A few weeks ago, I had the great opportunity to attend the MDM & Data Governance Summit held in NYC. The summit was packed with information, trends, best practices and research from the MDM Gartner Institute. Much of the information is something you don’t find in webinars or white papers on the internet. Speakers were from many different industries who brought different perspectives to the Data Management concepts.

I also got to meet IT business executives who are all along different parts of their MDM and Data Governance journey.  As I reflect back on the conference, I wanted to share some of my key highlights and takeaways from the event as we all start to prepare for our IT and data strategies in 2018:

MDM & Data Governance Summit: 8 Key Takeaways:

MDM Main Drivers

The top 5 main drivers of MDM are: Achieving synergies for cross-sell, Compliance, Customer satisfaction, System integration and economies of scale for M&A. A new driver also has been considered recently and that is: Digital Transformation and MDM is at the core of Digital Transformation.

IT & Business Partnerships are More Important Than Ever

If there was one thing that everyone at the summit agreed upon, it was that the partnership of Business and IT directly impacts the success of the MDM and Data Governance programs more than any other factor. For one banking company, this happened naturally as the business also understood the power of data and the issues related to it. But largely, the experience of most points to this partnership being an uphill battle to get the buy-in from the business. Tying the project to a specific business objective is critical in these scenarios. Bottom line is that a solid partnership between business and IT will provide the right foundation for a MDM program.

Managing Change is Critical

It’s widely accepted that any MDM journey is long, and it takes energy and perseverance. One company mitigated this process by starting with the domain which they thought would have the most impact.

Data Governance Council

Only about 20% of the audience had some form of data governance council but all the case studies presented had a data governance council in place. The council was made up of both business and IT teams. There is no real pattern from the organizational structure perspective. An insurance company which has a hugely successful MDM implementation has the Enterprise Information Management team part of the Compliance team. Another financial company had the team reporting to the COO. So it depends on how your company is organized and does business.


This topic was everywhere. 50% of the audience when polled said they were impacted by this regulation. But looks like lot of companies still lag way behind in terms of preparing their enterprise data for compliance. This is a serious issue as there are less than 150 days to get ready. One of the speakers said that MDM is the heart of GDPR implementation.

Next Generation MDM

‘Data as a service’ is something every company should aim for in the next 2-3 years. Also bringing in social media and unstructured data will be key to gain actionable insights from MDM initiatives. Large enterprises have moved beyond CDI & PIM to focus on relationships and hierarchies. Cloud MDM will be in demand but there is potential for creating more data silos as integration becomes a challenge.

Big Data Lakes

There are just too many technologies in the Big Data space. Therefore solution architecture becomes key when building a Data Lake. A common implementation was to load the data from legacy systems into Hadoop without any transformation. But without metadata, the lake quickly becomes a swamp. So, to get true value from Big Data Analytics, MDM and Data Governance have to be effective and sustainable. Also from a technology perspective, there needs to be sound integration with big data systems. My company Talend has been at the forefront of Big Data Integration providing a unified platform for MDM, DQ, ESB and Data Integration.



Finally, I want to end this blog with some great quotes from the speakers:

“Digital Transformation requires Information Excellence.”

“If you don’t know where you are, a map won’t help.”

“Big Data + Data Governance = Big Opportunity”

“Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves.”

“There is no operational excellence without Data excellence.”

“A shared solution is the best solution.”

“People and processes are more critical than technology.”

“Rules before tools.”

“Master data is the heart of applications & architecture.”

“There is no AI without IA (Information Agenda).”

As you prepare for MDM and Data Governance initiatives in 2018, I hope some of my takeaways will spark new ideas for you on how to have a successful journey to MDM.