An even playing field for master data management
Effective master data management (MDM) is beneficial for businesses of all sizes, enabling them to harness the power of accurate and consistent data that can drive growth and efficiency and mitigate potential risks associated with bad data. Managed properly, data can be a competitive advantage; otherwise, it can be a liability.
However, the approaches that many small businesses have taken to solve their MDM challenges have up until now been quick and dirty solutions that don’t scale and eventually cause more problems than they solve.
Master data: Instilling confidence in data
Let’s start with the basics. Master data refers to the foundational and persistent data that are essential for the basic operation of an organization — key entities such as customers, products, suppliers, and employees (i.e., our non-transactional data). All too often, however, this data is scattered across an organization. It’s siloed by department and application; there can be redundant information, often caused by these silos; records are often incomplete; and soon it becomes apparent that this data, which is core to many departments and disciplines, isn’t being leveraged to its full potential.
But once that data is mastered, it can serve as a single, reliable source of truth that is shared across systems, applications, and people — ensuring data consistency and accuracy.
This sounds a bit like data nirvana, yet most of us who rely on consistent data — data we can trust — know that it’s anything but easy.
The small business data dilemma
Let’s clear up a common misconception: MDM isn’t just for large, global enterprise companies!
While it’s true that large enterprises have more complex data environments and larger volumes of data to manage, organizations of all sizes share in the benefits of an MDM program. These benefits can include improved sales effectiveness, more organizational efficiency (less time fixing errors and more time doing productive tasks), improved compliance and risk mitigation.
Still, for a long time, small businesses have grappled with how to make their master data journeys successful. Among their obstacles are limited budgets, lack of expertise, complicated tools, resource constraints, and difficulty effecting change, to name just a few.
Faced with these challenges, some companies try to manage their data using tools that they already have —any tools, like spreadsheet or basic database tools that come packaged with their word processing applications. Others try to repurpose customer relationship management or enterprise resource planning applications.
These approaches can work, and they often do, but only for a while, because these methods are unwieldy. They don’t scale, and if your business is going to experience growth (we’ve yet to find a business that doesn’t want to experience growth), your data volumes are only going to increase. It will take a lot of work and constant attention to ensure that all the small steps — the ones that make up the overall process — don’t change. Keeping track of deduplication rules, refresh cadences, input and output streams, and data cleansing steps, among others, quickly becomes a full-time job (or several full-time jobs).
For most small businesses, once they hit their breaking point, the only real alternative has been to bite the bullet and purchase an enterprise MDM software solution. While these solutions are certainly effective for a large enterprise, they come with challenges for a small business; initial setup and configuration can be complex and time-consuming, the learning curve can be steep, and the price tag might be beyond what a company is able to invest, even in support of a critically important asset — their data.
A data solution for small businesses
Dun & Bradstreet sought to address those challenges with D&B Connect Essentials, a cloud-based, multiuser, easy-to-use and easy-to-implement data management solution that makes entry into MDM accessible to all. This new solution enables smaller organizations to easily take their first steps on their MDM journey and use the right tool for the job, which will scale as their organization grows.
“Ultimately, everyone in the organization bears some responsibility for the data quality across the business. This is even more relevant in a smaller organization,” said George L’Heureux, Sr. Product Manager for Data Management at Dun & Bradstreet. “Our priority was to create a solution that is easy to use. The typical MDM solutions can be overwhelming which leads to decreased adoption, engagement and effectiveness. But D&B Connect Essentials feels simple – with an intuitive user interface, many tasks are simply point-and-click. You don’t need to be an expert to use it which makes the benefits more accessible.”
Some of the benefits that small businesses recognize with D&B Connect Essentials:
- Data can be uploaded easily from multiple sources into a single repository.
- D-U-N-S Numbers®, Dun & Bradstreet’s globally recognized standard for identifying a business, are automatically assigned, facilitating accurate and efficient data management and integration.
- Deduplication of records is simplified.
- An easy-to-navigate interface presents consolidated entities, including record enhancements from the Dun & Bradstreet Data Cloud, for more-efficient data management.
- It allows easy export of clean, mastered data so users can incorporate data improvements into their source systems.
Quick and clean
With D&B Connect Essentials, businesses that have relied on quick and dirty data management can finally move to quick and clean — a fast, scalable, easy-to-use, and price-appropriate solution that results in clean, enriched master data to drive more confident business decisions and growth.
Learn more about D&B Connect Essentials.