In the world of master data management, silos are a tremendous challenge.
When enterprises try to process information from disparate systems, they too often use sub-optimal applications and initiatives laden with errors and misinformation, not to mention blown timelines and budgets. But master data management (MDM) is actually more than just the breaking down of data silos. It’s about efficiency and service, innovation and security, clarity and perspective. It’s about getting the most of your most valuable resource: your data.
Here are the five things you need to know about MDM:
For existing enterprises, one of the largest hurdles to developing an MDM system is the multiplicity of databases and applications usually involved. What’s more, Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management systems rely on structured data, whereas the proliferation of IoT devices has created exponential growth in unstructured data.
Take the example of Enel, which is one of the largest power utilities in Europe. Enel was struggling to provide analytics and reporting across all of its power generation plants and equipment. They see data flowing in from multiple systems, including IoT devices on power generation equipment, plant maintenance systems, scheduling applications, and other sources. Each of these data sources has its own data types. Enel was exporting data to csv files and manually aligning the data to generate reports and analytics.
Other companies in similar scenarios might invest in expensive integration bus systems to support a polyglot persistent environment.
Enel found a solution in a native multi-model database. This allowed them to bring all data into a single database. This means no more worrying about different data types or keeping the different systems in sync. The result was real-time data analysis across all sites and multiple data systems. No more month-long manual processes to manually generate reports.
All companies are now digital enterprises. Since all systems rely on data, MDM is a discipline in which all organizations need to remain competitive. Master data powers everything from financial reporting to real estate transactions to fraud protection. The ultimate results are faster and better decisions, improved customer satisfaction, enhanced operational efficiency, and a better bottom line.
Most people who’ve heard of MDM immediately link it to one of its primary objectives: the elimination of redundant data. Yes—having a central repository of data will eliminate data redundancies, as long as it’s done correctly. But the benefits of MDM extend beyond redundancy elimination. Namely: data consistency, data flexibility, data usability, and data security (from role-based access).
Mergers and acquisitions can be rough on data consistency. Reconciling several master data systems brings headaches from different data system taxonomy and structures. This usually results in two systems remaining separate and linked only through a special reconciliation process.
As more acquisitions and mergers occur, the problem compiles into a labyrinth of siloed systems and data. This brings you back the problem that spurned you to invest in MDM in the first place.
The answer lies in the database management system and vendor you choose for your master data MDM system. Make sure to choose a vendor that offers a flexible, multi-model database that allows you to easily develop a single data taxonomy.
The most powerful and effective MDM systems run on databases that fit the business model in question.
As an example, Xima Software uses networks that are like graphs. As such, for a telco, an MDM system via a multi-model graph database is the most effective MDM strategy because the database allows for easy visualization of the network since it uses the same graph model.
If there were a fifth thing you needed to know about MDM, it’s that it’s rapidly evolving to meet the needs of today’s enterprises and their customers. Retailers are using it to improve time-to-market and address their customers’ growing expectations to deliver a true omnichannel experience. The consumer packaged goods industry is using it to ensure the accuracy of nutritional information and comply with local disclosure regulations. And every industry is using it to break down data silos.
Gerard (Jerry) Grassi, P.E.
Senior Vice President – OrientDB