Many companies want to develop a data-driven culture, basing decisions on facts rather than subjective opinion. Creating and managing a consistent set of master data can help achieve that.

Defining master data

Master data is “data about the business entities that provide context for business transactions” says the DAMA Guide to the Data Management Body of Knowledge.

Gartner defines it as “the consistent and uniform set of identifiers and extended attributes that describes the core entities of the enterprise including customers, prospects, citizens, suppliers, sites, hierarchies and chart of accounts.”

Quote from Gartner describing what master data is

In short – it’s the people, places and things that make a business work.

Master data is at the core of every business

The word data can strike fear into the hearts of the numerically challenged. But it’s about more than numbers. Master data represents the objects at the heart of your business transactions: buyers, products, employees, office locations. You wouldn’t be able to operate without them.

The absence of master data stops you from creating a clear vision of how your business runs. When managed successfully, it has a major influence on the effectiveness of your organisation.

Six benefits of strong master-data management

Often referred to as a single source of truth, master data must be managed competently to deliver benefits such as enabling you to:

1. Make better-informed decisions, more confidently, backed up by single source of consistent, accurate data

2. Eliminate siloes of information with an easily accessible, central source of up-to-date intelligence. This does require teams to show willingness to collaborate and share data if it’s to work efficiently

3. Create a better customer experience, truly putting the customer at the heart of your business. Customer data is a commonly cited example of master data, but one of the most important to get right

4. Define and deliver the ideal future state using agreed, common standards which analysts can integrate into realistic scenario models and to-be processes

5. Optimise resource use by applying master data management to track assets, how they are employed and maintained

6. Understand which processes are affected by regulatory changes, easily identify risk and make changes to achieve and maintain compliance

Centralised systems help provide a single source of authoritative data

Where do you hold your master data and how do you access it?

A uniform application which holds all the master data centrally helps eliminate mistakes and confusion. It’s then easier to maintain the data and integrate it into the appropriate processes.

In the BusinessOptix transformation platform, master data is stored as a shared set of resources. Business analysts can review those reports which access master data and understand how it relates to individual process models. Standard usage reports and dashboards highlight where master data is referenced across process models and organisational charts.

These businesses are focusing on master data

Radisson Hotel Group has implemented a platform to consolidate data in real time across its hotels. The objectives are to improve business performance, reduce workload, and deliver better customer service.

US-based grocery wholesaler Save A Lot has introduced a suite of solutions including master data management. Its aim is to improve supply chain management and become a more agile, efficient business.

Improve your master data management

For a chat about how better master data management will benefit your business, contact us. As a BusinessOptix partner, we’ll help you integrate its capabilities into your processes.

Do you understand where your process mapping capabilities lie?

Take our quick quiz to find out, and receive some free resources to help you progress.