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BPM, MDM called on to marry to deliver blissful customer experience

Brian McKenna, News and Site Editor

Dowdy MDM and flamboyant BPM need to wed if organisations are to keep pace with customer demands for control, Forrester’s Clay Richardson will say at an upcoming MDM conference in London.

Richardson described business process improvement as playing Karl Lagerfeld to MDM’s not so beautiful laundrette. “The BPM folks like designing sexy processes, while the MDM side is more focused on cleaning dirty clothes. There is a big disconnect in the final approach in delivering to the business. One is too focused on the business vision and the other is too much down in the weeds of how to keep data clean.”

For more on the relationship between MDM and BPM

Gartner on the growing link between MDM and BPM

MDM brings service-oriented architecture and BPM closer together

IBM on how BPM and BI take their rightful place in IT “without borders”

Delegates to IRM UK’s Master Data Management Summit will hear from Richardson about how to introduce “process data management” into their organisations.

Forrester first started looking at the connection between MDM and BPM in 2009, he said. “We found BPM initiatives slowing down because they were hitting data quality issues. The processes were running amok because of bad data.”

And bad customer data above all, he said. “Customer data really is the key area: that needs to be accurate. For example, in banking where you need to know what the customer has so that you can make good decisions in process.”

This, said Richardson, is more than a matter of CRM systems or CEO ukases for customer centricity. “It is in processes that are outside the CRM where we see problems. How do you adapt your processes to how the customer works? is the question.” He gave the example his own use of Expensify for his American Express credit card expenses and suggested the increasing development of that kind of practice in a more “mobile workforce world,” dominated by social media.

Richardson said he thinks business process management and data management are misaligned at present because “business process professionals don’t give a lot of respect to data. They don’t see it as a first-class citizen. While MDM only really makes sense at a high level of strategy, that is not the way it is packaged. Our research shows that MDM initiatives are about fire fighting, and that’s where they get funded -- where the quality of our data is impacting performance.”

He argued that BPM initiatives need to “take more responsibility for data quality, and MDM initiatives need to better leverage BPM techniques to keep data clean and for data governance.”

More generally, he said, Forrester sees a profoundly “splintered” enterprise IT world. Packaged applications, the shift to the cloud, the rise of mobile applications not tied back to core systems are all features of this splintered landscape, in the research company’s view.

Richardson predicted the emergence of new a new role to counter this trend: the “process data analyst who understands BPM and the data side,” including complex event processing and Hadoop and similar technologies. “Our clients are looking at that. It will become more important.”


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