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Questions to Ask a Prospective MDM Implementation Partner

Emy Carr

By Emy Carr

On October 16, 2014

mdm-badgeFor companies tasked with choosing a Systems Integrator to successfully deploy an MDM solution, the following are, what I believe, you should ask to determine whether an implementation firm is a good fit for your MDM project.

Examining Carefully the SI’s MDM Credentials

  1. Is the SI firm renowned as a specialist firm valued for its thought leadership and contributions to the MDM industry?
  2. Does the SI firm have expertise in every facet of an MDM implementation? Seek details in their level of MDM involvement in other projects – from design to creation to the successful delivery of the:
    • Model, objects, relationships, hierarchies and assets
    • Browser-based user interfaces to enable the business users to manage forms and workflow processes
    • Cleansed, corrected, standardised, matched and merged Master Data
    • Real-time publishing and consumption of Master data conforming to a Service Oriented Architecture
      Simply being involved in one or two aspects of MDM, e.g. data quality or the consuming systems around MDM, is not adequate expertise.
  3. Where have they done similar MDM projects for and preferably in your same industry?  You would ask for references to determine the SI firm’s track record in delivering.

Getting the A-Team

  1. Who will be assigned to your project?  You would require that, the firm’s senior individuals with the expertise, are the resources assigned to manage and deliver the project not junior or trainee resources.
  2. How long has each member assigned in your project been with the SI firm?  From a recent MDM Software Scan that EC Integrators conducted, there are 42 MDM tools available in the market place and growing. Hence, not everyone in the SI firm will be an expert on each MDM tool.  However a successful MDM program requires that the people managing the projects be established MDM leaders in the firm and that the majority of the team members have worked together before.  The team should not entirely consist of newly hired resources.
  3.  Will the implementation team be relatively stable or is there a likelihood of significant turn-overs?  Turn-overs will place significant risk on project timelines and budget.

Choosing Business Partnership over one-off Engagement

  1. Is the SI firm willing to fully listen and understand your MDM requirements and create the MDM solution that best suit your needs? The SI firm should not try to build an MDM solution by redefining your needs to fit their experience.  On the contrary, the SI firm should build the MDM solution that fits your needs and your experience.  It is essential that the expectations of the SI firm and your organisation are aligned.  The SI firm’s belief and behaviour should be compatible and should complement your organisation.
  2. Is the SI recommending an MDM solution that will last i.e. it will scale with your organisation’s needs?  The MDM solution must be designed with best practices and must have imbedded in its project activities, rigour in testing and quality assurance. This shows that the SI firm values you as a business partner with your MDM project’s long term success at heart.
  3. What level of discipline and rigour is practised by the SI firm?  This can easily be seen even as early as when the SI firm is working on your Proposal.  This will be evident in their attention to detail and the effort they spend in understanding your goals and ensuring that the services they propose have considered reuse, automation and robust testing.

Aligning with the MDM Software Vendor

  1. How strong is the relationship of the SI firm with the MDM Software Vendor you have chosen?
  2. How many MDM projects has the SI firm successfully completed with the software you have chosen?
  3. If it is a new partnership, are there immediate plans to get the SI firm’s resources trained and certified before your project starts?
    With the list of MDM software tools growing, it is highly likely that there is not a great number of SI firms available that would have implemented the MDM software tool you have selected.  The key is to determine how well the SI firm and MDM Software Vendor will work together to mitigate this project risk.

Engaging from a Financial Perspective

  1. Are you requesting to engage the SI on a time and materials (T&M) or Fixed Price basis?
  2. If T&M, is it based on a rate card for different types of resources or blended rate?
  3. If Fixed Price, what are the parameters used especially when your requirements are still fluid?
    Exercising due diligence is important when comparing financials from SI firms.  You will need to understand the parameters that will drive change requests and variation in time and costs.  There is a danger that the SI firm offering the lowest cost may have limited the scope of activity, the scope of resources, the quality of delivery and the like to charge more fees later on change requests.

Most of all, you need an SI partner that is committed to your MDM vision, has an in-depth understanding of MDM,  Data Governance, Data Quality, excellent real-time integration services skills and an absolute passion for your MDM success. For More Info Read Our Industry Leader Riversand Continues to Enable Global Master Data Management Across Diverse Verticals