user adoption. And, business user input from this session will validate whether the MDM solution really delivers a great user experience right out-of-the-box.

By Christophe Barriolade