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The possibilities that a new Master Data Management (MDM) implementation brings are undeniably exciting. But what happens when the platform doesn’t meet your expectations? Unfortunately, this scenario plays out all too often.

According to Gartner analyst, Nick Heudecker, close to 85% of big data projects fail. If your MDM project falls into that group, the good news is, that there’s a remedy. And it doesn’t require adding to your technical debt.

Let’s look at the top two reasons companies struggle to achieve MDM ROI – and the steps you can take to get the most from your investment.


Top Reasons MDM Fails to Deliver ROI

When MDM fails to deliver on its (perceived) promises, there’s usually an explanation. Typically, MDM implementations falter because of two main reasons.

1. You Didn’t Start with a Clear (Achievable) Plan.

For most companies, the overarching goal for MDM is to get clean, consistent, enriched data and assets to your customers. And while MDM is essential to this process, the platform alone won’t get you there.

Sally Parker, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, notes, “Enterprise MDM software is no silver bullet. Technology alone is insufficient to solve the bigger problem of data and analytics governance, which involves people, process and technology across the enterprise.”

If you don’t see sufficient ROI, you may not have created the right plan and metrics to track your success. Or, maybe you knew where you wanted to go, but you tried to do too much all at once. Regardless, without a clear plan of action and well-defined organizational goals, you won’t be able to reap the full benefits of MDM.

2. You Got Lost in Complexity (and Added to Your Technical Debt).

It’s a straightforward goal: Get my product from producer to buyer. Why, then, are there so many systems? For most enterprises, getting data to its destination involves navigating multiple platforms (ERRPs, PLMs, Excel, etc.) and a sea of complexity. This technical debt is exhausting and expensive. It’s become a big issue for companies looking to create frictionless experiences for their customers.

You’d hoped MDM would simplify and streamline your processes, but instead, you just added another system to the mix. Until you strip away the excess within your digital supply chain, the complexity of the whole process will bog you down (and keep MDM ROI at bay).


Three Steps to Improve MDM ROI

So, where can you go from here? The answer isn’t more complexity – it’s seeking a simpler (and more strategic) approach.

1. Simplify Your Digital Supply Chain

You wouldn’t settle for an overly complex physical supply chain, and it’s not acceptable on the digital side either. The goal is to deliver accurate, consistent data to your customer as efficiently as possible. If a system can be eliminated from your digital supply chain, then perhaps it should.

You don’t need to rip and replace to turn things around. It’s often rethinking your integrations or adding microservices to accomplish your goals, neither of which requires a lengthy implementation process.

2. Tune Your Processes

MDM isn’t a miracle cure. More than likely, you didn’t just have data problems — you had process problems. According to Gartner, “…the primary causes of [MDM] failure are the difficulty inherent in integrating with existing business processes and applications, management resistance, internal politics, lack of skills, and security and governance challenges.”

Creating processes around data quality and data governance takes work, but it can transform your MDM culture. Your platform is only as valuable as the data you enter into it, and if there aren’t clear processes for governing your data, your overall ROI will suffer. If you have the opportunity to define your processes before you launch MDM — take it. However, an expert can guide you through the right steps to tune your processes at any stage.

3. Break Goals into Achievable Chunks

The path to efficient, effective data management isn’t a straight line from A to B. It’s made up of many milestones. By breaking your big data goals down into achievable chunks, you can create quick wins that energize your team and build momentum to keep the project moving forward. Pursuing milestones doesn’t just work during implementation; it’s also essential to fixing issues for improved ROI.


“Think Big, Start Small, Be Prepared”

Implementing MDM can set your organization up for long-term success, but you won’t reach your platform goals without the right execution. Parker notes, “MDM offers the biggest reward when done correctly, but requires the biggest effort. Think big, start small, be prepared.”

Pivotree works with companies to maximize their MDM investment. If you’re not happy with the current state of your MDM (or want the fastest ROI from an upcoming implementation), our expertise with MDM platforms and processes can show the way. To discuss how our team can optimize your MDM ROI, contact us here and one of our MDM experts will be in touch.