In this excerpt from their book, Customer Data Integration: Reaching a Single Version of the Truth (Wiley), Jill and Evan provide advice for business managers when positioning master
management in their organizations.
In many ways, customer data integration (CDI) is less a new technology and more a new model. It can transform the way your company processes its customer information. As you begin formulating
reasons why master data management might be the right answer in your company, expect to shift some paradigms. In doing so, consider the following Dos and Don’ts:
Do take the time to scope out the immediate need for CDI. While an authoritative customer system of record is the desired outcome, where you start is more likely to determine
your long-term success. For instance, sales reps for the private banking division of a financial institution didn’t have a holistic understanding of all their customers’ products and
tried cross-selling products like mortgage insurance to banking customers who didn’t have home loans. Combining and reconciling products across service and sales channels to a single
customer was the on-ramp to a larger, enterprise-wide CDI effort.
Don’t ignore difficult people or departments when doing your CDI and master data management (MDM) research. The need for an authoritative source of customer data comes from
all corners of the company. People or departments that feel slighted might try their own initiative and become the saboteurs.
Do articulate what you and your company mean by “customer.” Sometimes “customer” is used as a catch-all for a variety of parties that may include
partners, suppliers, prospects, employees, citizens, taxpayers, re-sellers, contractors, donors, volunteers, or anyone your company does business with and needs to track. In fact, you’re
likely to hear the term “party” used to earmark a broader base of constituents.
Don’t prematurely announce your MDM effort. Some companies applaud the “bottom up” research approach to support new technology initiatives. Others don’t
acknowledge the effort unless it’s been preceded by a vision statement, a project kickoff meeting – ideally including the requisite buffet lunch – and a full-blown business
case. Know what type of foundation you need to lay before getting approval for the CDI project.
Do begin letting vendors know that you’re interested – but be honest if you haven’t yet secured budget or management support. Like most vendors, the CDI players
are more than happy to educate potential buyers of their products and even do a proof-of-concept in order to demonstrate their functionality. What backfires is the project manager or sponsor who
doesn’t manage her vendors’ expectations or, worse, who masquerades as someone having more budget and authority than she has. Be honest that you’re in research mode. This is the
best way to transform a potential vendor into a valuable business partner.
Don’t hang your hat on the market leading vendor. Just because they’re the market leader doesn’t mean they’ll offer the functionality your company
Do understand whether there’s a “registry” system in-house that already performs some of the functions represented in the taxonomy categories listed in Chapter
2 of Customer Data Integration: Reaching a Single Version of the Truth. Many companies needed to reconcile customers from across various systems before the CDI vendors brought their
products to market. Make sure you’re not trying to reinvent the wheel.
Editor's Note: This content is excerpted from Customer Data Integration: Reaching a Single Version of the Truth (0-471-91697-8), by Jill Dyché and Evan Levy, with
permission from the publisher John Wiley & Sons. The book can be purchased from Amazon.com or wherever books
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