“What MDM platform do you think is the best?” That’s a question we often hear from clients right out of the gate. The truth is, selecting the right MDM software platform isn’t as easy as you might think. It’s a complicated process that, unfortunately, often goes astray when attempted alone or when a team selection process occurs within a limited understanding of their true requirements.
In this article, we’ll share three mistakes to avoid when evaluating MDM and PIM platforms, while also including advice for making the right choice for your business.
Mistake #1 – Not defining industry, market, and domain
It sounds simple, right? Obviously, you know what industry your business lives within. But have you taken the time to clearly define your market, industry, and domain requirements? Does your team understand the nuances of your business operations and domain and how they affect your platform selection? Many companies don’t and forge ahead with a platform that, later on, proves to be incongruent with their needs or limited in its functionality.
In the automotive sector, for example, most companies are challenged by product data. But not just any product data – specifically, parts and fitment data. In fact, a single car can have over 30,000 individual parts, down to the smallest screw. There are also various auto standards to consider, like ACES and PIES, as well as growing e-commerce pressures. All of the complexities and principles around Automotive Master Data Management must guide platform selection.
Other industries have similar nuances, like HIPPA compliance for healthcare, or traceability and ingredient management for food production, consumer packaged goods, and grocers. Drilling into your market, industry, and domain requirements is an essential first step to narrowing down your software search.
Mistake #2 – Laser-focusing on features
MDM and PIM software features have come a long way over the last decade. It’s easy to become distracted and even overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. However, the latest-and-greatest features really won’t matter if you don’t first understand the core issues and use cases your business and technology teammates need to solve for.
It’s okay to dream big – in fact, you should be thinking about scalability and expansion across the business. Before you can pick the best software, however, you must uncover your pain points and define critical business challenges. Only then can you start creating specialized use cases to guide your MDM/PIM software selection. Just be sure not to fall prey to this next mistake in the process.
Mistake #3 – Solving one problem that creates three more
Often, when an organization evaluates MDM/PIM software, they evaluate the options based on the glaring issues right in front of them. They forget about the scalability of the software – e.g., the ability to expand into other data domains, business units, syndication channels, and other future needs. Approaching the MDM tool selection process with a narrow lens often results in more technical and operational challenges downstream.
Avoiding this mistake really hinges on all of the tactics that surround and support your technology selection. Tool selection must come after defining your key objectives, designing a strategy, interviewing stakeholders to uncover use cases, and gauging readiness and organizational maturity. Throughout this process, you should be gathering requirements and inputs that will inform your software search.
Once you finally get into the weeds of tool selection, the evaluation process should be focused on three core areas:
- Data Modeling – Can the platform be modeled to meet the unique requirements of your industry, market, organization, etc.?
- Governance – How will the solution handle data aggregation, cleansing, transformation, and consolidation to achieve and maintain the single source of the truth you need?
- Operations – How are governed processes integrated across systems to provide improved quality, visibility, accountability, and speed to market?
These three areas break down into a long list of functionalities, along with pros and cons. While it can be overwhelming to decipher each software’s nuances in features and functionality, evaluating by score carding can be an extremely helpful asset in guiding this process, but many companies aren’t sure how or where to start this process. This brings us to the last piece of advice…
Don’t Go It Alone
The work leading up to an MDM/PIM implementation can be complicated, but it’s worth the effort. Failing to get this right, in the beginning, is like trying to build a house without a blueprint, on a shaky foundation, and with all the wrong tools. Platform selection is just one piece of the puzzle – but even then, choosing the right software is a complex process, and you may need help to get it right.
Amplifi has seen this first-hand with hundreds of implementations. We help clients at each step of the master data journey, typically starting with a Strategy & Roadmap Planning phase that covers:
- Industry definition
- Vision and strategy
- Focus areas for future state
- Prioritization of requirements and tasks
- And a tactical plan to implement
Our proven approach includes weighted scoring and platform evaluation, orchestrating software demonstrations, and providing guidance and recommendations on how each platform aligns with a company’s most critical business and technical needs.
We never dictate solutions. Instead, we take the weight off your shoulders and help steer you through the process.
So, what’s the best MDM software? The reality is, it depends. But, we’re here to help you find your answer.
Ready to dive in? Learn more about our methodology here.