WHAT IS MASTER DATA MANAGEMENT AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

Master data management software generates a single point of reference for the management of critical business knowledge. These programs accumulate information from various sources and consolidate this datainto a master file, which is then used as the primary resource for all business processes and applications.

Master data management is costly and labor intensive. Master data management software, however, streamlines the entire process by combining various pieces of information into one single master file. It is primarily used for quality assurance and analytics, and lets businesses manage their data in a more consistent way.

Master data management software comes with various features, which help to maintain data security and integrity. Most programs store data in the cloud, for example, so users can access information quickly and safely from almost any location. Some tools incorporate mobile data, too, providing businesses with comprehensive data analysis.

Some of the most popular master data management tools include IBM InfoSphere, Oracle MDM and Product 360.

THE BENEFITS OF MASTER DATA MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

When executed correctly, master data management software optimizes business processes and gives companies a centralized maintenance and storage point. This allows for easier data sharing between departments and reduces the complexities of data management. Data deduplication—one of the primary features of master data management software—prevents staff from accessing multiple copies of the same piece of data, for example.

The total amount of data in the world is predicted to reach 44 zettabytes by 2020 — nearly ten times the amount of data that was created in 2013. Every day, 2.5 exabytes of data is produced, which is equivalent to 90 years of HD video. This immense amount of information can overwhelm a business and its cloud decision-making. Master data management software provides a solution. When used as part of a larger enterprise planning strategy, these programs facilitate more accurate, efficient data—something that reduces operational costs, increases usability, ensures consistency and improves customer satisfaction and engagement.

The Risks of Unrestricted Data Access

The foundation of MDM is creating a simplified process for maintaining clean and reliable master data. Innovative organizations have determined that the key successful implementation of MDM methodology is to create a set of Master Data Change Management processes. Business experts can design processes to ensure that master data change requests pass through appropriate authorizations before altering any information.

For example, some data is accessed by multiple staff members on a regular basis. However, the ability to access the information should not automatically correspond with an ability to make modifications. Organizations that have not yet implemented appropriate controls often discover – too late – that a small change can lead to big problems. It is common for data sets to have complex relationships with other data sets. Altering one record may affect sub-assemblies, which subsequently impacts multiple products. For example, a single change that is not properly vetted could possibly disrupt your ERP software and bring down a full production line.

Implementing MDM Using BPM Software

A large percentage of data enters the organization through standard day-to-day processes. BPM software is a practical starting point for implementing MDM because master data should be generated and modified by well-designed business processes. BPM tools lay the groundwork for MDM by collecting and funneling data through the appropriate channels. Common examples of processes that require changes of master data include the Vendor Creation Process and Part Change Order Process. A solid process ensures that appropriate checks are performed before changes are authorized.

Use your BPM software to implement MDM in three steps:

  • Create processes with standardized forms and authorizations throughout your organization. This prevents incomplete information and orients staff to common terminology, which prevents the misinterpretations of data later.
  • Set up field validations to confirm that users enter the correct type of information into each field. The use of required fields also makes it less likely that your data will be incomplete.
  • Use process variables to properly categorize and store the information entered in each case.

Eliminate Data Silos and Create Automatic Audit Trails

High-quality BPM platforms are nimble enough to connect to multiple external applications and eliminate data silos. This prevents duplication of data and acts as a central repository for data. For maximum success, the BPM software should also have connectors to your ERP, as this is where most of your master data will reside. The practice of using the same system across multiple departments or segments reduces the likelihood of misrepresenting or misinterpreting data. Most important, BPM software comes with built-in permission, so you can restrict data access on a need-to-know basis.

Finally, using automated workflows provides an audit trail of the information that enters your company. This makes it possible for you to locate the source of individual pieces of data, as well as pinpoint the source of any errors. With advanced BPM software, you can set up customized processes to automatically find and eliminate copies at timed intervals, and you can systematically update data and perform quality checks.

TOP MASTER DATA MANAGEMENT TOOLS FROM REAL USERS

As of November 2017, only 4 master data management tools have enough reviews to quality for the G2 Crowd grid. We can compare those four products based on their overall user satisfaction. Here are the four top rated master data management tools on G2 Crowd:

    • Dell Boomi
    • Oracle MDM
    • NetWeaver
    • SAP Master Data Governance

WHAT USERS SAY ABOUT MASTER DATA MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

“I was able to automate several processes which involved integration with Salesforce, SuccessFactors, NetSuite, ViewCentral and many more third party vendors,” says a user of MDM tool Dell Boomi. “Without it, there would have been a lot of manual work, which would have been more error-prone.” This user goes on to say, “As this program is cloud-based, we can access it from anywhere. Its user interface is very user-friendly and we can implement our logic without any confusion or hindrances.”

“The best part about this software is the virtually endless possibilities for analyzing and manipulating data,” says a user who reviewed MDM program NetWeaver. “It is directly linked to our financial information, billing, revenue, expenses and more. Since our data can be connected to one main computing platform, we are able to create various reports with all the information we need at our fingertips.”

Master data management software provides users with a single repository, where the bulk of a company’s data is kept safe and secure. This lets companies track data points and filter unnecessary information. More brands are using this technology in order to maintain data across departments, with 51 percent of companiesimplementing master data management to support business intelligence initiatives.

MASTER DATA GOVERNANCE

SAP Master Data Governance (MDG) is a master data management solution, providing out-of-the-box, domain-specific master data governance to centrally create, change, and distribute, or to consolidate master data across the complete enterprise system landscape.

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