Most master data management (MDM), data quality, and accompanying data governance efforts prioritize customer, account, and product data over all others. Certainly, industry-specific exceptions exist; for example, energy, utility, and oil and gas companies place a high priority on asset and location data domains, while investment management firms prioritize securities. But exceptions aside, a recent Forrester survey of 298 business process management (BPM) and MDM professionals across industries found that 83% prioritized customer data, 61% product data, and 53% account data. And coming in at 44%, the next highest priority: the red-headed stepchild of the MDM “party” (pun intended — apologies for that), employee data!
It’s no surprise that customer/account and product data-centric MDM programs get the lion’s share of funding, executive sponsorship, and prioritization within most organizations. This data is the lifeblood of your customer engagement and supply/distribution chain, with quantifiable impacts to both top- and bottom-line success, and can be positioned as a major competitive differentiator. But even more relevant, those MDM efforts are often driven by sales, marketing, finance, operations, or risk management functional organizations — all of which are typically better funded than many human resource (HR) teams, especially when it comes to IT budgeting. Of course, this isn’t always the case, and many large enterprises spend millions of dollars optimizing their HR systems infrastructure. Applications supporting learning management, performance and talent management, recruiting, time and attendance, benefits administration, compensation planning and analysis, and organizational charting and employee directories all require high-quality employee and organizational data.
Well actually I meant mobs of flash, but I couldn’t resist the word play. Although, come to think of it, flash mobs might be the right way to describe the density of flash memory system vendors here at Oracle Open World. Walking around the exhibits it seems as if every other booth is occupied by someone selling flash memory systems to accelerate Oracle’s database, and all of them claiming to be: 1) faster than anything that Oracle, who already integrates flash into its systems, offers, and 2) faster and/or cheaper than the other flash vendor two booths down the aisle.
All joking aside, the proliferation of flash memory suppliers is pretty amazing, although a venue devoted to the world’s most popular database would be exactly where you might expect to find them. In one sense flash is nothing new – RAM disks, arrays of RAM configured to mimic a disk, have been around since the 1970s but were small and really expensive, and never got on a cost and volume curve to drive them into a mass-market product. Flash, benefitting not only from the inherent economies of semiconductor technology but also from the drivers of consumer volumes, has the transition to a cost that makes it a reasonable alternative for some use case, with database acceleration being probably the most compelling. This explains why the flash vendors are gathered here in San Francisco this week to tout their wares – this is the richest collection of potential customers they will ever see in one place.