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Basic steps for circumscribing and managing master data

Learn basic principles for circumscribing master data from the rest of your data and read about three simple steps for managing master data, with tips from our MDM expert.

I’m new to the master data management (MDM) area, and I have a small question here. Suppose I have a lot of data...

and I need to implement MDM technology. Once that’s done, what are the basic steps or principles for choosing master data from the whole data set? The basic steps for circumscribing master data from the rest of that crazy hairball your company has built up over the years are:

1. Avoid “counts and amounts.” These are usually associated with specific transactions and aren’t relevant to the repeatable usage that’s the hallmark of managing master data.

2. Determine which type of master data is most universally used across your business processes. Is it product descriptions across catalogs? Or customer names and addresses across accounts? Or households or other groupings?

3. Then map these data categories back to the authoritative systems that generate the data, and work with business users to design the desired-state business rules.

My Baseline partner Evan Levy teaches some great workshops around MDM planning and deployment, and he’d tie me to an anthill if he knew I was oversimplifying the steps to MDM deployment in this way. But if you start thinking in terms of authoritative reference data and not counts-and-amounts, you’re probably on the right track.

This was last published in May 2010

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