What is master data management (MDM)?

Master data management (MDM) is the discipline and/or technology that provides a trustworthy view of a company’s data and makes that data readily available to other business functions. To understand MDM, it is important to first define master data; master data is the critical business data of an organization that includes product, supplier, and customer information.

Master data management solutions help ensure that a company’s data is accurate and governed across enterprise applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), product lifecycle management (PLM), enterprise performance management (EPM), and more.

What is master data management software?

Master data management software is the combination of applications and technologies that consolidates, cleanses, and augments this master data and synchronizes it with applications, business processes, and analytical tools. MDM software provides a simplified master data management process to help solve many of the challenges businesses face when dealing with managing enterprise, product, and customer data.

Why do you need master data management software?

When master data is incorrect or scattered and hidden throughout the organization, it can negatively impact all aspects of the business. Often, having inaccurate master data results in conflicting figures for the same metric, excess inventory, late-to-market acquisitions and company reorganizations, and inaccurate demand forecasts. In short, without master data management software, there is no unified focus on aligning master data with the organization’s business needs and strategy.

What are the benefits of master data management?

Although everyone in the business uses master data, few people have visibility into its full lifecycle. Key stakeholders often don’t know the data source, how accurate it is, or how to increase its value. This lack of visibility is more often than not due to the many disparate enterprise solutions and business functions that author and consume data.

When you consider the number of stakeholders in an organization—both internal and external—it can quickly become clear why it can be difficult to access current, accurate, and complete information stored across the business. Factor in mergers, growth, and globalization, and information can end up located across multiple, disconnected systems and databases, each of which are most likely housing different versions of the same information and of varying quality. Because of this, reporting and analytic solutions cannot be relied upon to help inform strategic and confident business decisions. To keep this data in sync, many organizations rely on master data management software.

The benefits of master data management software is that it can provide transparency, accuracy, and efficiencies to the manual processes most businesses use when dealing with managing enterprise, product, and customer data.

What is enterprise master data management?

Many organizations use manual processes that rely on emails, spreadsheets, and conference calls to build consensus around enterprise master data elements. Processes such as these can lead to long reconciliation cycles as well as alignment and trust issues in enterprise reporting.

Without access to a common reference, it’s no surprise that figures across the organization may not match. In addition, without a way to effectively manage your enterprise master data, companies will be slower to respond to change—whether migrating an application to the cloud, managing the effects of mergers and acquisitions, or simply reconciling enterprise data differences across business functions and applications.

What is enterprise master data management software?

Enterprise master data management software ensures that business applications are aligned with each other through the consistent use of critical enterprise data elements, such as the chart of accounts. Sometimes this critical data is referred to as “enterprise data” or “metadata,” and often includes application-specific attributes, alternative business perspectives, corporate dimensions, reference data, and master data assets. Examples of enterprise data can also include chart of accounts, organization or cost-center structures, market segments, product categories, and more.

Enterprise master data management solutions help ensure that enterprise master data is not only consistent across financial systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and enterprise performance management (EPM), but also across reporting, analytics, and other transactional applications, such as procurement, supply chain, and customer experience (CX) systems.

With a system for managing enterprise master data, your employees work with the data they need using their everyday software (accounting, CRM, etc.). Enterprise master data management software will crowdsource these activities and add them to a shared framework. This allows information sharing and data governance to mature into formal policies that are based on how people actually use the data instead of preconceived, inflexible rules.

What is product master data management?

Product master data management is often referred to as a software that businesses use to manage their product data. Product master data management software is implemented because companies struggle with scattered product data that’s hidden throughout heterogeneous systems or stored across multiple spreadsheets and best-of-breed applications.

By consolidating and centralizing product data with a product master data management solution, companies have a way to manage all their product information and leverage that same data across their functional departments. This includes everyone from C-level executives who develop organizational strategy to users who continually harness product information for development, marketing, supply chain, and enterprise operations.

Product master data management software can also help you continue to maintain accurate product data. In fact, it often provides the foundation for enterprise business transformation by delivering a single source of accurate product data required for your sales, marketing, supply chain, and ERP processes. With product master data management software, you can establish a unified enterprise product record and digital thread that helps you rapidly commercialize, govern, and publish product master data for globalized manufacturing and omnichannel commerce. Then, you can seamlessly publish that data to internal and external applications and marketplaces with a single, multidomain solution—delivering trusted and commercialized product information for a faster time to market.

What is customer master data management?

Clean, consistent customer data is vital to an organization’s success. Customer master data management software consolidates, cleans, completes, and coordinates data to and from multiple sources. It can also standardize addresses, resolve duplicate record issues, and ensure that sales teams have the best version of customer profiles and records.

Customer master data management helps overcome common problems that arise from inconsistent, incomplete, and inaccurate customer data, including:

  • Poor customer service resulting from inaccurate data
  • Inefficient sales teams with multiple reps working on duplicate accounts
  • Ineffective marketing due to duplicate leads

With trusted customer records, organizations have a more effective management platform as well as a single, accurate customer view that can be used across multiple systems and business units. Good customer data provides a holistic picture that allows for rationalized account planning, improved sales execution, and customer profitability.

What are the differences between product information management and master data management?

Product information management (PIM) is a system that handles product information across all channels related to a business. PIM is critical to supply chain effectiveness, productivity, time to market, product quality, and even customer satisfaction.

Conversely, master data management comprises all the transactional and operational data of an organization—or, put simply—all the data that resides within a company. Master data management is bigger and broader than just products. Master data management includes product data as well as any and all data regarding employees, customers, suppliers, vendors, and more.

When you can share the same, single source of accurate product data required for your sales, marketing, supply chain, and ERP processes, your business can efficiently commercialize new products and services. A master data management solution does just that—It ensures that complete and consistent product information is published across your sales channels while efficiently sharing trusted product data across back-end SCM, ERP, and order fulfillment systems.

Get started with master data management solutions from Oracle

Everyone in your organization relies on accurate and timely data to make decisions—from executives developing organizational strategy to users in development, marketing, supply chain, and operations. As you continue to align your portfolio and processes with your strategy and growth objectives, having trusted master data seamlessly flow throughout the enterprise can save you time and money, dramatically increase your supply chain and selling efficiencies, improve customer loyalty, and support sound corporate governance. Legacy systems working in separate silos just aren’t capable of supporting today’s changing business models and more complex products and services.

Oracle master data management solutions are a set of purpose-built applications designed to consolidate, clean, govern, and share master data across the business. Oracle’s cloud-based solutions are built on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, which means your organization will stay up to date with the latest features, functionality, and best practices.

Oracle MDM solution rolls out updates regularly, so you’re continuously leveraging the latest technological innovations. With master data management on a common data model across ERP, supply chain management (SCM), PLM, and CX, you can ensure that you have a single source of reliable master data across channels, departments, and geographies.