Establishing an Enterprise Wide Master Data Strategy

The Benefits of Master Data for Organizations

Master Data can strengthen strategy, drive innovation, and improve customer engagement.

Master Data is needed wherever a company seeks to make more intelligent business decisions, improve customer engagements, and increase efficiencies.

Unfortunately, most companies do not have enterprise-wide Master Data. So where do you start?

Master Data is the foundational information on customers, vendors, and prospects that needs to be shared across all internal systems, applications, and processes. Whether you are mastering at the application level, across an enterprise, or anywhere in between, there are four requirements for Master Data. It must have structure, connectability, coverage, and quality.

Meeting these four requirements is just the start. To get the most value from your data, it needs to move across your organization rather than be locked in a silo, stuck inside somebody’s head, or hidden in a paper report in a desk drawer. It’s important to get data to the point of decision as quickly as possible. Get it to the right person at the right time in the right context so they can be data-inspired about that business relationship.

Master Data allows you to understand your key business relationships and use that information in the best way possible to grow and protect your business. With a strong Master Data foundation for customers, prospects, and suppliers, you can more easily validate new entity information (e.g.: Does this company already exist in our database? Is this information the most current?). Once you have unique and authentic entity views, you can integrate all the associated data of that entity, giving you a trusted view of the relationship upon which you can base sound analytics and decisions.

From there, you can aggregate data to understand what is going on with your business. Who are our top customers? What are our top geographies? How are we doing in certain segments? How are we doing with these customers, in these segments, in these geographies?

Getting Started on the Master Data Process

Of course, not all companies start with fully enterprise-wide, multidomain (e.g., customer, supplier, partner) Master Data. Many take a phased approach and start with simple project-based data file delivery. Others start by mastering data at an application level, CRM being the most frequent example. Moving along the journey, an application-level program can expand to a department-level initiative. Ultimately, a company would want to use Master Data across all groups at the enterprise level.

No matter where the master data process begins, companies quickly realize the need to expand their use of it. For example, once the benefits of application-level mastering are clear, companies often move to adding additional “endpoints” for their Master Data so that departments and systems can share the same view, increasing the benefits of Master Data even further.

A Master Data provider should support you through all steps of the process. And at each stage, your organization should be able to realize additional business advantages, including:

  • Enterprise-Wide Master Data: unified view of strategic business relationships to improve key business decisions
    • M&A
    • new product development
    • market expansion
    • capital expenditures
    • strategic investment
  • Department-Level Master Data: consistent customer experience, superior regulatory compliance, improved credit management, and superior supply chain management
  • Application-Level Master Data (application data management): to optimize its performance for increased effectiveness and efficiency of specific projects
  • File-Level Master Data: increased effectiveness on projects

Realizing Master Data’s Benefits

With a comprehensive Master Data management implementation, companies can quickly and deeply understand business relationships (customers, prospects, suppliers, and partners) and leverage that information across the organization. This enables timely decisions and actions about those relationships to increase efficiency and both grow and protect the business and realize many benefits, including:

  • More effective and efficient sales and marketing
  • Improved credit management
  • Superior supply chain management
  • Consistent customer experience
  • Improved efficiency
  • Superior regulatory compliance
  • Unified view of strategic customer relationships, improving key business decisions

At each step of the master data process, your organization will experience benefits that strengthen strategy, drive innovation, and improve customer engagement. But embracing Master Data is not only about transforming chaos to order, it’s also a crucial part of digital transformation, the massive movement that is changing the very fundamentals of how we do business. Learn how a Master Data solution helped Getty Images experience transformative benefits across various functional areas of the organization.