Most readers of Spend Matters who do not know me personally -- or professionally, for that matter -- would probably think I'm more of a process and strategy person than a technology one. But I must confess, ever since I starting programming in Basic when I could barely propel the pedals and training wheels on my first Schwinn, I've had a hankering to dig into technology for technology's sake. Call me a geek, if you will. Heck, I'll even wear the badge with honor (even if my non-be-speckled face belies a different image of sorts). To reinforce these pocket-protector credentials, a number of my consulting firm's software clients over the years have, in fact, been further down the stack in the integration and information access layers than I would care to admit in polite Spend Management company.
So you can imagine that it truly rings my geek bells -- with apologies to the uber-spend geek, the "fool", who gets even more geeked-out than me over such discussions -- when someone wants to dig into such areas as core data definition and product information management. Without question, it's article like the one in Supply and Demand Chain executive from earlier in the month that get me the most excited about technology in the Spend Management world. In the above-linked piece, Cliff Longman, a CTO by trade, gives a succinct history of different approaches to data management and access from a procurement and operations perspective, ending with a personal disquisition that argues why companies should embrace master data management (MDM) as a core information management strategy. Now, I know far more organizations that have gotten burned over the years by embracing MDM prematurely -- before either they were ready or before the technology was fully baked -- than have thrived with it, but certainly we can all agree that MDM is a holy information grail, even if we're at different stages in our epic quest to reach it.