MDM stands for Master Data Management. Master Data refers to non-transactional data that is referred to by transaction entries to interpret them properly. For instance, a customerís name, address, etc. are stored in a master data entry in the database of an application. Each transaction of the customer is stored with a reference to this master data record so that all details of the customer are available within the transaction without physically storing all of it with the transaction itself.

This is a great way to ensure that everyone in the organisation will refer to the same customer in the same manner; use the same name, address, phone number, etc. Unfortunately, in most organisations, there are multiple applications in use, each with its own Master Data. This gives rise to multiple entries for the same customer within the same organisation, but in different application / databases.

Much confusion is caused due this issue. One example is the case of a bank that undertakes a marketing campaign using a leads database and ends up trying to market a product to a person who has already bought the product from the bank. A typical case is when a bank tries to approach all the members of a country club, offering them business loans, when in reality, some of them would have already availed loans from the same bank.

Such confusion can be avoided by implementing an MDM project within the organisation.

Recently, views of master data management have rapidly evolved from data-centric confusion to focus on the users of master data and the business processes that refer to it. In the coming years, organisations that implement MDM will have a clear advantage.

Often, the process commences with an attempt to define what master data looks like instead of analysing the applications and processes that refer to master data to determine what data are need. As a result, MDM deployments are designed for one project instead of a true MDM deployment that satisfies all the applications used in the organisation.

There are five principles that drive MDM technology evaluation, development, adoption and success. These principles help in understanding how to quantify success, track ROI and business impacts. If these principles are incorporated when implementing MDM, organisations will derive benefits like increased customer satisfaction, spending only one fifth the time that organizations without MDM programs spend searching for data, etc.

1: Define the Business Requirement

At the outset, one must understand the business problems so that a plan can be developed to address them. Analyse the application or process that initially rendered data unusable. In the beginning stages, it may be possible to manually clean the data, but this will not stop such instances from repeating. Therefore, the goal is to find a cure for the problem, at the source.

For a successful MDM implementation, organisations should define who needs master data, what data is needed and when it is needed.

2: Plan in Phases and for Continuity between phases

Master Data Management is a continuous process and not a one-time activity. A successful MDM implementation must proceed in stages that identify achievable goals that generate momentum within the organisation. Connect each phase with the next in a cohesive manner so that MDM is not just a single expensive phase.

An MDM implementation must reach a balance between completing the initial phase in a reasonable time without impacting the second or third phases.

3: An MDM Governance program is required

To exploit its full potential, an MDM implementation requires controls and processes to be put in place. An information governance program provides the framework that helps MDM initiatives succeed. MDM brings together users and sources of data. An information governance program creates an agreement on the rules of interaction between people, processes and systems. Governance also provides context and makes sure MDM is not looked upon as an IT project, but also unites users to explore business rules for data usage. By enforcing data standards and making governance policies substantial, MDM makes governance relevant and oversees the MDM implementation.

4: Management is very Important

MDM is an ongoing activity. It is an IT deliverable that incorporates other disciplines to achieve enterprise-wide record of data for core business activities. It is the foundation on which to develop, maintain and monitor information governance. It is this collaboration and coordination of various processes, people and technology that requires management.

MDM is a discipline that provides a consistent understanding of master data entities and designed to accommodate, control and manage changes in master data assets. Data will always change. The quality of data also changes. What remain constant is that the data always contains a single version of the information.

5: Partner With an IT Vendor Who Has Significant MDM and Information Governance Experience

It is essential that an MDM program is implemented in partnership with a vendor who possesses relevant industry experience. It is not just about implementing the technology, but organizing a multi-step MDM implementation process. Every industry has its idiosyncrasies and it is important that the solution is tailored to the needs of the organisation, specifically, to the industry that it is in.

A good IT partner will help manage the risk inherent in bringing in new projects. Finally, a successful partnership between an organization and IT vendor will help bring the people and processes and technology together. You will gain access to best practices on information governance.


A single trusted view of information provides the clear insight and transparency that organizations need to have effective business processes and interactions with customers and partners. Particularly at a time when social media and new information platforms are becoming pervasive, organizations now have access to new resources offering rich customer insights.

iCAST MDM suite provides the capability to integrate master data from diverse sources through its federation services into its DW. This ensures phase one data clean-up. iCAST ETL will ensure compliance with the MDM governance program on a continuing basis. iCAST can access OLTP databases online to ensure that transaction speed is not affected because of MSD governance. iCAST can also write back to the OLTP database if required to comply with the MDM governance program.