Why do we need MDM? After all, we’ve got a great ERP. This is one of the most common questions asked at the beginning of an MDM project. The answer typically lies within the depths of your biggest business problems.
In this article, we’ll break down the most common MDM use cases, and provide guidance on how to best apply the technology with a targeted approach.
Taming the Beast
To understand the most popular use cases, it helps to look back at the history of MDM. Don’t worry – we promise to make this brief.
In the era of paper trails and manual processes, enterprises rushed to go digital. Big Enterprise Resource Plans (ERPs) were the answer, handling a multitude of jobs. Then, companies realized that one tool was never going to be enough to fit all use cases. So, they started to customize.
Multiple tools were created, but the unfortunate result was more fragmentation. They created a monster – and that monster was bad data. Variations in naming, coding, numbering – each piece of data took on a different form depending on the tool, and none of it was unified.
The workaround was something called master data management, or MDM. It captured the idea that you could have one tool at the center of the enterprise, powering all the other tools with trusted, consistent data. MDM was the play companies needed to tame the beast – reuniting disparate tools with one single source of truth.
To this day, unified data – across systems, tools, roles, geographies, subsidiaries, etc. – continues to be a game changer for companies that employ MDM.
Putting Data to Work
The interesting thing about bad data is that it’s often disguised as a faulty process. Was your company fined for a missed regulation? Did the product go live too late? Why was the inventory sent to the wrong store? Chances are, there’s bad data in the mix.
When poor data quality is the common denominator – and it usually is – then you can begin to build a case around correcting it. That’s why business process automation joins data integrity on the list of the biggest MDM use cases. Forrester Research provided early insight into this phenomenon, saying:
“High-quality and trustworthy data sitting in some repository somewhere does not in fact increase revenue, reduce risk, improve operational efficiencies, or strategically differentiate any organization from its competitors. It’s only when this trusted data can be delivered and consumed within the most critical business processes and decisions that run your business that these business outcomes can become reality.”
In short, process automation is where the rubber meets the road – bringing the value of high-quality data to life within and across the enterprise.
Achieving data quality and governance requires a combination of technology, process, and people. As such, empowering users and employees has emerged as another leading use case for MDM.
Turnover is a major issue for many companies when it comes to data. If data is hand-keyed or stored in spreadsheets, sharing or enriching the data is cumbersome and, in some cases, impossible when employees switch roles or leave the company.
One Amplifi client, a big box store, experienced this challenge in their intern program. Every summer, they onboarded dozens of new interns for data entry, wasting resources on constant retraining. Once they were able to replace spreadsheets for a user-friendly MDM interface, the process was significantly streamlined and data quality also improved.
When it comes to technology, the tool is only as good as the person who uses it. Thankfully, many modern MDM platforms are designed specifically with user adoption in mind. User-friendly UIs and intuitive dashboards accommodate employees with limited training and basic technical skills.
Empowering employees also has a great after-effect. When users see how MDM makes their lives easier, they are likely to champion the platform and get others on board. These ‘MDM advocates’ are also great at engineering new use cases for the platform, adding value to the implementation over time.
Identifying the Right Use Case for Your Business
While data integrity, business process automation, and employee enablement top the MDM wish list, companies also have more nuanced goals, such as:
- Meeting nutritional regulations,
- Ensuring customer data privacy for GDPR,
- Localizing options/pricing for menu management,
- Expanding e-commerce,
- Implementing endless aisle,
- Improving vendor collaboration,
- and the list goes on.
Though the possibilities reach far and wide, we advise companies to start small. A targeted launch helps ensure a fast ROI while avoiding the risk of a failed implementation from trying to tackle too much at once.
So, if you’re starting small, how can you make sure you are also starting smart – i.e., picking the right use case? That’s where the right expertise can make a huge difference.
With deep experience rooted in organizational enablement, Amplifi collaborates with clients to ensure their MDM platform is purpose-built for their current requirements, as well as aligned with their vision for the future. Then, leveraging our proven “crawl, walk, run” methodology, we guide clients through a process that starts small, builds off steady success, and gets you ready to run. What do you want to accomplish with MDM or PIM? Talk to us – we’re here to help!