Master Data Management (MDM)

MDM is an acronym for Master Data Management.

Master data is the definitive set of attributes of any given business domain. For example, master data for customer is the set of attributes that define “customer.” Everything that identifies Jane Doe as a customer could be part of your master data: name, address, social media handles, age, gender, and so on. You can have master data for any business domain: facility, product, vendor, supply chain partner, and so on. Transactional data is generally not considered master data.

Master data management (MDM) consists of practices, processes, and technologies for ensuring the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, and consistency of master data – across multiple systems, functional areas, and even organizations.

Multi-domain MDM involves mastering data for more than one business domain. This helps organizations get a 360-degree view of their entire business rather than just a single domain in it.

The primary goal of MDM (especially multi-domain MDM) is to create a single, accurate, and consistent reference point for all common data elements (e.g., products, customers, vendors, employees, hierarchies) across the many information systems and sources a business maintains. Without master data management, companies may experience countless problems. "Multiple versions of the truth" are likely to lead to inefficient business operations, ineffective decision making, inaccurate forecasting, an inability to adhere to regulatory guidelines, and other issues that can hinder business performance, drain resources, and minimize competitive advantage.

MDM can be complicated. Master data management software makes it easier for organizations to master their data, which enhances productivity and boosts operational performance by improving information accuracy and data exchange within and beyond the enterprise.

While many people think that IT is responsible for MDM, successful MDM projects require the involvement of both IT and business management. The business has to guide the implementation and use of MDM in order to ensure alignment with overall corporate goals and objectives. IT has to build and operate the MDM architecture and draws on its experience to guide the selection of technologies and partners. 

Many MDM initiatives are destined to fail because companies mistakenly approach them as a single, short-term project. In order to be truly effective and deliver substantial and tangible results, master data management must be part of a broad-reaching, long-term data management strategy that combines policies and procedures with advanced technology solutions like data integration, quality management, and governance. Leaders from both the IT department and key functional areas of the business must also be actively involved in order for a master data management strategy to succeed.

Omni-Gen from Information Builders enhances and automates key steps within the mastering process, including integration, data quality, match/merge, governance, and remediation. Its top-down, business-focused approach eliminates many of the obstacles to success and reduces the time needed to master a domain – often from 12 months or more to just three or fewer.

With Omni-Gen, organizations can obtain a 360-degree view of their business by easily and economically creating and maintaining a single "golden record" for each of its key business entities. Those golden records can then be seamlessly shared with systems and people organization-wide.

For advice on how to focus on improving your MDM deployment, check out our complimentary white paper, co-written by Information Builders and our MDM partner, Hub Designs: