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5 Master Data Best Practices

Establishing Master Data Strategies Ahead of MDM Implantations

When thinking about master data management (MDM), what's ultimately needed to keep the business infrastructure from crumbling is clean, unified, well-governed, expertly-stewarded master data content. This is often easier said than done, with companies stumbling on their way to full MDM implementation.

While the needs of businesses vary, these five master data best practices underpin successful initiatives:

1. Deduplication and data cleansing.

Record duplication eats up bandwidth and causes confusion. Always check for existing customer, prospect, and vendor records before creating a new file.

2. Work with complete firmographic data for reliable business entity resolution.

Incomplete records sow the seeds of confusion down the line, as business users can’t depend upon the same information being available for each contact or entity.

3. Obtain clear corporate hierarchy data to understand linkages in business partners and customers.

Uncovering connections between business entities can make your sales and marketing data more useful, but first you need to implement a process to define these relationships (a data enrichment program).

4. Establish common definitions between departments and business partners.

No piece of software is an island; people must build applications with master data in mind so that each program can understand data produced by another.

5. Enable seamless integration with third party business data providers.

High-quality external data can supplement your own information with new insights, but only if you have a system flexible enough to accept it.

Data Integrity & Your MDM Strategy

When trying to span the chasm between sales and marketing, or finance and operations, or enterprises across a value chain, there is only one thing that can truly bridge them all in an integrated way: master data.

While workflows and processes may be designed for optimal efficiency, the success of those implementations is predicated on the quality of the data that is within them. Simply put - dirty data clogs process pipes. No matter how good your MDM strategy is, resources are wasted if the data in your systems is inconsistent and doesn't connect.

As you look at any MDM program, your data is what makes your software effective. Strong master data content can help strengthen the foundation of your strategic objectives and provide a reliable foundation for enterprise growth. Consider master data as a trusted view of entities and relationships that can flow across platforms or systems within your organization and cannot otherwise be achieved in individual silos.

Master data, we would submit, is the most important data you have. It is about the products you make and services you provide, it is the customers you sell to, it is the vendors you buy from. It is the basis of your business and commercial relationships. A primary focus area should be your ability to define your foundational master data elements, (entities, hierarchies, types, and geographies) and then the data that is needed (both to be mastered and to be accessible) to meet your business objective.

Getting the Most from Your Business Data

Data, to have value, must be in motion, it must be current, agile and available, integrated as close to the point of decision as possible. You must identify the pinch points and blockages that keep data from moving. Misidentified entities, differing taxonomies, and inconsistent nomenclature all keep data separate.

Once you become a master of your data, it will flow. Learn how Dun & Bradstreet’s Data Cloud helps companies meet their business objectives. Read more about setting your data in motion.

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