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What is Master Data Management (MDM) and its purpose?

By Chris Detzel posted 10-28-2022 16:43

Defined by the Reltio Community Members they answer this one simple question. What is Master Data Management (MDM) and its purpose

Master Data Management (MDM) is a technology-enabled discipline that aims to consolidate data from multiple sources into one central place, cleanse and enrich it, and achieve a single version of the truth (the "golden value"). MDM standards for data creation and common attributes help reduce manual work and improve data quality. The success of MDM implementation depends on multiple critical factors, such as the MDM tool, governance, data quality reporting, and data stewardship. MDM should deliver the canonical model of entity type for the whole enterprise, and mastered data should be returned to source systems to improve and enrich the enterprise data flow. MDM can be applied in different areas, including life sciences and marketing.

MDM helps ensure the consistency, accuracy, and completeness of the master data across the enterprise. By having a single version of the truth, organizations can make better decisions, improve operational efficiency, and enhance customer experiences. MDM also helps organizations manage complex relationships and identify duplicates or discrepancies in data. It is a continuous process that requires constant attention and effort to maintain the quality of master data.

To be successful, organizations should approach MDM with a clear understanding of their desired business outcomes and work backwards from there, making sure to involve key stakeholders and build a strong governance framework. It's also important to note that MDM involves not only implementing the right technology, but also having a well-defined data stewardship program, data quality reporting, and an effective governance structure. These elements are essential to maintaining the quality of master data over time and ensuring that it is integrated into all relevant systems and processes. Furthermore, MDM should also prioritize getting the mastered data back to source systems to ensure that it is used and applied across the board. In summary, MDM is a complex, ongoing effort that requires a collaborative, cross-functional approach and a continuous improvement mindset.

I was influenced by a query I posted earlier this year on the Reltio Community, where community members provided answers. When people ask me about my occupation and my place of work, it can sometimes be confusing to explain. To clarify, we will examine the perspectives of the community members on Master Data Management and its objective. You can access the original question at the Reltio Community here: What is Master Data Management (MDM) and its purpose? This will aid us and the community in improving our ability to explain what we do as MDM professionals.

If you would like Reltio's definition find it here: What is Master Data Management?

First we start with @Joel Snipes
. He even put together a video!  He said "The purpose of Master Data Management is to consolidate your data from multiple sources in one central place and be able to cleanse and enrich and get to the ultimate golden value." 

Next, we get to @Angela Wawrzaszek, from Hillrom, now Baxter.  She said:

"MDM is about creating standards for master data creation to create the Customer to a Standard format.  This reduces the amount of stewarding, and the amount of cleansing needed.   If the consolidated data is not passed back to the original system then you are only 'cleaning' the top of the rug,  while the dirt still remains under the rug.    Common attributes & values,  Common Abbreviations

The Best practice for MDM is to create the Master Data once, and deliver the Customer data to the systems that need it.   This would allow the data from each of the systems to be created from the Central Image, and then when the Customer xref is loaded from the multiple systems the data will be the same and therefore will auto merge, reducing a lot of manual work.  This methodology is not always possible or may not be the initial step taken when a Golden Customer visibility is needed and the full Integration to the many systems is not realistic step initially."


@Walt Feldman, from Tenerity had a few thoughts around what Master Data Management is and how he would describe it: 

Master Data Management is a technology enabled discipline. Just having a great MDM tool does not mean you are great at MDM. You cannot be great without great stewards, great governance and great processes. Always understand your downstream systems and what they need to succeed from the MDM system. Start with the desired business outcome and work backwards from there."

@Deepak Bhansali, from Fidelity says: 

"MDM is a "Continuous"  process of Cleansing, Standardizing, Enriching & Maintaining  the Golden value of Entity to drive Enterprise Analytics and Operations.
MDM Engine(Tools), Governance, Data Quality Reporting (CDEs) and Data Stewardship are equally critical for success of MDM implementation. 

It  should deliver the Canonical model of Entity type for the whole Enterprise.

As pointed  getting back the mastered data to Source systems in also very important, this is how the improved  and enriched data can get into the Enterprise data flow and is utilized and redeemed across the board"

Used Cases on How A Pharmaceutical Company could use Reltio with Mastering their Products: 

"Sometimes Companies Master products. We have a customer who is in the Life Sciences pharmaceutical space. They Master every single version of their Pharmaceuticals and sometimes it can be complicated. The drug they master comes in six-packs, eight packs, 30 packs, and 120 packs. It comes in all sorts of different strengths and some are only available to pharmacies. Some of the products are actually the same and white-labeled are complex relationships. What many people would think of as just one drug is tricky and Reltio enabled them to better track that through Master Data Management." 

Why a Marketing Organization Should Care about Master Data Management (MDM)

"If your marketing organization, you probably have a few different systems. You might have HubSpot or in certain email tools. You probably have legacy data sets from whatever using before, HubSpot data from the sales or Finance organization in your team. And each one of those will have a, a version of your customer. When you're going to Market your customer. You're going to email them. You're going to mail them a flyer, which address should you use, which emailed should you email them at? How do you know which last name to address them by when you have multiple versions across different sources? Master data management helps you figure that out. For questions about how marketing organizations can use master data management, check out our community and ask:" 

How Reltio helps Insurance Companies solve the Data problem @Ashley Branham

"If you think about insurance companies, they are focused on relationships who is related to who in a household. What policies they have insured and what claims they have, and all these things tie back to obviously what is related around that main mastered item. Then coming into Reltio we take that, and we can pull everything from these separate systems and their policy system, and their claims and you put them into one view. Then you can see the whole view of the customer and how it's tied together.

What problem does that solve?
It really solves how an agent would interact with that customer. They have an instant view of everything that they are related to everything claims when you tie into what an agent would be in terms of revenue? For example, are they losing revenue on the client because they have had too many claims: Is their spouse losing revenue on it? Are they an at-risk client? You can really see what they've got and also how could they upsell them based on who else is in that household?"

We would love to hear your story about what the definition of Master Data Management is and the purpose is. 

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