In physics, antimatter has the same mass, but opposite charge, of matter. Collisions between matter and antimatter lead to the annihilation of both, the end result of which is a release of energy available to do work.
In this blog series, I will use antimatter as a metaphor for a factor colliding with a master data management (MDM) matter that not only annihilates it, but also prevents a release of energy needed to make MDM work.
I call these factors the Antimatters of MDM.
The business justification paradox
Although a business justification for MDM is easy to make due to the tremendous cost reduction that could be achieved by eliminating the redundant maintenance of multiple copies of (especially customer) master data scattered across the organization, the reality of maintaining their existing software applications makes it no easy -- and far from operationally risk-free -- task to engineer this transition. This prevents many large organizations from attempting MDM implementations despite the powerful technologies and mature methodologies now available.
Furthermore, we often talk about the need to make the business justification for MDM (as well as any other enterprise initiative) as if having this justification will convince the organization to implement a solution to an obvious business problem. I call this the business justification paradox, and its antimatter annihilates many MDM programs before they even get a chance to be fired out of the particle accelerator, so to speak.
Because the harsh reality is that even a legitimate business-justified solution, which in the long run will reduce costs, mitigate risks and increase revenues, will in the immediate future only increase costs, increase risks and decrease revenues. This is a difficult sell to an organization’s shareholders. Essentially, its bottom line says that we will lose (and spend more) money this year, so we can make (and spend less) money next year.
While it’s easy to criticize short-term thinking in organizations, I must admit that, no matter how convincing the justification is, I too am often hesitant to personally sacrifice in the short-term (e.g., eating healthier) in order to be better off in the long-term (e.g., reducing risk of heart disease). To paraphrase J. Wellington Wimpy, I’ll gladly pay the price of poor health tomorrow for the chance to eat a hamburger today.
Building a strong business case for your MDM program is essential, as is understanding the wimpy response you might get from your organization’s stakeholders despite providing them with a business justification for MDM.