Your digital transformation efforts won’t succeed without great master data—the process for data teams

By Scott Taylor on May 27, 2021

My last post in this series connected the dots between some hot tech trends and your master data program. Now let’s get into the three phases of digital transformation (DX) that all enterprises need to move through to lay the solid foundation required to optimize any kind of digital transformation.

As you’ll see, getting from where you are now to where you need to be is not a discrete data project but an ongoing and evolving journey.

Multiple data silos

So, where did these data silos come from? In the course of chasing innovation, businesses embraced the trend of persona-based tech stacks (ERP, CRM, FinTech, MarTech, ABM, AdTech, etc.). Each new app created flexibility as well as a new data silo. And each new silo carried the potential to create duplicate data. Multiply that across various departments, regions, channels, and go-to-market initiatives, and things can get real messy real quick.

Globalization and frequent merger and acquisition activity further complicates the situation. Vital relationship types (such as customer, vendor, partner, and prospect) and other important commercial entities (like brand, product, and service) often end up with different definitions across different parts of the same organization—creating an inability to scale. Acknowledging these operational barriers is the first step to seamlessly connecting your systems at the data layer.

Establishing relationships

No matter your industry, relationships are the foundation of your business. So, any operational transformation requires a relationship-centric mindset. A consistent shared view and definition of each relationship and brand enables your data to meet significant compliance and regulatory requirements as well as support initiatives like account-based marketing (ABM). Putting business relationships at the center—both strategically and systematically—of any activity sets you on the path to enterprise integration.

The three phases of digital transformation

Creating an ecosystem

Now that you’ve addressed your internal data relationships, you need to look outward and engage in external trust networks to create a holistic, connected ecosystem. Successful business relationships rely on integrity and accuracy, so your supporting data needs to be valid, current, and properly structured. Standardizing how you engage, interoperate, and communicate with each of your partners across all of your value chains creates shared data and syndicated processes that allow interoperability in a trust network to scale. Applying the same data and definitions across verticals and markets will give you the foundation for seamless integration.

Most organizations are in some form of a legacy state. And that’s ok. It does not mean you lack modern technology and infrastructure. You just need to take holistic steps to make relationships the heart of your processes and develop a connected ecosystem. As part of your overall MDM program, this will provide the consistency and deeper interoperability you need to maximize ROI, pursue new business models, and gain operational efficiencies.

For more tips on building a data program that maximizes DX success, check out our eBook. And to help you cultivate organizational support, 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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