Demystifying MDM – 3 Myths to Ditch Right Now

by Francine Harris | April 11, 2018 | Blog

Data Management.  Data Governance.  Data Intelligence.  Data Warehousing.  Data Mining.  Big Data.  Little Data.  Master Data.  Product Data.  No doubt you’ve read the terms, taglines and acronyms surrounding ‘Data.’  It’s confusing, conflicting and sometimes a bit mind numbing. Because with so many plays on ‘Data’ how do you know what is applicable and necessary for your business? How do you know which kind of ‘data’ you need?  Well, for today, let’s focus on Master Data Management (MDM).  After all, it’s something we know quite a bit about.

Think of MDM as recognizing a single data source as the beacon throughout the organization. There are a set of rules that define the location and all information for a particular data record. It is about all the domains that run through an organization, such as data about customers, suppliers, employees, locations etc. It is a cross-organizational effort to gather, manage and distribute data in the most efficient way possible and goes beyond any single department.  As technology advances and evolves, so does the definition and uses for MDM.  As a result, there’s still lingering confusion and misconceptions.   Let’s clear up a few of them.

1. MDM is just a technology effort.

Although MDM technologies can have a dramatic effect on a company’s performance, they won’t magically solve existing data problems.  The Data Warehousing Institute that found 83 percent of organizations suffer from bad data for reasons that have nothing to do with technology.  The result? A general lack of trust in the quality of their data which in turn prevents them from achieving strategic business objectives.  Poor-quality data should be a company’s biggest concern.

2. MDM is just ITs problem.

Let’s say your stakeholders acknowledge that there’s an issue with data quality.  That problem needs to be addressed and not just via your IT team.  This is a cross functional and cross silo undertaking.  After all, the only way to ensure that your functional staff understands and trusts the data they’re seeing from the technical staff is to collaborate early in the process. The better the communication and collaboration, the easier it will be to build up a transparent, master data management processes.

3. MDM is for large complex enterprises only

This is probably the biggest misconception of all.   As e-commerce continues to grow, the pressure for small to mid-sized organizations will grow as well.  For example, as a manufacturer/supplier you want to get your products onto as many shelves, storefronts and retail sources as possible.  And the retailer in turn, wants to offer the customer a seamless, easy to use and easy to buy shopping experience.  We think this is the perfect opportunity for small-to-mid-size companies to actually compete against the larger enterprises.

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