Magazine article CRM Magazine

Branching out toward Data Management: Forest-Product Supplier Weyerhaeuser Builds out Its Master Data Management Strategy with Siperian

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Branching out toward Data Management: Forest-Product Supplier Weyerhaeuser Builds out Its Master Data Management Strategy with Siperian

Article excerpt

* Tell us about your organization. Weyerhaeuser's principally engaged in the growing and harvesting of lumber; the manufacturing, sales, and distribution of forest products; and real estate construction and development.

* What were the drivers behind implementing a master data management (MDM) solution? This all started with an enterprise data management strategy. The strategy outlines 10 steps of data quality. Step 1 is "Your data is unclean." Step 10 is "Your data is accurate, homogeneous, and timely." We were on about Step 2 of the data-quality scale and were looking for ways to improve. One of the ways was through MDM, to apply more-robust business rules against the data than could be done in a plain-vanilla implementation of SAP. We could have highly customized our SAP data-processing system, but that was expensive. Before ultimately choosing Siperian for its MDM hub, we looked at several other vendors and did a couple proof-of-concepts. We probably spent six months to eight months on the selection process. Part of that time was us trying to figure out what we wanted, too.

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* How'd the implementation process go? We brought in contractors to do some of the programming work and we had one resource who worked offshore on some of the interface code, but we did all of the project management and the planning. We got the Siperian tool in-house and started our final version of requirements in September 2007; the build for the Siperian portion was done by the end of February 2008. That included additional things we needed to build, such as our user interface (UI) and integration into SAP. We tested it all the way through July, and went into production in August. One thing we did right was to have a very long testing window. While each piece could do its own testing, it wasn't until you see the whole thing flowing through all the pieces that you see, "Hey, we have a gap here." The more integration pieces, the longer your testing window needs to be.

* How does the MDM hub work? Our implementation's probably a little different than most. A lot of people bring in data from the source system, harmonize it, and then spit it back out. Our approach is that MDM is a front gate to our SAP system. We make sure the data's clean and then send updates to SAP.

In our UI, users start their request processes by searching for the intended customer. One of the problems we had before is that users would add a customer, not realizing it was already in SAP, and we'd get duplicate customer data. …

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