Article
Written by Jack Craze
Posted on 25/07/2016

Boosting fast-moving businesses with Master Data Management

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In order to remain competitive, fast-moving businesses need to synchronise and integrate data flows across multiple information systems. Master Data Management (MDM) enables companies to do just that, linking all critical data in a single file and facilitating streamlined data sharing. As a result, MDM is now a vital component of the corporate IT toolbox.

In today’s fast-paced business world, businesses have to move quickly if they want to keep up or keep ahead. With recent developments in information technologies and systems, it’s no longer possible for businesses to have multiple data streams operating separately from one another. Indeed, information sprawl and data silos lead to costly delays and inefficiencies.

According to recent research, nearly half of UK employees (48%) waste three hours or more a day working with inefficient systems, costing the average UK business at least £28,000 a year. What’s more, 51% of respondents said they are not confident of the accuracy of the data used internally by their company.

At a time of when businesses are under pressure to reduce inefficiencies and leverage big data for competitive advantage, MDM is becoming an increasingly popular discipline.

So what is MDM and what are the benefits?

MDM is a comprehensive method of breaking down data silos within an organisation and making sure everyone has access to the right data, in the right place, at the right time. It comprises the processes, policies, standards and technologies involved in managing critical data and converting that data into a corporate asset.

Designed to eliminate information errors, mismatches and inconsistencies, MDM can help organisations to enhance productivity and boost their profit potential. It can also deliver:

  • Real-time analytics to keep pace with and enable real-time decision making
  • Clean and consistent data for business dashboards
  • Operational improvements, such as elimination of administrative errors, improved tracking and accelerated sales

Additional research also confirms that businesses using MDM to improve inventory accuracy can boost customer satisfaction by as much as a fifth, while yielding a 4% reduction in inventory carrying costs. 

New generation MDM technology

Originally, of course, MDM technology was not designed with real-time, high-speed businesses in mind. Sluggish data governance processes, clunky data management and integration systems, plus other ad hoc methods, made for sporadic and unsatisfactory MDM solutions.

But today, the new generation of MDM systems uses cloud-based technology to overcome inconsistent data silos in a much more cost-effective and less labour-intensive way. Operating at internet speeds, new MDM approaches link data in a central source while ensuring that all users see updated information within the applications they’re using – regardless of where in the business changes are made.

Avoiding common MDM pitfalls

Although MDM is no longer a specialist discipline, its implementation can still be challenging. One common mistake is to approach MDM as a one-off, short-term initiative. To be truly successful and sustainable, MDM needs to involve a long-term and far-reaching strategy that includes not only sophisticated technology but rigorous policies, governance procedures and quality management controls.

Other MDM pitfalls businesses should avoid include:

  • Underrating the importance of data governance
  • Failing to put metrics in place for measuring success
  • Employing technology that’s not aligned to business goals

Ultimately, MDM can’t be approached as big-bang, fix-all and standalone solution. In order meet stakeholders’ expectations for speed and efficiency, it must be embedded within a wider system that can flex to adopt organisational and cultural change. Only then will businesses overcome data sprawls and inconsistencies and achieve genuine growth acceleration.

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