Kesu - Fotolia

Problem solve Get help with specific problems with your technologies, process and projects.

How to combine MDM projects and BI programs -- and boost their ROI

Combining master data management projects and business intelligence programs can provide business value -- if the architecture is there to support it, says expert Anne Marie Smith.

Can combining master data management (MDM) projects with initiatives such as business intelligence and business process management programs increase the ROI of both investments? And if so, do you have tips on how to effectively combine them?

Master data management efforts are major initiatives in their own right. They require significant investments in human resources (project managers, MDM and data architects, tool specialists, data analysts, etc.) and in MDM software and supporting hardware. A big budget and ample amounts of time are needed to successfully implement and then sustain a foundational MDM framework and subsequent development projects.

A successful
BI program
requires that the
organization have
a well-managed
MDM environment.

However, many companies launch or expand MDM projects to address the needs of other information disciplines, such as business intelligence. A successful BI program requires that the organization have a well-managed MDM environment so that the right data -- clean, accurate and consistent -- can be applied for analysis and decision making. Poor master data management has doomed many BI efforts.

Combining MDM and BI, therefore, can provide increased business value in managing data and information, if done properly. An MDM architecture must be designed so that the BI architecture is in harmony with it, not in collision. MDM projects require enterprise data governance and enterprise metadata management, and so does successful BI -- these disciplines should be established before a joint MDM and BI effort is launched. Additionally, successful master data management and business intelligence rely on a robust enterprise data architecture, so the development of a strong conceptual data model with defined and approved subject areas and critical analytical metadata would also contribute to the success of a combined program.

The ROI of a combined MDM and BI initiative can be measured in the value returned from improved understanding of critical common data that can be used as the foundation for different forms of analysis, and in the increase in the speed of decision making enabled by the data analysis.

Next Steps

Tips for creating a strong MDM program

Master data management software has come of age

A mix of data management platforms can support big data

Dig Deeper on MDM best practices

Join the conversation


Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Have you combined MDM projects and BI programs? What tips do you have to achieve ROI?
MDM (Master Data Management) projects have initiates all on their own. Combining them with BI programs is a very successful way to boost a ROI.

  • Have a well managed environment (clean and consistent data.)
  • Don't make decisions too quickly (making the right decisions can have even the slightest impact.)
  • Organizations (anything no matter what if it's not organized it won't be effective so make sure everything is well throughout and organized.)
I have combined, successfully, MDM and BI program efforts as a part of an enterprise data management strategy and implementation.  Doing this is not a simple task, but there cannot be robust BI without good master and reference data, along with good data governance and good metadata management.  Determining ROI for any effort requires that the organization know its goals, knows what it wants to achieve, and how those achievements will be measured quantitatively. 
I advise on having a properly managed environment to ensure the right data are applied for analysis and decision-making. Also avoid inadequate management decisions.
Thank you for reemphasizing the importance of combining MDM and BI programs. MDM is key to every enterprise information management initiatives and acts as a backbone for key decision making activities. BI needs clean, consistent and connected data about customers, products, assets, locations etc for it to be successful. MDM when implemented correctly, provides quality data about these entities and acts as key driver in realizing expected ROI.
Thanks for the compliment on the article!  It is important to recognize the need for MDM as part of any BI / analytics effort that can return accurate and timely results.  Also, the need for good data governance and good metadata management cannot be overlooked.