We have conducted a survey with experts in the field of Master Data Management to analyze the current maturity & market sentiment of  MDM initiatives. The generated insights reveal the untapped potential  and where to improve these initiatives.

This blog post is the first one of two posts describing the current role of SAP MDG and master data management (MDM) initiatives as well as an outlook on how to design a roadmap in order to get more out of your MDM program. This blog post focuses on the as-is situation and the strengths and weaknesses MDM initiatives offer. In the second post we will take a look at the future potential and the design of a roadmap on how to transform your MDM program into Next Generation Data Management.

A Survey of Leaders in the Field of Master Data Management

At the 2019 Camelot MDG Forum in Walldorf at SAP, experts in the field of Master Data Management came together to exchange their thoughts and experience with their peers, as well as to gain new insights for future developments. In this context we engaged in discussions with over 70 delegates and industry leaders, held and listened to presentations and ultimately conducted a survey to answer the central question “Which trends are currently shaping the future of the master data management landscapes?”.

In the survey, we saw a good adoption-rate of standardized Master Data Management solutions and in particular some advanced approaches, but companies are not yet fully embracing their modern data management aspirations.

Many of the surveyed companies see challenges in the technological as well as human capabilities of their organizations. Hence, there is a wider discrepancy in maturity levels between the companies & industries depending on the ability to cope with these challenges.

Market Sentiment on Usage of SAP MDG & Business Objects

When managing master data, it is crucial to utilize adequate tools in order to facilitate and automate the maintenance process. A commonly used solution is SAP MDG as it seamlessly fits in many system landscapes consisting of various solutions from the SAP suite. In the survey we asked whether SAP MDG is used to automate master data management within the respondents’ companies. The answers painted a clear picture:

Approximately 4 out of 5 companies either have SAP MDG in place or are planning to implement it within the next 2 years in order to automate MDM.

Although an adoption rate falling just short of 80% suggests a deeper understanding of the solution, the reality seems to differ – two-thirds of the respondents stated they use SAP MDG for the standard business objects:

  • 21% Material Master Data
  • 4% Article Master Data
  • 19% Supplier or Customer Master Data
  • 18% Business Partner Master Data
  • 7% Financials Master Data

When asked about further SAP Data Management Technologies, 15% of respondents stated that they use dedicated Quality Measurement / Management Tools such as SAP IS and SAP ADP, while archiving tools such as SAP ILM are still falling short with usage rate of only 4%.

The Perils when implementing SAP MDG

Even though MDM and the development of system landscapes are highly prioritized and define a central role in the IT strategy of companies, many of them see challenges along their implementation roadmaps.

As previously mentioned, many of the respondents have either implemented SAP MDG already or are about to implement it soon. Hence, the risks and challenges gathered in the answers describe both past experiences as well as anticipated challenges in the upcoming implementation. The biggest challenges seen by the respondents were Change Management (16%), Technical Capabilities of SAP MDG (13%) and Business Involvement (12%).

Potentials when implementing modern Data Management Technologies

Modern Data Management technologies, as seen by the respondents, offer highly attractive benefits for future digital initiatives and business programs, among them: Data Quality Management (29%), Higher Degree of Automation (27%) and Cost Reduction (14%). Interestingly, companies perceive the actual benefits of modern data management technologies like cost reduction and a higher degree of automation as being substantial and many endeavor to become more savvy in the field of data management.

In order to do so, companies need to overcome the stated challenges of which the biggest have been identified, such as Change Management, Technical Capabilities, Complex Data Migration, Capable Resources and Business Involvement.

How to further advance your Data Management Initiatives

As the results above show, the majority of respondents are already using SAP MDG as an MDM solution and therefore have already taken action regarding data management in their companies. While the foundation seems to be well-laid, a lack of further aspirations or ambition in advancing the existing data management methods & tools is visible. This progress can be achieved by implementing new or further developing existing methods and tools. These could include data quality measurement/management tools, artificial intelligence solutions or platform solutions.

In order to effectively transform your data management approach, a well-structured roadmap and clear objectives must be defined. Depending on the maturity of your data management initiative, different key tasks will become more relevant.

Whether you are using SAP MDG and would like to advance your data management approach or would like to talk about potential implementation plans feel free to contact us. For further information on the topic and the survey check out our latest study “How Companies can turn their MDM into Next Generation Data Management in 2020” and read our next post. In this survey we also laid out a structure and designed a roadmap to transform your MDM into Next Generation Data Management.

We would like to thank Christopher Troy for his valuable contribution to this article. 

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