Historically, there has been economic and political pressure to stay the course with your incumbent systems integrator for enterprise-scale projects. Such momentum (or inertia) was logical given the good working relationship established along with the economies of scale enjoyed by both sides (reduced selling costs and ramp-up time/fees due to insider status). However, what if your preferred systems integrator (SI) partner does not have any project experience in the rapidly evolving customer data integration (CDI)-master data management (MDM) technology arena or is tremendously short-staffed in this area? What do you do?

CDI-MDM projects typically incur a substantial amount of systems integration services in their first 12 to 24 months, as businesses wire up their data sources into the enterprise's master data hub(s). During 2004-05, CDI Institute research found that the typical Global 5000 enterprise spent an average of $1.2 million for CDI-MDM software solutions - with an additional investment of four times this in SI services. That's the bad news. The good news is that CDI-MDM is one of few remaining growth areas for both software vendors and SIs. Supply and demand is kicking into high gear.

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