Posted by Clay Richardson on September 11, 2009
Business Process pros don't find data sexy. While most process improvement initiatives pay lip service to data quality, only a small handful take data seriously and incorporate data modeling and data mapping into upfront discovery efforts. BPM teams typically focus on process first, user experience second, and data is an afterthought - no one ever asks if the data is clean until it’s too late!
Data Management pros value clean data over process context. "If we create clean data, then they will come" is often the mantra of Data Management pros. Unfortunately, the person coming is the CFO - asking "why are we spending so much money on something when we can’t articulate its business impact?" In other words, Data Management pros often fail to provide cross-enterprise context for MDM.
BPM Suite vendors conveniently MIA on the issue. Some argue that SOA is the silver bullet to bridge the gap between MDM and BPM initiatives. While SOA can definitely address reusability and architecture issues, many BPM teams come to realize the importance of master data too late into their initiatives. While BPM suite vendors provide basic tools to define process variables, only a few ( Lombardi/Siperian , Appian , and Polymita ) accept some responsibility for keeping process data in sync with master data sources.
MDM vendors focused on data governance and stewardship only. The good news is these MDM vendors do in fact recognize that business process plays a major role in their success. The bad news is they are only actively addressing one side of the problem: the business processes and stewardship roles that govern the administrative workflows within the MDM tools themselves. The MDM vendors are not actively influencing the business processes that consume and depend upon the master data these vendors provide.