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What do we need to optimize our MDM strategy?

Companies in all industries can benefit from a master data management program, advises MDM expert Anne Marie Smith. Learn how to enhance yours.

Although master data management started in industries such as manufacturing and financial services, all organizations should embrace the need for managing common data more effectively through an MDM strategy.

Many companies make critical business decisions based on incomplete or inaccurate common data about customers, products, employees, etc. By creating and maintaining the proper reference points (both logical and physical) for commonly used data, master and reference data management processes can help an organization manage this resource more effectively, with confidence that the information is correct and consistent enterprise-wide.

A solid MDM strategy needs an enterprise data governance program as a companion effort, since master data management must be supported by the policies, standards, processes and cultural change that data governance at the enterprise level provides. Organizations should also perform MDM strategy assessments that include a review of current and future technology needs. Consider questions such as the following:

Determine the project's mission and business value, and link the initiative to actionable insights. Devise a good IT strategy that's not just scalable and sustainable, but also reusable and appropriate. Next, choose the best technology platform: standardized or best of breed.

Make sure to define your MDM architecture and integration approach. What are your business and technical requirements for a master data management product, in detail? Next, develop strong organizational governance and adopt management processes that are appropriate for your MDM strategy. Require all vendors being considered to perform a proof of concept with your MDM data and also to follow a sample of your data governance and change management processes, for as long you dictate. This shouldn't be initiated on vendors' schedules.

Next Steps

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Include data quality in your master data management strategy

Get business buy-in for your MDM program

Dig Deeper on Data governance strategy