For the second year in a row, Forrester Research has targeted master data management (MDM) as one of the highest-impact technologies that enterprise architects must keep an eye on. Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Gene Leganza published “The Top 15 Technology Trends EA Should Watch: 2011 To 2013” research in October, and Gene smartly positions MDM along with next-gen business intelligence, advanced text and social analytics, and information-as-a-service integration architectures as key enablers to deliver what Forrester is calling “process-centric data and intelligence”.

I’ve discussed this concept of process-led data management often over the past few years, and went into detail in my July blog post, "Data Governance Remains Immature: Increase Focus On Business Process To Build Momentum," where I offered a critical call to arms that all MDM, data quality, and data governance evangelists must embrace:

Data governance is not – and should never have been – about the data. High-quality and trustworthy data sitting in some repository somewhere does not in fact increase revenue, reduce risk, improve operational efficiencies, or strategically differentiate any organization from its competitors. It’s only when this trusted data can be delivered and consumed within the most critical business processes and decisions that run your business that these business outcomes can become reality. So what is data governance all about? It’s all about business process, of course.

I’ve been collaborating for the past two years with my colleague, Forrester Senior Analyst Clay Richardson (an expert in business process management best practices and technologies), in evangelizing the concept of process data management. Process data management dictates that effective data management requires a focus on business processes, including: 1) the operational processes that capture and update raw data; 2) the processes that consume and rely on trusted data to run your business; and 3) the stewardship processes needed to administer and maintain the data itself. Too often, MDM efforts only focus on data stewardship and ignore the upstream and downstream implications that impact the ability to deliver your anticipated MDM business benefits.

While trusted data efforts like MDM offer a business vision of a single trusted view of critical master data, process data management aligns that MDM vision with the business processes and decisions that are inseparable from the data itself. While the link is obvious to some, most teams still want to understand how to bring these two worlds of process and data more in sync and also want to understand best practices for adopting process data management within their organizations. To read more on this topic, be sure to check out our latest research on this topic, "Avoid Process Data Headaches: Align Business Process And Data Governance Initiatives ."

I’ll also be publishing my in-depth analysis on the key trends impacting MDM in 2011 in my upcoming research, “Trends 2011: It’s Time For The Business To Own Master Data Management Strategies” which will be available on Forrester’s site in mid-Q1.

But in the meantime, if you’re hungry for a sneak peek into some of these trends, I’ve recently published three data charts sharing many of the results from Forrester’s November 2010 Global Master Data Management Online Survey where 188 MDM professionals shared:

Enjoy and be sure to check out Gene’s report to learn about the other technology trends that EAs should be making time to assess!

Happy holidays!