Master data management (MDM) is increasingly used by enterprises seeking more growth opportunities and better operational and financial performance. We will give a short course into what MDM is, why you should implement it and how to do it to best suit your company’s needs.
Our suggestions will be based on the Synopps strategy of data management obtained through years of servicing clients from many diverse industries.
What Are Master Data Management And Why Are They Key Data For Business?
Master data are records related to constant, non-transactional things. For most organizations, they break down into the following categories: assets, suppliers, products, customers, employees, and locations.
Data is generated and accumulated by various units of an organization. The number of categories varies depending on the type of organization and its business processes.
Let’s have a couple of examples.
An oil company purchases lubricants for oil field equipment. The name of a supplier and its products are recorded in databases of logistics, financial, and production departments. A pet food delivery company may keep the names of clients in a few domains too, including sales, marketing, supply chain, and financial units.
At this point it is not so evident how and why this distributed system of storage of disparate records can be a problem and why MDM is badly needed .
After all, each department can deal with a supplier or a customer or any other subject of a record in its own way. There are a few factors here to consider when we talk about how a company can get into trouble.
Multiple data sources will inevitably turn into a headache, organizational havoc, and financial losses as separate company’s units are not separate entities, they don’t act independently, but cooperate within an organization to reach business’s goals.
Data is the language to communicate, and when languages differ misunderstandings occur.
Data about the same subject, e. g. inventory, is not the same in various domains. A salesman sells a sofa to James Smith in Arizona, but a logistics department fails as the sofa is delivered to John Smith, also in Arizona. Just because the “wrong” Mr. Smith was recorded as “J. Smith”. Address? The salesman didn’t provide it as he thought that the department had it as John Smith had been serviced before.
The absence of clear visibility of what a company buys means it cannot save through asking for discounts in exchange for volume. Imagine, a production department of the oil company consists of multiple units scattered across oil fields.
Each unit purchases the lubricants on its own. A simple centralization of purchases would have numerous positive effects: possible discounts, optimized logistics, and a reduction of efforts needed for a steady supply of materials.
Scrutiny over businesses increases as a response to society’s demands for sustainability, protection of environment, human rights, gender and race equality and other topics that have become hot in recent years.
An expired license may lead to a big fine imposed by a government watchdog. What does an expired license have to do with master data management, or to put it straight, a lack of it? Just a legal department responsible for getting the license renewed had the wrong information about it.
The right information was in other departments. And there was no reference record against which this data as well as all other data in the company would be verified.
The problem with multiple sources gets even more complicated when information in various domains is kept in various formats which happens almost always. These formats may be not compatible with each other.
Even if duplicates are consistent and synchronically updated they require resources needed for capture, storage, renewal, and distribution of information. All this takes money and time.
What’s MDM? And How Can It Help?
MDM in brief is a set of rules of how you handle your master data. The rules govern what are master data in the company, which of them are critical, how they arise and change over the course of business activity, who puts them into a corporate system as well as how they are checked against reference records, removed, and cleansed.
These rules eliminate a great share of the blocks outlined above. That’s a solid reason alone why you should not ignore master data management.
MDM is realized through the establishment of a so-called “single source of truth” (SSOT) — the very reference point we mentioned. It is also sometimes called a “golden record”.
An SSOT is a storage of information, a database against which all other records are checked and, when necessary, corrected.
An SSOT can be implemented in various forms. No matter which one you pick up, the result will be a drastic reduction in the risks of having poor-quality data. This will enhance productivity, customers’ satisfaction rates, and secure compliance.
Master Data Management Strategy
The highest level of MDM is a cohesive MDM strategy. What’s the difference between a set of rules on how to handle key data properly and a strategy?
A set is about bringing order. A strategy is about targeted data management with keeping business goals in mind. Among possible goals are business processes optimization, cost reduction, and finding new niches and markets with the help of AI, robotic automatization, and data science.
All these technologies, as the experience of Synopps says, is on the rise. An MDM strategy goes and evolves in line with the company’s overall strategy and is part of it. Data is collected, structured, and analyzed in a fashion that enables its usage for these business tasks.