The accurate information that Master Data Management (MDM) can produce for an enterprise feeds their bigger objectives: helping customers fulfill their centralized customer-view needs for various types of applications and specific business purposes.
The Innovative Systems Synchronos Enterprise Master Data Management platform serves both MDM and rapid application development purposes. In June, the MDM Institute placed it on its 20 Top MDM solutions for 2016, citing among the strengths of Version 4.1 of the multi-domain product its ease of use, maintenance, and scalability, as well as its robust hierarchy and workflow management features. Implementing it also requires minimal cost, resources and risk, it said.
“We want to deliver the best business results to clients in the lowest total time and costs, with fast accuracy for best results,” says Michael Ott, senior VP at Innovative. From its start, close to 50 years ago, it worked to help centralize customer views for the banking industry – cleansing and standardizing records in a service bureau capacity to create super clean data for initiatives like combined customer statements. Innovative Systems has since derived best practice methods and created capabilities such as a knowledge-based Data Quality toolset to efficiently handle these tasks, which form the basic premise of MDM today.
That led to its creating products and building architectures to produce results in a highly automated way with extremely high accuracy, he says, as well as high-productivity cognitive review tools for dealing with exception reviews for cleansing, duplicate identification, and linking phases of MDM efforts with absolute preciseness. With these in place, reviewers can experience a six-to-eight-fold increase in productivity, he says.
Full-Production Analytics for Real MDM Success
Innovative’s approach to developing its systems has supported the development of something the company calls full-production analytics services. Leveraging its tools makes it possible to embark on a Master Data Management project that’s been intensively preplanned, including simulating the whole production run in an automated way and in a condensed timeframe.
This means that at the end of the day, current quality and issues to address are identified and there’s no guessing about how to achieve the future state of quality when all data sources are integrated – knowledge that’s an asset to building the business case. The end game when it comes to the MDM effort and what applications may flow from it, after all, is to enable the business – and that demands accuracy from the outset, reached with minimal time, cost and risk.
“We don’t believe and have borne it out that it shouldn’t take years to implement MDM,” he says. “It shouldn’t even take a year…It should be done in a matter of a couple of months.” That may come as a surprise to IT and line-of-business executives who’ve seen such projects drag out over time, to the detriment of plans to improve business processes or products. Better analytics for the MDM project outcome provides the surety to the business that they’ll get what they are paying for to affect the business change they desire in a specified timeframe. Ott says Innovative’s technology lets it deliver Master Data Management in about 1/3 the time and for about half the cost of competitive offerings.
As Ott explains it, Innovative’s full-production analytics services can help companies that may even plan to use different MDM software. “They can use this information to minimize the amount of time and cost, and have the MDM vendor produce a fixed-price, fixed-time bid,” he says. When there’s a commitment to a certain cost and timeframe – which can be reached when Data Quality issues are identified upfront to avoid the rework down the road that stretches projects well past deadlines – the risk to the business shrinks to next to nothing, he says. “Analytics shows where you are at and what to do,” around time, cost, personnel, reviews and so on, he says, and when everything is defined. “It takes the mystery out of what is typically a risky process,” Ott says.
With full-production analytics focused on Data Quality issues, it’s possible to get up to speed fast by identifying the problems and getting the data fixed first – avoiding trouble down the road. Otherwise, when you slam data in without thought, reconversion and integration redo’s will be in order. If the business invested in MDM and expect after a certain time that they’d get results and then the data isn’t up to snuff, the executives will feel they were sold a bill of goods, he notes.
From Data Stewardship to Business Applications
Synchronos extends from supporting Data Stewards’ work to enabling business users’ application needs with additional layers that draw upon the core data centralization. The pristine information it delivers, he says, makes it possible for users to do with the data what they need to.
As an example, Innovative has used components in Synchronos to build an anti-money laundering solution, Fin Scan, that makes it possible to accurately screen new and existing customers and associates against sanctions lists and private risk lists. Because it’s enabled on the Synchronos platform, financial institutions can consolidate data from different sources and departments for a consistent and comprehensive customer view. Compliance officers are better prepared to identify and manage risk because they have an aggregate view of the customer that can eliminate duplicate screening of the same customer and provide an all-inclusive view of a matched record for more accurate decision making, according to the company.
Similarly, businesses that conduct a Master Data Management pre-planning effort and then put an MDM system in place for a centralized view of clients or potential customers can extend the model beyond its core for their own specific business purposes. One of Innovative’s call center clients, for instance, pairs that capability with its calling software to help ensure potential customer list imports are accurate and appropriately targeted by demographics, with the right, non-duplicated information showing up on representatives’ screens.
“We don’t supply the call center software but Synchronos is on the back end and bolts to it to allow filtering and processing so now you have a much higher functioning system,” Ott says.
“The end goal was to make the business as productive as possible, and generate as much revenue for the call center as possible. To enable that end goal you need something beyond MDM. But it’s a way to consider the needs the call center has and present information in a way that it makes sense for them to feed into their existing systems.”
This build approach leveraging underlying MDM can be attractive compared to potentially buying a very expensive package to enable targeted selling. The idea, he says, is to make things more efficient: “Just use Synchronos to extend what would be the MDM core to that specific application. It’s more compelling to have something that’s more of an all-in-one and done solution.”
So often, price concerns and time issues have prevented many organizations from either undertaking a Master Data Management project or consolidating multiple MDMs or building off of them to derive real business value. Innovative wants to change that, Ott says. “We’re different relative to the business applications space as well as to our core accuracy, cost-effective MDM and centralized view,” he says.