When companies implement MDM, they’re often surprised that certain data issues persist. Chances are, it’s not a technology problem, but an opportunity to improve your data governance.

These challenges typically manifest as business pain points. Do you have duplicate data? Do customers complain that they can’t find your products? Are you spending too much time resolving issues via email? If so, a lack of data governance may be to blame.

Establishing a data governance strategy is a necessary step in MDM, but unfortunately, it’s often skipped. Let’s look at the implications for including (or omitting) data governance within your MDM implementation.

Keep pace with customer expectations for product details

In recent years, customers turned to product descriptions to convince them to make the purchase. And while romance copy still has its place, most customers — particularly online — know precisely what they want. They are well-researched and simply want to confirm your product specs before making a buying decision. Without data governance to ensure correct attributes, you may miss the mark.

When your data is standardized, consistent, and accurate, you make it easy for customers to purchase. Data governance helps you deliver accurate and consistent product attributes, no matter the channel.

Avoid costly internal mishaps

MDM is only as valuable as the data you feed into it. That’s why, without data governance, you may run into operational and internal issues that slow you down and create costly problems.

For example, say a company is running low on a stock item, and four departments order it under different item names — you could end up with 4x the amount you need. Without common terminology, companies face significant expense in either holding excess inventory or returning the stock. That’s just one example of how a lack of standardization wastes time and money.

With data governance in place, you standardize the terminology around product attributes — including names, categories, SKUs, quantities, colors, dimensions, etc. — so every group in the organization is on the same page. By establishing rules and processes to standardize data, you can eliminate duplicate data, reduce errors, and ensure your customers receive the right item.

Speed up your time to market

When your data is standardized, your suppliers, distributors, internal team, and retail locations all speak the same language (in terms of product terminology), which speeds up production, distribution, marketing, and logistics.

Here’s a great example of this in action: Most MDM platforms can create rules to transform data as it’s sent to specific channels, while still retaining your golden record in the backend. This can apply to color naming. You could keep your record as ‘navy’ while syndicating ‘nautical’ or ‘dark blue’ per a retailer’s standards. This allows you to quickly launch products and syndicate channel-ready content fast.

Mitigate risk around compliance

Many times, compliance failures stem from incorrect or omitted data in a product record. For example, do you need to identify your item as Prop 65 compliant? Or need to meet the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS)?

As companies establish data governance procedures, it’s easier to stay compliant with government or industry regulations. Whether you need to clearly mark your products as compliant with a certain standard (so retailers will accept them) or need to avoid mislabeling non-compliant products, a data governance program helps put the right checkpoints in place.

Protect the integrity of your data

Data governance helps you protect the integrity and quality of your data by controlling who can access (and alter) the information in your MDM platform. Within a framework of data governance, you establish rules to define data ownership. Team members can have varying levels of access to specific data records, including the ability to read, modify, or create new records. By defining data roles and responsibilities, you ensure that unauthorized users can’t negatively affect data quality.

Data governance is crucial — but where do you start?

Nearly every modern MDM product has the capability to support your data governance and data quality goals. What’s missing is typically the people and the processes that complement the technology to make data governance work for you.

As a quick recap, data governance can help you:

  • Consistently provide the product details customers expect
  • Avoid costly internal mistakes
  • Get to market fast with channel-specific product information
  • Keep your company compliant with regulations
  • Protect the integrity of your data
  • Establish who can alter your data

So, where do you start? We recommend a data governance assessment, like we did for Jackson Family Wines. Through an engagement, our consultants analyze the current state of your data, find ways we can build upon what’s working, and make recommendations to solve your most painful data challenges.

Interested in finding out how to best execute data governance in your business? You can download our data governance eBook or contact us for a data governance assessment.