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Will an MDM strategy solve data problems when implementing BPMS?

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A question suggested by Theo Priestley: Will an MDM strategy solve data problems when implementing BPMS? Is it a stepping stone to achieving big data success?

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  • Yes. Though, perhaps a trick question... and MDM strategy always solves data problems (when implemented correctly).

    What I particularly like about an MDM strategy associated with BPM is the ability to get/use data across processes for the purpose of developing rich KPI's on which to measure the business consistently company- or implementation-wide. I believe that measuring the right stuff, delivers a bigger impact to what we do, because we know where to focus efforts and how to maximize the return.

    Secondly, since MDM usually involves some sort of data governance/stewardship, there's a sense of data ownership that probably doesn't exist before MDM. Ownership is very important when moving towards "big data".

    Is it a stepping stone to big data success? It certainly doesn't hurt, but personally, I'd need more context for a big data project to know if it's THE stepping stone I'd think is first, and where it fits into the bigger picture.


  • I see MDM is what will take the BPM mindset i.e. user driven applications into the enterprise software game. MDM needs a seamless link with your process technology that handles all the required business logic as data in particular legacy data is managed as required in any part of the process. Interesting to see IBM now pushing this message! But the real trick is to remove coding to deliver custom solutions.

  • Yes, MDM and BPM are complimentary and I would go further to say that your BPMS of choice should exchange schema definitions and other metadata with MDM systems in order to make the job easier.

  • Great question about BPM and data! And some great answers highlighting the importance of data ownership, governance and stewardship. And also the mention of the "validation of the category" by IBM. So there are both technical and business aspects to the "data-is-the-foundation-for-process" idea.

    The technical aspects can be daunting, when one considers the number of data elements that a typical corporation is maintaining, and the permutations and combinations of such semantic assets. I've had some experience with the MDM issue, although before the acroynym was in wide use. And my own assessment is that however challenging the logistics and technology of MDM, that the governance question is even harder. It's always difficult to make a business case for "infrastructure". And the answer for many organizations has just been to buy the ERP system -- including the data model -- off the shelf. Now however, when so many medium to large organizations have sometimes dozens or even a hundred ERP instances, this strategy is also problematic.

    BPM needs good data. MDM refers to the practice and technology of helping ensure that good data. But the size of the MDM project is non-trivial and requires executive ownership and on-going responsibility. I don't see any magic bullets.

  • In and of itself, singularly as a concept? "No." Like all things "stragedy," it boils down to execution.

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