Master Data Management: All Data Aboard!

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Source: Unsplash/Loren Dosti

95 per cent of managers and specialists see master data management (MDM) as a key factor contributing to business success. This was revealed in a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

After all, the right MDM system can help you centrally manage data from various sources and make it accessible to everyone responsible.

Large or diversified companies in particular can benefit from bringing together complex data sources from different systems and drawing meaningful information from them.

A suitable MDM system will help you stay afloat in a flood of data and increase your success as a team. Find out more about the challenges you can overcome with MDM and learn how to integrate it into your system landscape.

  1. Basics of MDM
  2. Why Is an MDM System Important?
  3. Benefits of an MDM System
  4. Success Through Data Integration
  5. Best Practice: Ottobock Cleans up and Celebrates International Success
  6. How Can I Successfully Implement an MDM Project?
  7. MDM Done Right – Download the Success Story Now!

Basics of MDM

To make progress on your digitalisation roadmap, it’s important that you don’t just manage valuable data independently but link it effectively. So what data are we actually talking about here? And how can you bring it together in the best possible way? You can find all the answers in this article.

What Is Master Data?

Master data refers to all types of data that a company needs to make decisions in different areas. This can include information on customers, employees and suppliers, but also on products, plants and facilities. Although master data usually only makes up a small proportion of all corporate data, it’s relatively complex to handle. On the one hand, the information is usually stored in different systems and, on the other hand, employees from a wide range of departments must be able to access it.

What Is MDM?

MDM is all about mastering this challenge and collecting business-critical data in one central location. An MDM system takes on this task and brings together information such as customer, order, product and financial data in a clear and up-to-date manner. This is why it’s often referred to as a multi-domain MDM system.

As your »single source of truth«, an MDM solution cleanses and enriches your data and forwards it to third-party systems.

A holistic approach is required for you to successfully conduct MDM. This calls for a 360-degree view of all corporate data to consolidate it accordingly and create complete data sets.

Why Is an MDM System Important?

Because digital transformation depends on competent data expertise, modern technologies and smart strategies to meet the constantly changing requirements of the market and your customers. You may be familiar with some of these pain points:

  • Non-transparent processes
  • Long time to value and time to market for changes
  • Missing flexibility and innovative spirit
  • Rigid and vague content
  • High manual effort when creating content
  • Unnecessary duplicates and data silos
  • Inconsistent and outdated data formats
  • Large amounts of unused data

Dealing with MDM is therefore a crucial part of your digitalisation roadmap, as it precisely addresses these pain points. It combines your data sets from different systems in one central location.

This can include your online shop, your content management system (CMS), your customer relationship management (CRM) tool and your business intelligence (BI) solution. MDM software can substantially facilitate the exchange of data between these systems.

This smooth flow of data enables new and efficient analytics options, which in turn help you develop innovative business models and accelerate your time to market. This gives you a clear competitive advantage.

Benefits of an MDM System

The implementation of an MDM system can be a gamechanger for your company and offer you a number of benefits:

Single Source of Truth: This means that there’s one, and only one, storage location for all your company’s master data. From this data source, you can manage and maintain all the information from various domains and distribute it in a targeted manner.

Improved Data Quality: Cleansed data is meaningful data – and with an MDM system, you can also optimise the exchange of data between your employees from different departments. This, in turn, saves everyone time, which they can use for other strategic tasks.

Successful Risk Management: An MDM solution is very easy to integrate into your (complex) system landscape. With its free object model, you can respond flexibly to system changes and protect your data from upheavals.

Not only does an MDM system offer you flexibility for internal restructuring, but it also enables you to respond to current regulations such as the Supply Chain Act thanks to a clear data pool. This means that your company can act quickly in critical situations.

Avoidance of Duplicates: No more data silos and the associated additional manual effort. In some cases, this affects millions of products and data sets from different systems. Further down the line, you save personnel resources and development costs that can be used elsewhere.

Innovative Analytics Capabilities: These can lead to new insights and out-of-the-box ideas. By feeding your BI solution with valid data from the MDM system, you can, for example, identify your customers’ current weak points and forecast future trends.

Next-Level Content: In the future, you can integrate an MDM system into a product experience platform (PXP). This will allow you to tailor your content even more specifically to your target audience and drive forward the efficient provision of data through automation. A more attractive customer journey will also give you a competitive advantage in the long term.

