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Master Data Management Tools — 5 Critical Implementation Drivers

For a long time, Master Data Management had the image of the most boring topic in the entire world. Thankfully, it seems like this has started to change. Both Master Data Management in general and Master Data Management Tools are becoming increasingly essential for companies!

Master Data Management Tools — Let’s Have A Look At The Numbers First

So, let’s start with some numbers first. The chart below shows the frequency “master data management” is searched on Google. And you don’t have to be a data guru to recognize the continuously growing interest in this topic.

mds trend

Master Data Management (And Related Tools) Aren’t A New Approach But Still Underrated!

Undoubtedly, master data management isn’t a brand-new approach. However, master data management tools are still very often considered as some niche software. Moreover, the benefits such tools hold are widely underrated.

I firmly believe that master data management holds considerable potential for companies of any size and industry. Want some ideas:

  • Possibilities to improve process efficiency
  • Reduction of system implementation efforts,
  • Elimination of manual and time-consuming tasks
  • Improved decision-making processes
  • And so much more!

In case you want to find out more about how master data management can help your company, you should check out one of our latest blog posts, where I introduced the 7 main benefits master data management brings to the table.

With this blog post, I want to go one step further and shed some light on the 5 critical drivers of selecting a master data management tool and implementing it. So let’s get down to business.

Master Data Management Tools — 5 Critical Implementation Drivers

#1 – It’s a business project – not an IT

Let us directly start with the most important point: Implementing a Master Data Management System is a business topic. You need your business department as a driver and sponsor. They have to understand the concept. They have to understand the benefits.

Yes, it’s called Master Data Management SYSTEM. And I am totally aware that a system implies IT. However, the IT part is just a tiny part of Master Data Management. Master Data Management contains so much more than just the system.

Subsequently, without strong business departments and a project champion from the business (side), your master data project will definitely fail. And fail in this context means you probably implement an MDS, but most likely, no one will use it.

#2 – Chose a content-pre-packed master data management tool

I can see the question mark above your head. Content-pre-packed? What the heck is this about. I’ll explain it in a second. But let’s quickly start with the basics. I’m pretty sure that we can agree on the fact that master data management is highly dependent on available data. Actually, this is quite obvious.

The calculation is straightforward: Every additional piece of master data increases the relevance of your master data management tool — and the corresponding process.

Now, here’s the vital aspect: Usually, master data can be clustered into internal and public available data. However, the surprising aspect for many companies is that (very often) publicly available data accounts for a considerable portion of master data. Just think about country data, languages, or timezones. And these are just the super-obvious examples.

Accordingly, the master data management tool of your choice should already contain this information. Moreover, the master data management tool provider should offer continuous maintenance of this data.

That brings two significant advantages: First, you can reduce the workload for your staff since you don’t have to maintain public master data. Second, your staff can concentrate on adding and managing your specific master data.

#3 — Choose a master data management tool that contains a data structure tailored to your business

Selecting a generic master data system that brings to the table only functionality but no data structure leads —from my experience— to complexity and tremendous efforts on your side.

Without a ready-to-use structure, you literally have to start from scratch and define:

  • Which master data to include in the tool?
  • What are the relevant attributes of each master data entity?
  • How are attributes linked with each other?
  • And on, and on, and on!

Believe me, this is an extensive and complex task.

My advice is to go for a master data management tool that already provides a ready-to-use data structure. That means all possible entities are already configured. Moreover, for each item, the set of possible attributes is available.

Accordingly, you can concentrate on filling the structure with life instead of wasting time defining data models. Subsequently, this will massively ease the implementation process and focus on the important aspect: Your master data.

#4 — Choose cloud-based master data management tools – instead of implementing a system

Probably the most important advice I can give. I’ve worked in this area for several years and have equipped companies of all sizes with master data management tools. I strongly advise against implementing on-premise tools. Especially in case you are running a small- or mid-sized business.

On-Premise leads to complex projects and higher costs!

Going for an on-premise solution is always linked to carrying out a rather complex IT project. Additionally, this —most often— is related to higher costs and reduced flexibility.

Since master data management only partially is about an IT system, you should concentrate your efforts on building the required processes, collecting the data, setting up governance structures, etc. In addition, many providers offer the possibility to subscribe to cloud-based content services.

What does that mean? Instead of buying a system, you select the data entities you want to use and subscribe on a monthly/annual basis. Besides a positive financial impact, this approach holds two massive advantages:

  1. You can individually select the data entities you want to use and don’t have to go for a complete tool.
  2. You can step-by-step bring master data management to life — without risk. Based on the flexible structure, you can start with reduced data and continuously add more entities.

#5 — Choose a master data management tool that provides access to every employee

Master data management is not solely about providing master data to your different systems. On the contrary, it is about supporting each of your business processes with master data — whenever it is needed. Therefore, you should go for a master data management tool that lets access everybody at your airline the contained data.

I prefer master data management tools that offer mobile access. This really helps everybody —back office, operations staff, production, etc.— to access data. Here are some examples of how such a mobile master data solution can look:

mobile master data system
master data system app
master data system airline

What Dou You Think?

Always happy to receive your feedback, thoughts, and input. Let me know about your experience with master data management tools. Simply leave a comment, hit me up on Twitter, or get in touch on LinkedIn.

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Benjamin Walther

CEO, Frankfurt

Benjamin is Information Design's CEO and a proven content-maniac. Besides running a successful business and developing pioneering ideas, he's dedicated to writing blog posts and creating content.

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