How an MDM Solution can Fuel all Aspects of your Business
This is the fourth article in a quarterly blog series by Spiceworks on the value of Master Data Management for various Lines of Business, including Marketing & Sales, Supply Chain, Procurement, Operations and Finance. This article is also featured on Spiceworks and written by Brad Rudisail, IT Specialist (see bio below).
A master data management solution helps mitigate those basic pain points that consistent accurate information can alleviate for most any businesses.
Humans have been in pursuit of the truth since the earliest days of civilization. The pursuit of the truth continues today, but not for existential reasons alone. In today’s digital landscape, the establishment of a single source of truth (SSOT) has become pivotal for businesses striving for successful digital transformation. The need for a SSOT arises from the sheer need for data consistency that can be consumed as quickly as possible at great scale to feed the plethora of applications and systems that decision makers depend on for greater insights into risks and opportunities. It also ensures uniformity so that everyone in the organization references and works with the same data set, so that everyone is making data-driven decisions based on reality.
To achieve organizational success, cohesive collaboration among all stakeholders is essential. The days of fragmented workforces and disjointed data are behind us. In today’s digitally transformed landscape, businesses cannot afford to have isolated data silos inaccessible to key decision-makers. Such silos impede teamwork, obscure full-spectrum visibility, and diminish the agility needed to outpace market shifts and competitors. True innovation flourishes when data seamlessly traverses an organization, enabling rich insights that fuel creative solutions.
Pain Points that Data can Alleviate
The benefits that data can provide are elementary in nature. A master data management solution (MDM) helps mitigate those basic pain points that consistent accurate information can alleviate for most businesses. For sales and marketing, it resolves discrepancies like order details, freight allowances, and invoicing issues with retailers. Supply chain managers benefit by correcting data about product dimensions, optimizing truck usage and warehouse space. For procurement, it resolves stock-out scenarios and enhances search capabilities, preventing added costs. An MDM framework offers clarity across all business operations, facilitating informed decision-making. By eliminating data inconsistencies and offering a unified data source, MDM doesn’t just simplify – it propels digital transformation initiatives.
The Need for Data Governance
If data is going to be foundational aspect of operational strategies, the risks associated with data discrepancies can be high. That is why there cannot be any risk. You’ve heard the expression “too many hands in the cookie jar.” Scalable collaboration across your organization means that lots of people have access to your data and that creates risk. Who is inputting that data and who is modifying it? If it was modified, what was the reason for it? When you enable collaboration, you also must enable traceability that is able to document changes along the lifecycle of a data point.
In today’s cost-cutting environment, confirmed quality is not enough. Data must be governed as efficiently as possible. This means eliminating as many manual maintenance tasks as possible. It also means reducing data duplication because each duplicate translates into an additional cost. By establishing a single source of truth across your organization, employees no longer need to waste time navigating fragmented data landscapes, reconciling differences, or cross-referencing various sources. Instead, they can focus on their value creating roles.
Hence the need for data governance. Data governance refers to the management and control of data within an organization to ensure its quality, security, and optimal usage. It encompasses the policies, processes, and standards implemented to manage and utilize data effectively, securely, and in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Data governance aims to ensure that data throughout the organization is accurate, available, and secure.
Master Data Management
A Master Data Management (MDM) system is the means to establish an effective data governance for your organization. An MDM creates a centralized repository where master data is stored, guaranteeing consistency across the enterprise. It provides a holistic, consolidated view that reduces data redundancies and ensures that stakeholders are working with a single version of the truth. It achieves this by establishing a data governance framework where policies, standards, and processes are defined for master data management.
SAP Master Data Governance seamlessly integrates with SAP S/4HANA, ensuring swift value realization for master data across both SAP software and third-party applications. SAP doesn’t provide you with the SSOT, it gives you the framework and tools to create it. By harnessing its integrated staging, approval, and centralized audit trail capabilities, SAP data solutions promote compliance and transparency, underpinned by uniform definitions, permissions, and replication processes.
MDM Fuels all Aspects of Your Business
Digital transformation isn’t an IT thing. Digital transformation revolutionizes your entire business. In the same vein, MDM isn’t solely about data. A well-integrated MDM impacts every facet of your enterprise, driving operational efficiency across various business lines, all aligning towards the organization’s overarching objectives. Here are some examples of how SAP MDM can fuel your LoBs efforts:
- SAP MDM can increase sales effectiveness through better collaborative sales and promotional planning, and a consolidated customer view across all channels along with a complect transactional history of each customer.
- SAP MDM can improve supply chain efficiencies at higher volumes and expand partner collaboration across all parts of the supply chain.
- SAP MDM can improve procurement decision making by providing a transparent picture of all products and their associated suppliers along with cost savings driven by fact-based supplier selection and rationalization.
- SAP MDM can provide the system to improve your financial reporting efforts by ensuring on-time group closures and emboldening financial officers with greater confidence in their analyses, forecasts, and strategic decisions.
The Need for Data Consistency across Leadership Roles
Any decision regarding an MDM solution should incorporate all your LoB leadership roles, not just the CIO. That’s because the right MDM can solve some of the biggest challenges that your organization leadership roles must contend with:
- CFOs and their staff don’t have time for the manual updating of financial data in local financial systems. They must keep abreast of changing compliance regulations such as IFRS, SOC, etc., and they need to be able to achieve group closures on time. Most importantly they need transparency concerning any changes to financial data that answer the four questions of who, what, where and when.
- For a VP of Sales or Marketing, an MDM system can ensure consistent, accurate customer and product data across all platforms that helps drive informed decisions that lead to improved sales strategies and marketing ROI.
- Anyone leading supply chain or planning efforts can appreciate the accurate forecasting, better inventory management, and optimized vendor relationships that an MDM can deliver. It allows supply chain managers to seize upon timely discount opportunities and eliminate incremental cost factors that incrementally erode the bottom line.
- By streamlining data integration processes and eliminating data silos, MDM enhances IT efficiency, reduces complexity, and paves the way for more innovative digital initiatives. It not only helps the CIO meet compliance and data regulations, but also enables them to accelerate strategic IT transformations.
LOB Benefits of MDM
MDM’s impact on your Lines of Business (LoBs) mirrors its effect on data management. It not only eradicates duplicate data but also curbs inventory redundancy, leading to cost savings. While ensuring data integrity, it bolsters the precision of financial reports, guaranteeing timely submissions. As MDM seamlessly syncs data across platforms, it facilitates real-time updates on price shifts and product changes across various catalogs. Beyond saving time in data management, MDM shortens production cycles for catalogs and minimizes the time salesforces spend addressing invoice disputes. The overarching advantage is a streamlined system that governs information access and modifications.
Your business needs a way to create and maintain a single source of truth to provide visibility and insight into your business transactions. You also need a system of governance to ensure that the data driving your business operations throughout the organization is accurate, available, and secure. SAP is an industry leader in enterprise software solutions and digital transformation services, and it has the master data solutions that your business needs in this new era of digital transformation.
Learn more about SAP Master Data Governance at Master Data Governance | MDM Software and Solutions | SAP.
Brad Rudisail, IT Specialist at Spiceworks
Brad Rudisail is a technical writer and a former IT manager specializing in delivering today’s complex technical subjects in a palatable format to tech-savvy business leaders. Brad has spent 20 years in the IT field as a network engineer, IT manager, instructor and technical writer. His portfolio includes a long assortment of white papers, articles and learning curriculum. He is an accomplished pianist and composer as well as the author of two inspirational books.