During 2007, the typical Global 5000 enterprise will budget and spend $1.2 million for CDI-MDM software solutions, with an additional $4 million for systems integration services. Clearly, professional services are the major cost component for many, if not most, CDI-MDM initiatives. Through 2007-08, major systems integrators and CDI-MDM boutiques will focus on productizing their data governance methodologies.

Data Stewards

By 2008-09, data stewards will be common in IT organizations and businesses as enterprises formalize this function amid increasing recognition of master data as a corporate asset. For example, when the 2007 Basel II deadline was rapidly approaching, many compliance projects focused on building out master reference data repositories for risk data. Because most mega financial services providers had not tackled such enterprise-scale, data-centric projects before, new IT areas had to be investigated and staffed along with the concomitant business processes - including data quality and data ownership and governance. Another breakthrough was that nontechnology business stakeholders actively engaged IT to understand these concepts (nothing like a crisis to bring people together). The business users and data technologists mutually worked out the political issues of data governance and stewardship on an enterprise scale. This is not a scenario that could work via "follow the sun" outsourced programming teams. Such people-intensive processes require both local physical presence and good communications to be effective politicians.

Enterprise Data Architects

It is increasingly clear to Global 5000 enterprises that data governance is a necessary prerequisite to CDI-MDM initiatives, with savvy IT organizations first investing in business processes to define the organizational governance for "master" customer, product, supplier, etc. During 2006, while more than 1,500 product-specific consultants were trained in specific data hub solutions, few, if any, were indoctrinated into data governance ministries. There exists a scarcity of people who have "real world" experience with mainstay solutions such as IBM WCC, Oracle MDM and SAP NetWeaver MDM. Therefore, the market for CDI- and MDM-related expertise will create major demand for corporate positions during the next three to five years. While a good percentage of these technical programming positions will go overseas, the people-intensive positions will stay local and stay well-compensated. Again, these will be closely aligned with data governance as certain data integration professionals become "hybrids" bridging IT and business domains.

Consulting, Anyone?

Is there life after enterprise architect? Let's face it, politics are difficult and not for everyone. However, just like in the revolving doors of Washington, D.C., it is possible in the IT world to upgrade your compensation by migrating between large-enterprise IT organizations and the consulting world. This "exercise your options" decision to jump ship to a systems integrator or major consultancy is not all about glamorous business travel and fast-paced projects. But how else does a hard-working IT professional bypass the inane four percent cost-of-living promotion/merit brackets that many find themselves slotted into? Foregoing accelerated pension contributions and vacation accrual is not for everyone - especially those in the sunset years of their employment. However, for all concerned, it's your bargaining skills and market value that will get your new employer to acquiesce to a four- to six-week annual vacation package after six months!

Figure 1: What is your career durability insurance quotient?

As a prerequisite to CDI-MDM initiatives, data governance is a people-intensive process - much like politics. This formal orchestration of people, process and technology to enable an organization to leverage data as an enterprise asset is an area where people skills and proximity make all the difference - potentially to your career as well. For the near term, "hybrids" - data stewards, enterprise data architects and other individuals with both good tech skills and soft skills - are hot!

See you at the CDI-MDM Summit 2007 April 30 to May 2 in London! As conference chairman, I am quite happy to report that we will have several excellent presentations that will do "deep dives" on the crucial people and socialization aspects of CDI-MDM.  

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