If you’ve been circling the decision of a PIM or MDM implementation, staffing is probably one of your biggest questions. Yes, high-quality data is mission-critical…but who’s actually going to do the work and “keep the lights running”?

When discussing MDM staffing, the term ‘Center of Excellence’ often gets thrown around. The phrase can be intimidating – giving the impression of a huge organizational machine, lots of moving parts, and a big investment.

Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case. Creating internal roles or responsibilities for master data management isn’t as scary, expensive, or exhausting as you’d think.

We want to take this opportunity to dispel two big MDM staffing misconceptions and distill the task into a simple, actionable process.

Misconception #1: The Talent Gap in MDM is Prohibitive

One reason for nervousness around technical hiring is the perceived lack of qualified candidates. That trepidation grows with the prospect of staffing a whole new team for data management.

Here’s the good news for MDM staffing:

  • You can often utilize existing staff, both in the business and IT segments.
  • You can leverage resources like staff augmentation for a fixed or flexible time.
  • MDM/PIM vendors can also pitch in (plus, today’s platforms are more business user-friendly than ever).

At first, you may not need to wade into the hiring pool. And if you do need to hire, consider our next misconception on roles vs. responsibilities.

Misconception #2: You Need to Fill Every Role

First, let’s acknowledge that your needs will differ before, during, and after implementation. At each phase, there are responsibilities to factor in that generally fall under:

  • Business Analytics
  • Data Architecture
  • Data Governance
  • Data Management Process
  • Technology and Integration
  • Data Quality/Migration
  • PIM/MDM Training
  • Support (for Business and Technology, Information System, and Infrastructure)

Don’t let that list scare you. Instead, think about staffing for responsibilities vs. roles. Each responsibility doesn’t necessarily represent a team, or even a position. They simply represent a task within the overall program, so one person could fulfill multiple responsibilities.

Some companies may need to hire full-time employees to meet the full scope, while others can allocate time from existing employees. It all depends on your organization’s unique goals, current capabilities, and desired velocity of execution.

Two Essential Responsibilities

With those big misconceptions out of the way, let’s cover the two main functions you do need to consider. Whether you cover these areas by hiring, leveraging existing talent, or augmenting your staff, they are essential to your success.

#1:  System Administrator

The person with this responsibility can go by a number of different titles, from Systems Analyst to Business Analyst to Data Steward. Regardless, this person engages stakeholders and business leads to ensure data quality and integrity, thus meeting the MDM program’s goals. Whether internally or externally, look for an employee who is organized, analytical, and process-oriented to be your champion.

#2:  Product Owner

The person charged with this responsibility will be the driver of your entire PIM/MDM program. This senior management position will lead enterprise-wide data management processes from inception to completion (and beyond). The person’s title isn’t particularly important, as long as everyone in the organization (and even vendors and third-party stakeholders) knows that this person is in charge of the company’s data.

The Benefits of a Product Owner

Some organizations hesitate to establish a true Product Owner for the MDM program. But if you don’t designate someone as the Product Owner, you’ll miss out on the benefits the role brings to your data program.

What are these crucial benefits?

  • Operational Efficiency: Ultimately, your organization needs one person who is accountable for the success of your data program. And relying on an external resource to answer day-to-day questions will only slow you down. Without a Product Owner overseeing project/operational quality and tracking the program’s goals, it could stagnate or produce low-quality results.
  • Long-Term Capabilities & ROI: If you consider MDM a one-and-done project, you’ll miss big opportunities for ROI. Companies that squeeze the most value from their implementation are those that, as their business evolves, continually uncover new use cases and challenges to solve with their platform.

However, this ongoing ROI is impossible without someone to encourage ideas and put them into action. Because the Product Manager is deeply familiar with the platform, they can quickly recognize opportunities to expand its capabilities and solve new problems.

There’s an added benefit as well. The more teams can prove the tool’s value, the more the company will invest in resources to support the MDM program.

Staffing for MDM Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

Staffing for an MDM or PIM program isn’t as complicated as it may seem, so don’t let it scare you. If you utilize your existing talent, think in terms of responsibilities, and focus on the highest priority positions, you can move the project forward without blowing up the org chart.

If you’d like help figuring out the best way to allocate your resources, as well as where you might need to augment your staff, Amplifi can help.

With Amplifi, you’ll not only have access to our deep technical and MDM/PIM expertise, but also our depth of experience across implementation and change management models.

Ready to learn more? Let’s have a conversation to get things rolling.

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