Master data management (MDM) is a serious tool that brings a lot of benefits to business. So it requires serious and thoughtful implementation. We at Synopps.com share five not so obvious tips that can help you better navigate a journey toward the best master data governance.

Some Remarks Before We Start

As MDM is a relatively new business area for many companies, some anticipate this as a purely technical solution.In fact, an IT component is of far less importance than business decisions concerning staff, goal setting, and the level of leadership involved. What we want to say is that MDM is a business process like marketing or production and must be built in a company’s strategy, like a wheel of a car, not a sticker on a car’s front window.

 Fewer Data Formats Across Your Enterprise

Mistakes and inconsistencies often arise because of multiple data formats used in an organization. This diversity is not someone’s fault, neither is a flaw. It just reflects the development of software. Companies would buy enterprise resources planning (ERP) systems, then purchase additional products for various functions, then more and more. For diverse functions products were designed, and various manufacturers used various ways to store and distribute data. That had not been a problem till the advent of digital technologies, when volumes of data started to grow exponentially.

So, the fewer formats you exploit the better. That would pay dividends when cleansing data as well as routine operations like capture, storage, etc.

 Involve And Educate Employees

Most staff of an organization deal with master data in one way or another by putting the name of a customer into a customer relationship management (CRM) system or writing an address of their office on an envelope. And a vast majority of them don’t know what their data are and what they mean to the organization. Again, that had not looked like a challenge just ten years ago. Now it does.

Some companies even with a proper master data management strategy in place don’t involve their employees into the issue. Top-managers in charge don’t think that’s necessary as there are specialists, preferably from an IT department, that directly deal with the matter, while others just should follow instructions on data handling.

This approach is conceivable, but can hardly be considered modern and allowing for the demands of the business of our times. At least you strip yourself of a plenty of ideas your employees could offer if they were involved. Digitization has brought a big share of staff to dealing with records of different types, be it asset data, production data, or customer data. You can now see a gadget in the hands of a specialist of whose profession you’d never think of as the one linked to communication technologies.

Always Look For New Information Solutions On Market

MDM is constantly evolving with IT companies and consultancies offering fresh methods and software. What you can implement now was impossible a few years ago and will become hopelessly outdated in a couple of years.

 Vendors are improving their tools on a permanent basis. That’s right for business approaches too. A competition race is under way, and it’s getting more and more acute as the design of a new software product takes much less time than before. This leads to a wider list of solutions coming to the market as well as more efforts on your part to track them.

It’s always convenient, of course, to work with the same supplier for years as the master data management services provider is well aware of the needs of your company and can fit them the best. But think that your competitors can advance with the help of more cutting-edge master data management strategy while you prefer to stick to old and time-tested relations.  

MDM More Process Than Result

 Master data management is not a conveyor, neither is financial flows or other business processes that need to be overseen in a real-time fashion. You would hardly regularly start your workday with a review of how things are in MDM. But it’s also not a, let’s say, office which you rented, paid for it and don’t think of it daily.

First, an MDM strategy needs to be monitored on a base of performance metrics and periodically revised, just as is the case with any corporate strategy. Second, MDM tactics under which we assume the implementation of the strategy must be monitored and improved as tactics — instructions, practices, etc. — are realized by people who may make mistakes or fail. A monthly or quarterly session — depending on current business goals and the state of records in an organization — on MDM strategy and tactics are recommended with enough attention and engagement.

 Establish Data Governance Policy

Policy is a set of rules and principles regulating how information in a company is processed: who what and how does with every piece of data he or she is tackling. Policy is not only instructions and guides, it’s a reflection of a company’s philosophy, its values and long-term vision.

Such a policy cannot be mimicked from another company with even successful MDM practices as it should be built on the company’s experience and other parameters listed above.

To be honest, policy is not always obeyed, of course, nor is it always well-designed. But having at least something solid and established is better than chaos that could lead to losses in operational performance, strategic failures as well as fines because of non-compliance.

That’s only a fraction of useful advice Synopps can give. Follow us to get more insights from our experience.