What is Master Data Management?

What is master data management?

Master Data Management (MDM) is a set of processes and tools that consistently defines and manages the master data (i.e., non-transactional data entities) of an organization (which may include reference data).

In other words, MDM is a way to bring together critical business data in one place and help ensure that it's accurate, consistent, complete and trusted across the enterprise. MDM creates a "single version of the truth" for a specific data set by integrating the best data from multiple sources into one consolidated view.

A lot of companies have a real problem managing their data. If you've ever had to combine data from multiple sources, you know it can be difficult, time-consuming and error-prone. Even when the individual sources of data are in good shape, they might use different ways of describing the same thing, making it hard to use them together.

Master data management (MDM) is an approach to help solve these issues. Instead of having the same information stored in different places — often with slightly different details — MDM involves having a single "golden record" for each entity within an organization, such as a product or customer. This ensures that all applications that need this information are using the same version.

What is a Master Data Management Solution?

Some vendors, such as Informatica and Secoda, provide software solutions for master data management. But most organizations don't need a full-blown software package to handle their MDM needs.

Here are some tips for how to do it:

  • Identify what your master data is. For example, if you're managing products for sale online, your master data might include product names, descriptions, price and stock levels. It's important that each item is uniquely identifiable so you can be sure which records should be combined into a single golden record.
  • Master data management has emerged as an important enterprise initiative to enable organizations to better leverage their information assets, improve operations efficiency, comply with regulatory requirements and gain a competitive edge in the market.
  • Master data management can be seen as a critical component of the broader information management discipline. Organizations gain control of their master data assets through MDM software that provides functions such as creation of reference libraries for master data elements; integration and synchronization of multiple sources of master data into a central repository; creation of rules-based processes for maintaining master data integrity; and tools for managing metadata about master data assets.

Master data management (MDM) provides a single point of reference for any chosen aspect of a company's operation: customer identity or product information are two common examples. MDM enables organizations to better understand their customers' needs and habits as well as create new markets through greater insight into products. It also can help organizations avoid errors from redundant systems and applications by storing accurate information in one place.

The MDM hub serves as a single point of reference for master data in support of issues such as regulatory compliance, risk management and operational visibility.

Master Data Management Platforms

Master data management (MDM) provides the following capabilities:

  • Enterprise Product Information Management (PIM): providing basic product information to external channels like eCommerce or retail outlets
  • Customer Data Integration (CDI): managing information about customers across multiple channels, applications and systems
  • Data Governance: defining policies around who can access what data, who can change it and when it should be changed
  • Data Quality Management: ensuring that all data is accurate and up to date

Best Master Data Management (MDM) Tools

  • Secoda. While we may be biased, Secoda truly allows for data discovery across an organization to be seamless and transparent. Most importantly, it empowers the data stewards within an organization to sort through information about the data itself, thus empowering those outside of the data organization to explore the data reliably and consistently. Better yet, it's scaleable, and ideal for teams that are growing quickly and need to transfer mass amounts of knowledge about the data.
  • Informatica. Informatica is a modular solution that provides users with a singular view of data. The platform has powerful AI and machine learning capabilities that make Business Intelligence easier to access, while also indexing on data security.
  • Ataccama. This data management tool includes a data catalog, ability to manage data quality and integrity, and big data processing.

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