Jon Reed Interviews Mike Kerrigan of Laurus Technologies on SAP MDM

laurus.jpg"On SAP MDM, SAP Analytics, and the Importance of Master Data to SAP Projects"
Podcast Interview Date: November 26, 2008
Download Podcast (Must be Registered and Logged In!)

In Jon's first podcast ever on SAP MDM, Jon interviews Mike Kerrigan, Vice President of Business Technologies with Laurus Technologies, on SAP Master Data Management (MDM), SAP Analytics, and the skills (and management approach) needed for SAP project success in a down economy.

In this twenty-five minute podcast, Jon and Mike touch on the following topics: 

- How today's SAP market compares with other down cycles Mike has seen during his fifteen years in the SAP field, including comparisons to the pre-Y2K and the post-9/11 markets.

- The relevance of analytics to today's SAP implementations, and why ERP customers expect more from SAP now than transactional efficiency. The SAP Business Suite is full of systems (CRM, SRM) etc with data that must be cleaned and managed before it can be leveraged.

- Why real-time analytics are all the rage on SAP projects today, and why you can't have effective analytics without attention to the proper cleansing and management of master data. 

- Mike gives his take on today's SAP MDM product - where it is strong (operational database) and where it needs improvement (cleansing, validation, and de-duplication of data). Jon and Mike compare the evolution of MDM to the evolution of SAP BW, which started as a product that was heavily criticized by data warehousing experts but become a robust solution. 

- Jon asks Mike to explain the purpose of Laurus Technology's managed service for Master Data Management, and how it can help SAP customers with the real world needs pertaining to data management and cleansing.

- Mike gives business examples of the range of uses for dashboards in today's SAP world, to track everything from supply chain efficiency to gross margins to customer profitability. Today's "plus one" BI synchronization isn't perfectly real time for most companies, but it beats the "plus fifteen" scenario that companies once had to make do with.

- Mike talks about the most common mistakes on SAP MDM projects, and why business and IT need to rebuild trust. The solution? A renewed focus on the business value of all projects, without assuming that a cool technology will make a difference to the bottom line.  Mike also talks about the importance of the right kind of executive leadership to project success. 

-Jon asks Mike about how the individual SAP professional should approach the current market and the skills they should be enhancing. He refers to the importance of NetWeaver-based skills for SAP technical professionals, and for SAP functional types, it's crucial to focus on overall business process know-how rather than a narrow focus on configuration for its own sake.