Taking Cloud Master Data Management from Vision to Value
“If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.”
That phrase has applications in many areas of life, not least when preparing fledgling businesses for the marketplace. Whatever the product or service, entrepreneurs (or businesses going through major changes) must have clarity of vision as to what it is they want to do. Whether it’s selling high-end medical equipment to hospitals or creating new exotic financial instruments, it’s necessary to know what the business is aiming for and how it intends to get there because without a clear business vision the venture will probably fail.
Most companies rely on a set of ‘master data’ sources that together include information about accounts, customers, products, employees and other key operational information. Master Data is often stored in different systems across an organisation meaning the chances of duplicating data and inaccuracies occurring are great.
In fact it’s inevitable that your Salesforce CRM reports will one day suffer from data fragmentation, data inconsistency or poor data caused by human error (which in turn causes duplicated data and wrong information).
In the tech-savvy 21st century marketplace almost all the old marketing rules are out of the window. To make money a business needs to be highly knowledgeable, focussed and personal to the consumer. Each of these three elements is fundamentally underpinned by good data; without it your business risks being consigned to history.
If your company uses saleforce.com it’s almost a certainty that good Master Data Management (MDM) should be an essential foundation to your business. MDM is the DNA of business. Every sales transaction, every customer interaction and every business process depends on data quality and Salesforce integration to get data where and when you need it.
Your business vision (whatever product or service you wish to produce) answers the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of your company’s existence but it’s often a data strategy that answers the ‘how’.
The Data Plan
More than 83% of organizations have suffered problems due to poor master data.* Are you part of this statistic too?
Having duplicate sets of data sitting in different silos across the business controlled by no central authority leads to different messages and different customer views. Clearly this is not an approach any company would set out to achieve. So setting on the road to creating a data plan quickly leads to an MDM approach.
Whether it’s the sales, customer service or marketing teams, a ‘total’ customer view is necessary in order to make the best business decision or take the smartest action.
MDM is a technique, not a tool!
MDM is a strategic approach for providing consistency and control to data as well as ensuring it’s available wherever it is required. MDM is effectively a combination of processes, tools, best practices and technology working together to ensure that maximum value can be realised from a company’s data. The other, equally important part of MDM is data governance, which addresses the business processes that are creating the inconsistent definitions.
In many applications, especially CRM and ERP systems, master data is created and stored as a matter of course. Using Salesforce.com and its CRM data as the place to consolidate all the available information creates a powerful answer to the issues of different data sets being spread far and wide.
Having determined a MDM approach is the best plan, what are the benefits to your business for going down this route? It’s essential that your business has a clear vision of the MDM plan before going ahead with writing a business case and implementing an MDM solution.
MDM helps drive growth, increases business agility, ensures compliance and helps track spending. Through using good data targeted offers will increase growth, by having all customer data available in a matter of clicks the business can increase its agility and ensure compliance criteria are met and spend will never sky rocket out of control.
For clarity, MDM means managing data across the entire enterprise, rather than maintaining the data in several transactional systems. Implementing MDM in a business is often misperceived as an IT-related project, but it’s so much more than just another piece of software. MDM is cross-functional, technically complex, process-orientated approach affecting information about products, vendors, customers and much, much more. MDM requires acceptance and organisational support. This is why it’s so essential to make a data plan to ensure everyone and everything in your business is considered and involved.
With the plethora of apps available on AppExchange it’s important to consider your data needs to see what your business really needs to fit its salesforce.com data strategy. It can be easy to fall into the trap of one app for one problem, but that would be missing the MDM view. Your whole organisation can benefit from improving your entire data processes.
The Data Scout Solution
Data Scout’s Cloud MDM solution gives you all the tools you need to ensure Salesforce.com has the most accurate and complete view of your customer data, helping you deliver CRM success to your business faster and with less risk. Data Scout:
Eliminates duplicate data automatically
Cleanses, standardises and consolidates your data
Creates a single trusted view of your customers
Integrates important data from all of your systems
Generates accurate and complete Salesforce reports
Ultimately Data Scout is a tool that enables Master Data Management plans to truly succeed. By being accessible and useful by everyone across your business it enables every one of your employees to have up-to-date information on your customers which in turn allows even the largest, or most complicated business, to retain a personal, 21st century customer relationship.
* "Master Data Management: Consensus-Driven Data Definitions for Cross-Application Consistency," 2006, The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI)