For some big data problems, the answer could be master data management – using a set of processes and tools to define and manage the master or non-transactional data entries consistently, helping customers save money and take advantage of more opportunities.
Vendors used to address master data management opportunities directly for the most part, but they are now struggling to keep up with the growth of this market using existing resources, and so have begun to partner with SIs that have vertical market expertise.
Also, the master data management market is inherently complicated.
Some partners will be those that put the resources in place for the master data management work. Others will be those with specialist vertical expertise. Further value can be added by advising on data strategy, IT strategy and, by extension, business strategy.
Partners will need to know what the vendor does, and have people that are already doing this type of work. They must provide the vendor with access to its customer base, and they must help the vendor to better serve customer needs.
Master data management projects have been a bit hit and miss. If the key goal is the creation of a consolidated and accurate view of enterprise data, and using that to improve business decisions, some projects have been wildly successful. Others, not so much.
The technology used can be a mish-mash of several that have come together over the years. The requirements are for accessing data, creating a central repository and matching records, while identifying a "golden" record or a kind of single version of the truth for the business, among other things.
Related technologies such as business process management or data profiling can assist, as can web portals and wikis that communicate the status of data management.
Concerns over overlapping structure and ownership of enterprise-wide master-data management projects, the need to find a suitable pricing model and the need for effective data governance must all also be addressed.
Helping develop effective data governance is one of the most critical roles for resellers here. Data governance should help align cross-functional teams and stakeholders. If it does not, it is difficult to achieve success in master data management.
The main challenge for both vendors and their reseller partners today is the complexity of the master data management market.
Related implementations are typically difficult, expensive and the risk of failure is high. However, as mentioned, these projects can quickly expand to enterprise scale and therefore become quite lucrative.
As a result, resellers sometimes decide not to take on potentially lucrative new projects. Vendors must help reduce the risks for partners from both a skills and a software perspective.
Use of open source can lower costs here – SIs and other resellers in this space are increasingly approaching vendors of open source offerings because they realise this.
Keith Goldstein is vice president of worldwide channels and alliances at Talend
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