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Master Data Management - how to get started

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Martin Rydman, Enfo


With the onslaught of digitalization, more and more companies wake up to the realization that their lack of data governance slows them down in their digital initiatives. Simply put: to be able to digitalize your business, you need to manage your data.

One big part of this is Master Data Management (or MDM). Until now, MDM projects have been big, expensive, primarily undertaken by the biggest organizations. As well as required a massive up-front investment in software and more often than not failed.

A better approach, one that quickly leads to realized business value, rests on three cornerstones. First, it should apply agile methodologies. It means that instead of solving every MDM challenge in one big project, you carefully select one small business problem and build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). An MVP is the smallest thing you can build that provides useful features and some business value.

From this first iteration, you gain insights and can show some business value directly. You then initiate a second iteration, where you add some features to your MVP. This approach helps people quickly learn what MDM is all about and if you succeed you will steadily build trust in your solution.

Second, it should squarely address MDM as a business project. Often, companies have tasked their IT departments to buy MDM technology, only to find that it didn’t solve any problems. Your approach must embrace the fact that MDM is a business discipline, requiring new ways of workings and new roles and responsibilities. The MDM solution is always rooted in your most crucial business processes.

Third, it should leverage modern software provisioning options. Instead of buying expensive software licenses, there now exists pay-as-you-go models, and you can take advantage of cheap and scalable cloud provisioning.

At Enfo, we have taken these insights and created our MDM Starter kit. In it, we guide our customers through the first iteration resulting in the MVP. We help define the business case, identify the relevant MDM domain (e.g., customer or product), build the data models, identify the source systems, set up the MDM processes and roles, install and build the MDM solution (including the required integrations), cleanse the data, and finally train the users in the solution. As part of the Starter kit, we provide TIBCO EBX (a Gartner Magic Quadrant top-ranking enterprise MDM tool), fully managed in Azure. The customer pays for it monthly with no strings attached. If the MVP is successful, we simply keep providing it on those terms.

Typically, the Starter kit takes 3 months to complete. Roughly, it consists of 3 phases: 

  1. Set of workshops defining scope, design and governance structure
  2. Implementation and data cleansing
  3. Testing, training and deployment

We aim to help companies who have no previous experience in MDM to get started and gain an understanding of all the moving parts of an MDM initiative. To be sure, the MVP will not suffice to solve any deeper data-related problems but it will provide a wealth of insights and also establish a way of working that can then be iterated towards a more comprehensive MDM solution.

Would you like us to help you get started with Master Data Management? – contact us at Enfo!

Martin Rydman
Business Excellence Lead