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MDM and Big Data, what synergies

The analysis of Pascal Anthoine, Director of the Enterprise Information Management (EIM) Practice at Micropole.

In 2012, the Master Data Management (MDM) software market grew 21 percent, according to Gartner, to $1.9 billion. Gartner predicts that in 2015 the market will exceed $3 billion. A progression that testifies to the growing interest of companies in MDM. In the age of Big Data, is this a cause and effect relationship? Pascal Anthoine, Director of Micropole's Enterprise Information Management Practice, answers this question

Having access to unique, integrated reference data (customer, product, asset, etc.) that is aligned with business challenges... What company, in the current context, doesn't need this? In the same way, the increase in data volume, the rise in power of digital and the social data it drains, as well as the cloud, are pushing companies to increase the pressure on IT departments to optimize the management, and therefore the use, of strategic data. So it's fair to ask what synergies there might be between MDM and Big Data... or if there are any at all. There is a real desire to associate and link corporate data, and to enrich it with semi-structured or even unstructured information from social and digital channels. This desire is accompanied by the use of inferential statistics and predictive analysis of these very large volumes of data. 

The objective: to enhance the value of information on a very large scale

The real challenge for IT departments is to obtain accurate, consolidated and qualitative information about Big Data. But if Big Data is not structured to a minimum, no processing can be envisaged and it will become complicated to add value to it. Once structured, Big Data can also enrich the company's 'master' data. However, today, projects that combine the two are very rare. The reason? There is no strict legal framework concerning social networks in particular. Indeed, it is difficult to legislate on the use of social data by companies. How will fans and Internet users react to the use of their data by companies? What is the right of use?

Today, the precautionary principle is the order of the day in companies faced with the lack of clarity of the CNIL. But the need to centralize information from different channels remains, especially with digital. To do this, algorithms and techniques of parsing and data matching on very high volumes can be used.

Decompartmentalize the channels

Master Data Management ensures that data is available to make customer processes more efficient. Most projects address customer-oriented BtoC issues (often associated with the retail sector), take place in a cross-channel and omnichannel strategy and require unified information.

MDM also integrates more global corporate data governance projects, including information system overhauls, for which an integrated solution should be favored (including data analysis, rectification and management). Indeed, data quality is increasingly becoming an integral part of MDM. This is why all solutions provide an integrated dashboard solution for quality indicators. The key is to manage and successfully bring together a wide range of business functions.


The keys to an MDM project 

Today, in a period of reduced IT budgets, projects require a large number of meetings and a lot of upstream work in order to identify and validate the gains. These gains must be identified and validated after the project is launched.

Many companies already had several ERP projects in place: their MDM project gives them the opportunity to make the whole thing consistent, and at a lower cost.

The main steps to follow 

  • Upstream: detect where the real interest lies in setting up a governance project thanks to a thorough but rapid analysis of the existing situation.
  • During the scoping phase: identification of 'batches' and production start-up (on average 6 months) on short project cycles; and support for companies to take control of their data.
  • Downstream: a governance policy that is both operational and sustainable.

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