Master Data Management is not someone’s job title, nor is it some confusing graduate level course. The term may seem a little vague and mundane, but the concepts of Master Data Management (MDM) are essential for organizing and leveraging the data within your business! This comprehensive method of managing data enables a company to link all of its critical data into a single data set; it effectively creates one common point of reference, or a “single version of the truth,” for the entire enterprise.
The problem most organizations have is that their enterprise data is fractured between systems, departments, divisions, etc. On top of that, poor maintenance and human error can leave it full of errors and not easily usable. It’s estimated that hundreds of billions of dollars are lost each year due to data quality problems! By adopting and enforcing an MDM program, along with an effective data quality management strategy and the appropriate tools, companies across virtually every industry stand to improve operations in a number of ways.
Effective Master Data Management solutions allow businesses to better leverage their data to save money, build confidence in their customer base, gain efficiencies across the enterprise, and improve their overall business intelligence and decision making. Possibly the single most important gain from the use of MDM tools, after data integrity and accuracy, is the improved collaboration and operational efficiency that results from aligning internal and external groups, and the organization and operational data they use. If done correctly, data sharing between systems, personnel, and departments becomes seamless and streamlined.
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Master Data Management certainly benefits some industries more than others, but there really aren’t any limitations on where MDM solutions can be applied – from communications and media to consumer-packaged goods, financial services to healthcare. For example, MDM healthcare solutions provide data improvements to that industry in a few different ways. As healthcare providers consolidate, MDM helps to ease systems integration, ensuring data integrity and accuracy, and the master data that health information exchanges rely on to make information accessible across locations and organizations is of higher quality and more readily accessed. Another, maybe unexpected, “industry” is the public sector, which is comprised of several slightly different entities – public safety, local government, city government, etc. As a result, data resides in multiple systems and will have some variation in attributes, and this leads to inefficiencies and segregation between groups. MDM solutions can be leveraged in case management, CRM tools, and other areas to get a single view of the constituents and improve collaboration.
Implementing an MDM program sounds great, and it will provide tangible benefits to your company, but it’s not without challenges. General things to consider include the scope, budget, and effectiveness of your proposed MDM solutions. Other factors, like the complexity of your particular data quality issues, overlap in master data, and lack of data standards or governance, or the scalability of your solution should not be overlooked.
Despite those challenges, it is clear that Master Data Management can significantly benefit your company, no matter which industry you might be a part of.
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