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How a Master Data Strategy Enables Cross-Functional Collaboration

Applying the Coalition Approach to Master Data Implementation

Implementing a Master Data strategy offers many benefits to a business. In many cases, one department or functional area of a business drives the strategy and realizes the benefits. However, much more can be achieved if an all-encompassing strategy is undertaken from the get-go.

That was certainly the case at Getty Images. A previous Dun & Bradstreet Perspectives article looked at how the company’s Master Data strategy helped accelerate sales and marketing. But that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Due to the way it has implemented its Master Data strategy, Getty Images realizes additional benefits across the entire organization. The key was to get all the various stakeholders – including finance, tech, and sales and marketing – involved so everyone’s requirements were met.

Guiding the effort is Greg McLaughlin, VP Global Sales Operations at Getty Images. He has four primary areas of responsibility: sales enablement, sales operations, learning and development, and management of Getty’s global CRM platform.

In a recent video interview, McLaughlin noted that most companies setting out to implement a Master Data strategy find that some teams may not think they need to get involved. For example, sales and marketing may feel that Master Data is something IT handles. “How do you get them to care about MDM [Master Data Management] strategy and realize the benefits it brings?” he asks.

“Driving adoption is all about selling internally and influencing people to buy into a common vision,” he explains. “You have to show people what I call the overwhelming benefit … a vision where the value of engaging in a process or adopting a technology is so much greater than the level of effort to engage or to perform a certain set of tasks or processes that [the benefit] completely overwhelms the effort.”

To develop a cohesive Master Data strategy, organizations need to build a coalition that includes financial leaders, IT leaders, and sales and marketing leaders. “You cannot allow the various groups to go off in different directions to master or clean their data separately,” says McLaughlin. “It is really important to bring them together to have one strategy for the whole organization, not separate strategies for different functional areas.”

The Coalition Approach

This coalition approach ensures there is no question over who owns the Master Data strategy. Everyone has a stake in the effort. And in turn, every functional area can be confident that their needs are satisfied.

“Finance can govern and drive your back-office processes and make sure customer experiences are very good. IT can manage the delivery and storage of the data,” he says. “And sales and marketing can give the customer perspective (for both internal and external customers) to set the vision and give direction as to what is needed.”

All three must come together to form the strategy. “When you put these together, you really get the full breadth and power the organization has to offer,” says McLaughlin.

This approach benefits anyone whose tasks relate to the customer. “It starts with marketing through lead generation and lead management, through all sales processes to our quote-to-cash operation, financial teams, product organization, and all of the customer success staff,” he says. These areas are part of the solution. They all are part of the CRM platform. And because Master Data is the foundation of the CRM platform, all the views are one in the same.

The result is that the approach supports the customer lifecycle from beginning to end. “The entire organization is engaged in our MDM solution, so all of the different groups are aligned,” says McLaughlin.

He notes that implementing a Master Data strategy is an ongoing process. “It is a journey, and as a result, we get better and better at understanding our customer.” Simply put, Getty Images’ Master Data strategy (and its implementation) spans the company’s whole business and helps support its customers in every aspect.

Listen to more insights from Greg McLaughlin on how Getty Images’ Master Data strategy was a cross-functional collaboration. <VIEW VIDEO>

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