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William McKnight

Hello and welcome to my blog!

I will periodically be sharing my thoughts and observations on information management here in the blog. I am passionate about the effective creation, management and distribution of information for the benefit of company goals, and I'm thrilled to be a part of my clients' growth plans and connect what the industry provides to those goals. I have played many roles, but the perspective I come from is benefit to the end client. I hope the entries can be of some modest benefit to that goal. Please share your thoughts and input to the topics.

About the author >

William is the president of McKnight Consulting Group, a firm focused on delivering business value and solving business challenges utilizing proven, streamlined approaches in data warehousing, master data management and business intelligence, all with a focus on data quality and scalable architectures. William functions as strategist, information architect and program manager for complex, high-volume, full life-cycle implementations worldwide. William is a Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a frequent best-practices judge, has authored hundreds of articles and white papers, and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars. His team's implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won Best Practices awards. He is a former IT Vice President of a Fortune company, a former software engineer, and holds an MBA. William is author of the book 90 Days to Success in Consulting. Contact William at wmcknight@mcknightcg.com.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in William's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Acquisitions are all around us these days, both through the natural movements of the market as well as the activity becoming increasingly necessary because of business downtown. This can double, or greater, the number of customer records that need to be managed. Duplicates will undoubtedly be a challenge in this process and it would be unheard of for this situation not to create data conversion issues.

It used to be that I would advocate IT be a part of due diligence in M&A. With the urgent nature of many of the recent M&A activity, that is not happening. IT must assess the master data issues in an M&A and take appropriate action. Just getting the application layer together (i.e., by integrating ERP) is not enough. The data layer is equally, if not more, important to enable answers to questions like (all for the combined entity):

Who are the customers?
Who are the most/least profitable customers?
What customers are shared by the pre-merge companies?
How do I reform my sales staff to address the customers?
What suppliers are common to the pre-merge companies and what is the total spend with them?
What is my total exposure to each customer and supplier?
How do I reform my vendor management?

Some will turn to a "neutral" source such as D&B for keying the customers at this point and other times it's appropriate to form up a new surrogate key for the customers. Either way, physical co-habitation inside a database and true integration of customer lists are a must and M&A is a good time for MDM.

Posted October 8, 2008 11:45 AM
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