What is Master Data Management?

Hi, I’m Jared Hillam. Sometimes we don’t appreciate just how complex some of these multibillion-dollar organizations can be these days. I mean, just imagine managing data for thousands of different products and 10’s of thousands of customers. This would actually be really easy if everything held still and didn’t change. But in the real world, data is changing all the time. Acquisitions are being done; corrections are being made to faulty records, marketing departments are changing product names. And it starts to look like IT is fighting a losing battle with the harmony of its corporate data. To illustrate this, let’s pull a simple example from one of my previous videos. Imagine a sales rep starts an order with a brand new customer. Now, early on in the sales process, the sales rep carelessly entered in 401 6th street as the customers street address instead of the right address which in 401 9th street. This is no more than a simple typo on a computer keypad, but it happens all the time. The order enters into the organization and the process carries its course fulfilling the customer’s request. And as this order gets fulfilled, this dirty data propagates into the various systems that support this process. Now, not everybody in the company falls for the dirty data. In fact, in this case and an astute billing department confirms the correct billing address and enters it into the system. So now that this problem has played out, let’s look at these data sources up close. As you can see, none of the other order fulfillment systems know about the update made by the accounting department. And if you’re processing thousands, if not millions of transactions every day, you can start to see how the critical factors of your business can get out of sync. And this is only one example of how data can get out of harmony, there are an infinite number of other ways that this can occur. Where this really becomes a mess is when the data is needed for analysis. For example, imagine a product recall has to be made and a letter needs to be sent out to each customer. As you reach into each system, you’re going to find different lists of customers. This is where an introduction to Master Data Management or MDM would be appropriate. The goal of Master Data Management is to provide synchronization to the most critical pieces of data in a company. Usually these pieces of data are related to customers or products, but any subject matter that needs synchronization could be a candidate. The first thing that MDM solutions do is provide some sort of focal point. This is one place that the organization can identify as the correct definition of customer, product or whatever the subject matter might be. The second thing MDM solutions do is produce the plumbing to synchronize the data between the focal point and the various underlying systems which connect to it. In the geek world we call this middleware. The third thing that MDM solutions need is some way of addressing the quality of the data. This ensures that the data getting synchronized is indeed correct. What can also help with this process is to include 3rd party data sources as a way of validating the data quality and appending additional information about your customer. Now all this together represents some really amazing technology but it’s essentially useless if it’s owned by IT. Business owns the success of Master Data Management solutions. This means that business needs to setup processes for addressing discrepancies between systems and some real executive sponsorship for enforcing the difficult and sometimes political decisions. Intricity specializes in implementing of Master Data Management solutions and guiding organizations in setting up  business processes to support them. I encourage you to visit Intricity’s website and talk with one of our specialists. We’re a committed partner in our customer’s success and a trusted enabler in simplifying their complex problems which is the final critical component to a successful Master Data Management solution. 

Video Credits to: Intricity101