This article first appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of The Record.
Will we ever know the ‘truth’ about who killed John F. Kennedy? Even if we accept that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, will we ever know why Jack Ruby shot and killed Oswald before he could ‘talk’? Our innate and unyielding search for the truth is part of the basic curiosity we all share.
Today, we are faced with a similar challenge of finding ‘truth’ within the non-stop avalanche of data. As much as we would all like to subscribe to an ‘in data we trust’ philosophy, the complexities facing our business and IT teams make it nearly impossible to find such trust in data. Without trusted data, how does an organisation effectively compete?
According to Gartner, 89% of companies believe that customer experience will be their primary basis for competition in 2016.
To help drive this point home, it is jaw-dropping to know that more than half of the Fortune 500 companies have disappeared from the list since 2000. The unwavering digital transformation that is taking place across corporations is the biggest factor in maintaining competitive advantage. At the heart of this digital transformation is our beloved data, and at the heart of data is a fundamental need for accuracy and governance. Corporations are increasingly adopting an ‘in data we trust’ strategy in order to confidently and consistently make the decisions that will lead and grow their respective organisations.
Today, the cornerstone of a trusted data strategy is built on an enterprise master data management (MDM) technology foundation. Combined with a commitment to data governance and stewardship, MDM can be a critical component to ensuring successful digital transformation initiatives.
For a sales and marketing executive, data is at the heart of planning and decision making. Whether sales reports or marketing analytics, decisions are always based on some form of data, and usually have some degree of ‘distrust’. The data that supports decision-making resides in multiple systems, deployed in multiple environments, across multiple geographies.
Today, a single, trusted view of the customer is a top priority for nearly every organisation. Providing historical context, and the ability to connect that information over a variety of platforms, is a growing must-have.
More and more mission critical business applications are being deployed in the cloud. Customer data exists inside and outside the firewall. System and data integration between cloud and on-premise data repositories are core to overall enterprise information management. MDM is about application information governance, so the applications that reside in the cloud and outside of the firewall simply add more dependency on embracing MDM in the cloud.
Though the physical hosting of data and data processing may reside on servers in the cloud, this is very different from relocating the business role of data stewardship as part of your data governance strategy.
Gartner points to two important elements for trusting data in the cloud. The first is cloud MDM hub services providing MDM leaders with significant benefits in supporting proof of concept, development and testing activities prior to placing an on-premises MDM solution into production. Secondly, cloud MDM hub services are also forcing MDM leaders to ensure the level of governance practiced within their organisation’s data integration discipline enables them to optimise MDM benefits.
Businesses can use the power of cloud-based, data-driven applications to enlist the help of field teams to enrich, augment, rank and rate the quality of profiles and relationships. This real-time collaboration ensures that a ‘customer 360’ view is continuously managed and distributed among those that need that information the most.
As a result of the unyielding search for trust in data, along with the movement of mission critical applications that reside in the cloud, the market is accelerating towards a cloud-based MDM solution. Today, enterprise MDM is very much on premise, but customers are asking for MDM solutions to integrate well with the data that resides on the cloud.
Jeff Wilson is chief marketing officer at Profisee
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