Giant steps in Master Data Management

SAS consultants help a public body significantly improve the quality of its master data and accuracy of its budget and financial reporting.

Master Data Management (MDM) is a relatively young IT discipline. It focuses on the upstream quality control of the data most critical for the smooth running of an organization. A Brussels-based public service had been interested in implementing such a solution for a number of years. Following a preparatory phase to explore the market and potential of MDM, it decided to invest in and roll out the SAS Master Data Management tool. In the process they set four specific objectives. Fast forward one year and three of those four objectives have already been achieved.In the case of the public body in question, “master” data refers to reference information on contracts, orders and governance rules. The specific intent of the MDM solution was to markedly improve data quality and ultimately optimize the mechanisms used to allocate public funds.

The support of local SAS consultants was key for delivering quick results

Four business needs in the cross-hairs

An IT manager was given free rein to investigate MDM options. After taking part in various international conferences and setting up both a data management and a data quality team, he identified four priority business needs.

First, the solution had to enable rapid quality control of reference data; in this particular case, statistical, geographic and accounting codes.

Second, the technical and operating rules governing contracts had to be documented as effectively as possible. This required a universally accessible tool along with the creation of a glossary that could be understood by everyone. The documentation method had to facilitate the impact analysis of different development aid programs based on more effective structuring of financial and accounting information.

Third, the solution had to both facilitate data migration from a source system to a target system and enable quality control during migration to prevent subsequent quality issues in the target system.

Finally, the public body wanted to have an overview of upstream data quality via a dashboard enabling continuous monitoring. The mantra here was ‘prevention rather than cure’.

The most scalable and consistent solution

Various providers of data management solutions were contacted. The three most promising (SAS, Oracle and SoftwareAG) were then asked to provide proof of concept to identify the solution which best met the four needs set out above.

The SAS solution proved a winner, owing primarily to its comprehensive and scalable functional coverage. SAS was deemed the provider best able to gradually roll out the project step by step while maintaining an ambitious and consistent vision. It also offered the best guarantees of integration into the customer’s global IT environment, to which the provider was already connected through a framework contract. Solutions from other providers seemed more like an amalgamation of distinct micro-solutions that would be more difficult to integrate.

Clear interface

The choice wasn’t solely based on the intrinsic quality of the software. Major factors were also the skills and availability of local SAS consultants.

With the project underway slightly over one year, the customer is delighted tohave already satisfied three of the four identified business needs, specifically the first three listed above. With particular regard to documentation, the SAS solution allows any user to easily visualize interdependencies between key technical terms in graphic format.

The fourth need is currently being addressed. By late 2016, SAS consultants expect to have finalized knowledge sharing with the customer’s in-house teams so that they can independently manage the tool. The remaining challenge is to ensure through training and information sessions that this new cutting-edge tool is fully leveraged by its hundred or so potential users.

In short, the customer has already realized a significant number of benefits brought about by the MDM solution for quickly generating reliable data using a clear interface.

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More efficiency and transparency in funds allocation thanks to better master data quality; thereby enabling more precise reporting


Implementation of SAS Master Data Management to improve the master data and ultimately, the financial reporting . Support of local SAS consultants was key for delivering quick results.


  • Optimal budget allocation
  • More effective impact analysis
  • Easier access to key accounting, contractual and financial data
  • Better quality control during data migration
The results illustrated in this article are specific to the particular situations, business models, data input, and computing environments described herein. Each SAS customer’s experience is unique based on business and technical variables and all statements must be considered non-typical. Actual savings, results, and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. SAS does not guarantee or represent that every customer will achieve similar results. The only warranties for SAS products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements in the written agreement for such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Customers have shared their successes with SAS as part of an agreed-upon contractual exchange or project success summarization following a successful implementation of SAS software. Brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies.

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