Your digital transformation efforts won’t succeed without great master data—technology trends

By Scott Taylor on May 18, 2021

For the second installment in this five-part series, I want to talk about top technology trends and your data program. The goal of enterprise-wide digitization is a top priority in boardrooms around the world. And rightfully so. However, most companies tend to focus their attention and resources around the latest technology macro trends and digital transformation (DX) initiatives, without much, if any, thought or investment given to core data programs.

But all of these macro trends—every digitally transformative customer-facing initiative, every data science and analytics-based project, every as-a-service offering, every foray into e-commerce, and every enterprise software implementation—rely on the output of your data management efforts. Without it, you’re setting yourself up for mediocrity. And as innovations emerge and technology develops, high-quality data—whether directly or behind the scenes—will only become more important. So, a strategic approach to master data management will remain essential to your organization’s ability to capitalize on new trends and adapt to stay competitive over the long term.

Gartner’s top 10 data and analytics trends for 2021

  1. Smarter, more responsible, scalable AI
  2. Composable data and analytics
  3. Data fabric is the foundation
  4. From big to small and wide data
  5. XOps
  6. Engineered decision intelligence
  7. Data and analytics as a core business function
  8. Graph relates everything
  9. The rise of the augmented consumer
  10. Data and analytics at the edge

Forrester’s top technology trends to watch in 2021 and beyond

  1. Rising demand for ethical AI
  2. Recasting of automation roadmaps
  3. Moving toward hyperlocal business operations
  4. Driving innovation everywhere using cloud-native technologies
  5. Shifting cloud strategies toward the edge

What’s interesting is that most businesses talk about the need for data management without overtly mentioning it. MDM outputs come up in countless strategy sessions and support untold corporate initiatives behind the scenes yet go largely unacknowledged. By calling out these underlying contributions, you can illustrate its value to your organization while helping projects achieve better results. Examples of unrecognized—but mission-critical—MDM contributions include:

AI and machine learning

“Training data” forms the foundation of artificial intelligence and machine learning—inconsistent, unmastered data leads to flawed programs.

Digital twins

Without highly structured, reliable data, it’s impossible to create and manage replicas of physical assets or devices operating in a business enterprise.


As they accelerate DX efforts, such as deepening e-commerce and DTC capabilities, companies need better data management to upgrade product data and related content quickly.

Internet of things (IoT)

Quality foundational data is key to connecting intelligent devices seamlessly and extracting operational insights effectively.

KYC and GDPR compliance

Compliance for know your customer (KYC) and general data protection regulation (GDRC) requires authenticated identity and enterprise data management.

Embracing the trend towards digital transformation can lead to significant changes and unimagined opportunities. But your organization’s ability to capitalize on these investments depends on the way you manage, master, and structure your data. Linking your data management efforts to major DX initiatives is an excellent way to drive this point home. For more tips on establishing the value of data management in your organization, check out our eBook. And to make your job easier, we created a companion eBook specifically for business leaders to illustrate the importance of core data in maximizing ROI.

About the author

Scott Taylor

Scott Taylor, The Data Whisperer, has enlightening countless business executives to the strategic value of proper data management. He focuses on business alignment and the “strategic WHY” rather than system implementation and the “technical HOW.” As Principal Consultant for MetaMeta Consulting he helps Enterprises and Tech Brands tell their data story. An avid business evangelist and original thinker, he continually shares his passion for the strategic value of master data through industry events, public speaking opportunities, blogs, videos, whitepapers, podcasts, cartoons, puppets shows and all forms of thought leadership. His new book – TELLING YOUR DATA STORY: Data Storytelling for Data Management is available now. He lives in Bridgeport, CT where he often kayaks in Black Rock harbor. He can also juggle pins and blow a square bubble.

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