Master data is the core data used across your enterprise, for instance: customers, vendors, items, and chart of accounts. They are non-transactional, which means they should not change over a period of time. Everyone agrees that master data is important and should be treated as such: better efficiency, improved decision-making, compliance, and security… but Master Data Management is costly and time-consuming. The Finance and Administration department is directly involved and impacted by these hideous hidden costs! Master data is used by the entire company, so an error in the data in one place can lead to multiple errors, and your F&A department often pays the price:
- A customer’s address is not updated? Your delivery is never received, your invoice never paid…
- A Vendor card is duplicated? You suddenly spend twice as much time reconciling their statement,
- The cost centers are not well defined? You should develop Excel workarounds to get this nice report requested by the CFO…
So, what can you do?
What data is relevant? Too much information could lead to errors, heavy maintenance, and a huge waste of time for teams. Even if your ERP offers 20 different analytical dimensions, try to always simplify: what data is critical to your operations? Communication with Marketing, Purchasing, and Supply Chain teams is essential to define relevant information.
You may have various sources using the same data, think about how to harmonize them. It could be in the development of an interface or the investment in a data management tool.
Think of data as living information. You can do a big cleanup from time to time, but we suggest ongoing maintenance: create a Master Data Management (MDM) system: policies, roles definitions, process mapping, training, data security and compliance assessments.
Master data management is evolving fast. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) will enable organizations to automate data governance, manage the data more effectively and improve quality for better decision-making.