According to The DAMA Guide to the Data Management Body of Knowledge, master data represents "data about the business entities that provide context for business transactions."
Gartner defines master data as "the consistent and uniform set of identifiers and extended attributes that describes the core entities of the enterprise including customers, prospects, citizens, suppliers, sites, hierarchies and chart of accounts."
Next generation Master Data Management (MDM), ensures that master data is updated and available in real-time across multiple systems in the business.
Elements of master data change frequently with the proliferation of information from various data sources and to get the true benefit of your data, you need master data management. It helps build a trusted master data foundation by creating a single source of truth in real-time diverse sources and feeding it across various downstream applications.
Unified, trusted, and real-time master data drives operational performance and positive business outcomes. And with the benefits of master data management, your business outcomes will be even more favorable.
- People: Customers, prospects, employees, members, healthcare providers, vendors, supplier data, and other parties important to your business.
- Product: Product master data includes finished goods, assets, parts, and materials. Assets can be tangible such as equipment, buildings, devices, and intangible such as patents, trademarks, contracts, and other product data.
- Places: Locations of stores, warehouses, factories, delivery points, or other sites.
- Financial and Organizational Master Data: Business units, profit centers, organizational structure, financial regulations, and other related information used in reporting and modeling.
- Reference Data: Slow-moving subset of master data used to classify other data. Reference data has a set of permissible values to be used by other data fields, such as country codes, SIC codes, currencies, measurement units, or financial hierarchies. See Reference Data Management for more information.
A golden record is a single, well-defined, most accurate, most comprehensive, and complete version of all the data entities in an organizational ecosystem.
When managed in a Master Data Management (MDM) technology system, master data is often referred to as a "golden record."
Single source of truth is a concept applied to information management to ensure that all enterprise users access and use the same data to power business decisions.
Master data is also known as the single source of truth for enterprise data. An effective MDM provides a single source of truth to drive efficient business operations and accurate analytics.
Reltio Connected Data Platform, our next-generation cloud master data management platform, delivers a single source of truth for data by continuously, unifying data from a range of internal, external, and third-party sources, references, transactions, and interactions in real-time.
All the members of all the teams in an organization use master data for their tasks.
Defining master data is the first step to following any master data management best practices, says Gartner. “It is the responsibility of CIOs or CDOs to clearly define what master data is and which parts of it will be most impactful to the business,” says Mr. Moran, the research director at Gartner.
IT and data stewards manage master data and configure the MDM system according to master data management trends. Meanwhile, business users or managers use master data for reporting and driving decisions. On the other hand, business analysts and data scientists use master data in analytics to deliver recommendations, forecasts, and assist in creating a master data management strategy.
|Chief Information Officer or Chief Data Officer||Define master data.|
|Data Steward||Discover, clean, maintain, and manage master data for day-to-day use.|
|Data Governor||Define, implement, and manage policies for master data management and master data governance.|
|IT / Technical Team member||Configure, administer, and customize master data management system.|
|Compliance Manager||Use master data to drive regulatory compliance activities.|
|Data Quality officer||Use master data to drive enterprise data quality, and discover opportunism to improve master data quality.|
|Business Users from Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR, and other teams||Use master data in operations and transactions to drive business objectives. Review master data to find opportunities to improve data quality.|
|Data Analyst / Business Analyst||Use master data with historical, reporting data, and any other critical data to understand the business needs and discover improvement opportunities.|
|Data Scientist||Use master data to deliver recommendations for optimized business decisions.|
Transactional data is the information directly captured from transactions. It relates to an internal or external event and can be any business process, including financial or logistical processing. Transactional data is derived from transactions, while master data provides context to transactions.
Transactional data has a time dimension and may lose its relevance over time. Master data, on the other hand, has no time dimension and changes less often.
|Master data||Transactional data|
|Data about the business entities||Data captured in transactions|
|Uniquely identifies each business entity||Uniquely identifies each transaction|
|Describes entities||Describes events|
|Provides context to transactions||Derived from transactions|
|Does not change over transactions||Different for each transaction|
|Can be the result of a transaction, such as when a customer initiates a change of address||Is always a result of a transaction|
|Provides context to reporting and analytics||Used in reporting and analytics|
|Maintaining consistency is a challenge||Managing volume efficiently is a challengeUse master data with historical and reporting data to understand the business needs and discover improvement opportunities.|
Master data is essential for successful transactions. For trusted reporting and analytics, both master data and transactional data must be of high quality.
Gartner defines metadata as the information that describes various facets of an information asset to improve its usability throughout its life cycle. Metadata converts data into an information asset by providing an understanding of data.
Metadata describes the what, when, and why of data to use it effectively. Master data describes the business entities to use them effectively in transactions and operations.
|Data about the business entities||Data about information assets|
|Shared standard definitions of business data||Shared standard definitions of information assets|
|Types include people, products, places, financial and organizational data, and reference data||Types include business metadata, technical metadata, and operational metadata|
|Provides context to transactions||Provides context to data|
|Drives operational consistency||Unlocks the value of data|
Both master data and metadata ensure operational consistency across the enterprise, driving data quality and governance. Collaboration between business users and IT optimizes the value delivered by both master data and metadata.
Master Data Management (MDM) is closely associated with metadata management, and organizational data strategy often considers both together.
So, how do you determine what is master data vs. reference data? Reference data is the non-volatile slow-moving subset of master data used to classify other data. Examples of reference data include product codes, measurement units, and tax rates.
The internal reference data, such as product codes, is defined by the organization and shared with partners, vendors, and customers to ensure consistent use. The external reference data, such as tax rates, is defined by the country or industry-specific bodies.
|Master data||Reference Data|
|Data about the business entities||A subset of master data used to classify other data|
|Shared standard definitions of business data||Shared standard values of specific fields|
|Types include people, products, places, financial and organizational data, and reference data||Types include internal and external reference data|
|Can change when business entities change, get added, or removed|| Can change when business entities change, get added, or removed |
Changes only when categories update due to transformation in the business model or the industry standards
|Changes in master data are managed by the existing business processes||Changes in reference data values may need associated changes in business processes|
Both provide context to transactions and drive data quality. Organizations typically manage master and reference data together to deliver operational efficiency.