According to a study conducted by ECC KÖLN, 27 per cent of customers already pay less attention to the price if product information is presented in an appealing and up-to-date manner.

Optimised Internal Processes: Happy employees are just as important as satisfied customers. Your employees want to be able to carry out their tasks in an agile and uncomplicated way. Above all, this applies when working with data. Data sets can be clearly organised in an MDM system and made available in user-friendly dashboards. This allows your teams to access data from other systems quickly and easily, even across different departments.

Success Through Data Integration

As digitalisation progresses, you accumulate data – in large quantities. However, this does not immediately create added value for your company. Without an overview, your data will seep away into isolated data silos or systems.

A common example in many companies is the inadequate linking of product information management (PIM) systems and CRM tools. While product data is automatically maintained in the PIM system and forwarded to the online shop, manual post-processing for advertising campaigns takes place in the CRM tool.

The problem with this is that your employees manage all products in the PIM system equally, although prioritisation would be possible using CRM data. Imagine if this problem also existed in a group with several subsidiaries and branches, with each of them operating different PIM, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and CRM systems. The result: individual teams would work without knowing what one another is doing.

As you can see, a lot of potential is lost here in terms of data usage. The maintenance work could be highly automated – provided the solutions were better integrated or an MDM system was used.

MDM software can bring order to this chaos and create synergies between the different solutions. This way, you can automate certain work processes and accelerate the time to market of your products.

This also benefits your customers, as it provides them with up-to-date information and comprehensive services for products they have purchased or are interested in. You can also improve your customer support processes, as your corporate data is updated consistently and in real time using the MDM system.

The implementation of an MDM solution is therefore not just a technological advance for you, but also a strategic decision that paves the way for your data-driven success.

Best Practice: Ottobock Cleans up and Celebrates International Success

As described above, centralised master data is crucial for success in digital business. In this regard, the company Ottobock leads by example. The global market leader in the field of prosthetics and orthotics was faced with major challenges due to the increasing number of enquiries and advancing internationalisation in over 60 (!) countries:

  • Does the available data and its structure meet international requirements?
  • Are the company’s guidelines and quality standards easily accessible?
  • How well do new employees find their way around during the onboarding process?
  • Does the workflow still function when tasks are delegated?
  • Who checks whether there’s any incorrect data?

Questions upon questions, but Ottobock managed to find a solution: an MDM system from Stibo Systems, implemented by dotSource.

The implementation of the MDM system brought the following benefits:

  • Structured master data that can be changed, revised, released and distributed centrally
  • A central source of information that other systems, such as content management solutions, draw their data from
  • A greatly reduced error rate in data management

At Ottobock, the MDM system ensures that product data can be modified for each market. Role management allows for focused access to relevant information. Automated checks of product attributes enable successful international business.

The implementation of the MDM system for Ottobock took place step by step according to the »driving school model«. This meant that employees were able to learn how to use the tool and work with it right away, which promoted its acceptance and usage within the company.

How Can I Successfully Implement an MDM Project?

You know that MDM is important – check. You want to implement MDM into your system landscape – check. You want to master this process successfully – almost check. Almost, because many factors play an important role here. Beginning with close collaboration between your company and the MDM experts, you should pay particular attention to the following aspects:

The Right Mix in the Project Team: Focus on far-reaching experience, innovation and diversity, not just on expertise in a specific area or representation of a specific target audience.

Agile Solution Concepts: Constantly optimise processes and the methodological structure of the project – from the initial requirements to completion.

Suitable MDM Software: Decide carefully which system best meets your individual requirements. Design thinking workshops are a tool that can help you with this.

Involvement of All Stakeholders: Involving everyone right from the start can help you identify pain points and goals. Real change management can only work if all key stakeholders, such as customers and employees, are involved.

MDM Done Right – Download the Success Story Now!

Ottobock MDM SuSyDo you want to know more about how Ottobock implemented an MDM system in record time and successfully positioned itself for the future? All the information on the selection and implementation process as well as the resulting advantages can be found in the »Stibo’s MDM System for Ottobock: Modern Master Data Management for the Global Market Leader in Prosthetics« success story. To learn how your company can achieve the same thing, download the success story for free now!

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