MDM And Data Governance Among Top EA Trends To Watch

In October, my colleague Brian Hopkins published Forrester’s extremely popular enterprise architecture (EA) trends research, the Top 10 Business Technology Trends EA Should Watch: 2012 to 2014. As in past iterations of this research, master data management (MDM), along with the data governance capabilities required to support it, remain among the top technology strategies that enterprise architects expect to deliver the most business value to their firms, as well as require the most change to their firm’s technology landscape over the next three years.

In 2009, the anticipated trend around MDM was that it was going to significantly mature both from a technology and architecture standpoint, but also in the skills, best practices, and methodologies used to effectively deliver MDM capabilities. I believe that the maturity of MDM practitioners has in fact increased significantly over the past two years.  In August, I published a report titled Master Data Management: Customer Maturity Takes A Great Leap Forward, which analyzed about 175 MDM- and data governance-related client inquiries Forrester received between January 2010 and June 2011.  The crux of that research was to demonstrate that our clients are asking much more practical and insightful questions about MDM architectures, best practices, strategies, governance, and vendor selection than in years past.

Brian’s EA trends report identifies two specific trends around data management and governance:

Trend One: MDM meets process data management

Firms are finally recognizing that there is an unbreakable link between processes and data and that trying to accomplish MDM without accounting for the business processes that generate, govern, and consume the data is difficult or impossible. Process data management aligns data efforts such as MDM with the targeted business processes, decisions, and interactions that most effectively demonstrate business value from data investments.  We expect continued investment in MDM, but the nature of enterprise business process transformation makes progress slow. Technology investments will continue in both MDM and BPM, with leading firms coordinating the efforts and expanding their single-domain MDM solutions (such as common customer) to multidomain enterprise MDM implementations.

Trend Two:  The business takes up data governance

Leading firms recognize data governance as a prerequisite to the success of many other initiatives. Accordingly, data governance has reemerged with vigor, gaining newfound visibility. However, according to our November 2010 Global Master Data Management Online Survey, 70% of the 113 IT professionals responding reported data governance efforts that are primarily IT-driven. We do see a slight increase in the number of programs that are enterprise-driven in which both business and IT participate equally, but we think this trend is significant. Large-scale enterprise business process, BI transformation, and advanced data quality initiatives have historically delivered below expectations or have failed outright because organizations did not prioritize and take responsibility for governing the business confidence in and trustworthiness of their data. This has been a hard lesson to learn, but the business must participate in data governance for enterprise data and process initiatives to succeed. We expect companies with good data governance practices to continue to be a minority over the next three years, although a significant and growing one.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these MDM and data governance trends, and be sure to read Brian’s full report to see how BI, business process management, application integration, SOA, and other technology initiatives dependent on high-quality master data fared in Forrester’s EA trends analysis!


we're seeing the same trends...

Rob -

I don't comment often on blogs, but this topic pulled me in. It validates the same trends that our global team has witnessed over the past several months while engaging with senior executives on both the business and IT sides of the house.

Managing the processes and flows of information, as well as the information itself has been a very popular topic for us lately. Customers are seeing the importance of combining data governance, data quality, business rules, business process and master data into a single, streamlined effort. As a matter of fact, for our teams this is the primary discussion we are having on a repeated basis.

Standalone efforts and solutions have been attempted, but it's in combining these efforts where true successes are achieved. Real ROI, true transformation, and significant positive business impact can be achieved if you step back and define an integrated solution, with a holistic approach. You can get there through an ad-hoc approach, but the time, costs, risks, and effort are much greater.

We're excited great to see this heightened maturity in discussions with customers. It's so much more fun to solve the problems than it is to talk about systems and features.

Charlie Lawhorn
Senior Vice President

Hi Charlie Thanks for the

Hi Charlie
Thanks for the comment, I'm glad to hear that these themes are also resonating with you and your customers. I'm hoping it's a sign that organizations are moving in the right direction to manage their data more effectively.

Hi Rob, Good entry on

Hi Rob,
Good entry on MDM.
Data and information were always supposed to be in line with process management, it is not untill recent that companies no longer see IT services as owner of the data, but as a mere facilitator. Which brings responsiblities and ownership right back to the business. A good starting point for mature enterprise data management. Although, of course, ownership is a little bit a progress breaker for the speed of maturing internal data management, this will soon change when datastreams and processes become more clear.

MDM will be used for governance and BPM issues. With MDM in place further (future) data control, data management might even evolve into gathering less data instead of the current trend of storing more data. This might evolve in a whole new perspective on data with interesting challenges

Great vision!

Thanks for your comment Marinka, I really like your vision of data management being more about gathering the relevant data than scaling to store as much data as possible. That goes right along with my thinking. I often say I'd rather have a megabyte of insight compared to a petabyte of untrusted data!