The first step toward implementing a sustainable data governance strategy is to build a strong business case. But, building a business case for data can be a daunting task. The need to estimate actual costs and benefits and to quantify value is high because even though everyone likes operational efficiencies, more trustworthy analytics, etc., these simply do not hold as much weight as positive impacts on the bottom line.
Sometimes, Master Data Management (MDM) projects have an influential sponsor like the CFO or CTO so it may seem that the door has been opened and no business case is needed. However – you must keep in mind that enterprise-wide MDM projects can span multiple years and as is common at most corporations, executives move around at regular intervals. One day, you may be enjoying the benefits of corporate sponsorship, and the next you could find yourself having to fight for the resources you have acquired.
The business case is a vital foundation in any successful data initiative. When assessing whether it is more productive to ‘go at it alone’ vs hiring MDM consultants there are a few key decision points that need to be evaluated:
Does your company have influencers that see the bigger picture and can conceptually see the value of recommended changes and the positive impact they will have on the business?
In general, companies that struggle with delayed invoicing, slow cash collections, inefficient sales and marketing have not chosen to invest in enterprise data. These companies probably haven’t had leadership who believed in it. People who have never seen how investing in Master Data Management can positively impact the business, have trouble imagining that it could or that it would be worth the investment. There is usually one person or small group pushing for change and an external MDM consultant can act as external backup to lean on for other opinions, swaying of internal opinions, and clear definition of operational issues and bottom line impact due to data inefficiencies.
Does your company have the internal resources that can tactically drive the change process? Enterprise-wide data programs require both IT and Business resources. Everything from developers to analysts to strategic leaders will be required. The reality is that most companies don’t have the resource availability to make the changes necessary for project success.
Let’s not forget that a big element of a business case high quality data. You’ll need to accurately measure the scope, KPI results, business impact, and business value. By presenting inaccurate metrics, you may be setting yourself up for failure – a project that goes way over budget or under-delivers on ROI make shake the confidence of executives for future projects. A professional Master Data Management consultant will help ensure you collect the high quality data you need, analyze it appropriately, and deliver accurate estimates.
Is there a culture that supports internal change or would externally induced change be more acceptable from a change management perspective? One often overlooked aspect to developing a sustainable business case is the culture of the corporation. Many times a decentralized set up or a slow-moving, “old school” mind set can be difficult to work with. Part of delivering a business case is making sure you focus on the things that will be well-received by the executive audience. Good MDM consultants will make sure they understand the culture and politics within an organization to ensure all these bases are covered.
Ultimately, each organization is different and there is no silver bullet. However, your chances for success now and in the long-term are greatly improved when you team up with an expert consultancy.