Working with data is unavoidable for companies that want to stay relevant. However, just “working with data” isn’t always enough to cause you to stand out from the pack. To set yourself apart, you need to work with data more efficiently and effectively than your competitors. That’s where master data management comes in. But what is master data management, and why is it important?

You’ve come to the right place. Read on to discover what you need to know about master data management.

Master Data Management: Explained

To understand the management part of master data, the first step is understanding master data. When we break it down to its simplest definition, master data refers to the most vital instances of data in your enterprise—all of the information that’s required to conduct business.

Of course, this can be further divided into a few different domains. For instance, your customers, products, and locations are all key elements of master data. Without any one of those elements, your company could not survive. You should also consider a subset of “other” factors, like warranties and contracts. All these unique elements comprise your master data.

Master data management, then, refers to how your business handles all that information. Now, things may get a bit more confusing. Master data management technology, often called MDM, allows you to perform tasks with data management in mind. Master data management as a discipline is more conceptual—it gives you principles that will help you govern your data successfully.

Reduced Workload

The collection and maintenance of master data is a full-time job—one that you should leave to a dedicated master data management system. Without one, you’re expecting every department to spend time managing their own data alongside their regular job functions.

As soon as you remove data management from the workload, all your departments will find it easier to complete their work on time (or even early). A master data management system allows you to collect each piece of data simultaneously rather than having each department collect and utilize the data separately.

Over time, this makes your business quicker and more efficient, which saves you money while getting the reports you need on time.

Higher Data Quality

When separate departments are responsible for maintaining their data, you’re bound to run into snags along the way. Without a way to manage master data, departments will grow away from each other rather than together, leading to problems with collaboration that only increase as you go.

Master data management allows everyone to access a single source of data, which means your information will not dilute as time goes on.

Avoids Data Duplication

One aspect of data quality that is often overlooked is duplicate data. When you don’t have a system that can look for and detect duplicate data, you may find yourself with information that gums up the works. With a decentralized data application, you’re more likely to run into redundancy that can take up your time and cause errors throughout the process.

Duplicate data becomes a significant hurdle when you acquire information from customers. Slight changes in your questionnaires over the years may cause customers to enter their information multiple times in slightly different ways. For instance, you may have records that refer to a customer living at 1340 Delta Avenue and another record that lists them at 1340 Delta.

You don’t need both these instances, and it may cause a less intelligent program to assume you have one more customer than you do. When this issue occurs across hundreds or thousands of customers, you’re left with analytics that doesn’t accurately reflect your customer base.

With an MDM solution, you won’t need to worry about duplicate data. Your MDM will scour through data to find repeat instances and remove them, increasing your efficiency.

Reduced Time-to-Market

Setting up new systems is always a headache, right? It doesn’t need to be with a dedicated MDM. Connecting a new system to your primary MDM system instantly populates the new application with all the data it needs to hit the ground running.

Upgraded Decision Making

When all your data is in one place, your teams can make decisions with a clearer picture. Without a master data management system, you can think of this process like putting together a puzzle without the box—you may have all the pieces, but you don’t know the picture you’re trying to create!

As new data comes in, it instantly updates the information across your company. This leads every team to make decisions with all the latest information they need to propel them toward success.

Compliance and Governance

Regarding benefits, “compliance and governance” may not be the most attractive words, but they are some of the most essential words should you want your business to stay strong for years to come. While it may sound more appealing to increase efficiency and reduce your workload (which MDM can also do), you can’t maintain a company without staying in compliance and structuring your systems with governance.

This structure allows you to restrict access to data, giving your employees the information they need to do their jobs effectively while preventing them from accessing data they shouldn’t. All interactions with data are also cataloged, which means it’s easy to trace problems back to their source so you can correct them.

Reduced Security Risk

Extrapolating on this further, MDM tools also assist you in tightening your security. Breaches are extremely serious; if they happen, you can quickly see where the problem began so you can address it.

In all, a business equipped with the right master data management tools stands to work more efficiently and safely than other companies in the game.

Now that you know what master data management is and why it’s important, start the next chapter of your business’s story and begin working in an MDM system. You won’t believe how adding an MDM system to your business pipeline can completely transform how you work!

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