How master data management & data governance can empower businesses

By Principal Technology Specialist at SAS

As the digital landscape evolves and expands, consumers and businesses are creating more and more data, data which varies in complexity, size and volume. All of this data can be leveraged by businesses to deliver actionable insight, but the biggest challenge for businesses is consolidating, processing and managing that data effectively.

The acquisition of data is rarely the issue - most businesses have some form of analytics in place to capture data across the various touch points - it's driving that data to a single point where all platforms come together that presents the challenge. Organisations that can overcome these barriers and achieve robust master data management and data governance can analyse data with enterprise-wide visibility, as well as gain actionable insights to guide future strategies, all whilst keeping data secure and adhering to the latest data protection laws. But what steps do they need to take to achieve this?

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Typical Barriers to Master Data Management and Data Governance

Internal data silos have long been an issue for enterprise organisations. These organisations typically have comprehensive IT infrastructures which have grown in a piecemeal fashion over the years.

Many applications implemented by these organisations are created in a virtual vacuum and engineered to support functional requirements for a specific business unit without considering if there is any operational overlap elsewhere within the organisation.

The result is that while the necessary tools and IT infrastructure to capture, monitor and analyse data from specific lines of business have been adopted - leveraging that data to drive business decisions is increasingly difficult. From a reporting and compliance perspective, there are also a number of challenges. Disparate solutions capturing, managing and processing different types of data across the enterprise presents a number of risks. These solutions may not necessarily be secure, they may not necessarily capture data accurately and, subsequently, obtaining a single version of truth across the enterprise is impossible.

In today's world of data deluge, information architecture must be consistent across the business and data must be consolidated at a central point for operational oversight. Of course, while tools provide the framework for a proper data governance programme (find out more about what data governance is here), a systematic approach to governance - one which is integrated across every data point and processing function - will ensure data quality, consistency and protection.

Data consistency and quality go hand in hand

Enterprise organisations also need to take heed of bring-you-own-device initiatives and shadow IT solutions outside of their prescribed IT infrastructure. More often than not, employees will transfer and process data using solutions that have not been approved. From a compliance perspective, this leaves critical loopholes in data management and quality as without visibility, how can you be assured the data is correct and has not been tampered with?

All of these challenges mean that  businesses have to shift from disparate solutions to start consolidating their data at a central point to achieve enterprise-wide visibility. Only when data comes together in a consistent format can it be acted on and used to drive business decisions.

Of course, the cost of such a task must also be taken into consideration – and is probably a key reason why so many enterprise organisations have yet to implement a robust system to ensure data management, quality and consistency.

The key with any new process, however, is to start small and build out as necessary. Taking a phased approach to data management at enterprise-wide scale will allow organisations to build a modest, but effective, program that can grow as needed. Over time, as key business executives buy-in to the process, it can be expanded and further reinforced to help deliver more value.

Master your data

Data is one of your greatest assets. The way you manage it – from maintaining its quality to uncovering meaning through visualisation – is a big factor in your success. To actually drive business initiatives, efficiency and ultimately business growth, data must be governed and maintained well.

The best way to achieve such an approach  is through Master Data Management. Master Data Management enables you to obtain a consistent view 
of business information. It allows you to link all of its critical data to one central location, providing a common point of reference – a single, trusted version of the truth. By employing master data management, you avoid the issues that occur when multiple conflicting sources of information arise.

Master data management is designed to support your data quality and data policy management needs and lays the foundation for good data
governance – but in pursuing such an approach, you need the right solution. You not only need a solution that enables you to start small and expand as necessary, but also one that integrates with your current system(s) and can accommodate future data volume increases.

SAS Master Data Management

SAS Master Data Management (MDM) is a fully customisable solution that gives you complete control over your data, allowing you to integrate big data sources for a broader and more complex understanding of it. You can easily sync changes between data sources to gain a more consistent view of data, ensuring that your departments are all on the same page, and With the SAS MDM solution, you have a unified view of customers, products and processes, allowing you to identify weaknesses and business opportunities. From data quality and data governance to data visualisation, the SAS MDM solution gives you the insight you need to drive business decisions.

All of this sets your organisation up for long-term success.

What are the benefits of SAS MDM?

  • Start small and build your data enterprise out as necessary
    As an expandable solution that’s designed to be agile, the SAS MDM solution removes the issue of “where do I start?” and makes it easy for you to move forward and start managing your data effectively.
  • Understand every aspect of your organisation
    Centralised management of data means that you will gain a unified view of customers, products and processes across the enterprise, helping to inform decisions.
  • Improve the customer experience and reduce costs
    As legacy data enters the system and duplicate, inaccurate or old information is identified and removed, the quality of your data will improve significantly and you will be able to revise strategies to best meet your customers’ needs.
  • Achieve high-quality and consistent data as a result of good governance
    The SAS MDM lays the foundation for good data governance, helping you to standardise, cleanse and maintain data so that it’s ready for analysis

For any enterprise organisation – or business that routinely handles different types of data – having a solution that can consolidate that data for easy management and governance is fundamental. Having a single, trusted and consistent “version of the truth” when it comes to your data will allow you to access deeper insights, make data-driven decisions, and get every single business unit on the same page.

Data governance is by no means an easy process and attempting to achieve enterprise-wide visibility of data and consistent data quality requires a phased approach, an approach where you build your data management infrastructure small and build it out incrementally.

As data continues to grow in size and complexity, its increasingly important for your organisation to be able to manage that data centrally and to ensure that its of high quality and consistent if it is to be used strategically.

All of this starts with master data management and data governance, both of which can be easily achieved through the SAS Master Data Management solution.

Data quality and consistency are at the core of the SAS MDM solution, so as you build out your data management processes, you can be confident that every process is based on data you can trust.

The SAS Master Data Management solution lays the foundation for both master data management and data governance.

We also provide our SAS Data Governance solution. Once your data is in shape – thanks to master data management – our data governance solution gives your data guidance and context, helping you to align your teams, ensure ongoing consistency of data and easy problem solving.

SAS Data Governance helps you to understand what’s happening with your data. You can set guidelines to govern its use and compilation, assign responsibility to specific members of the business for the maintenance of data, reference data from a single location, and benefit from an interactive repository of terms and definitions that make it easier for anyone in the business to identify data issues.

Find out more about the SAS Master Data Management and SAS Data Governance solutions, or download our free whitepaper on supporting your data management strategy with enterprise master data management.  

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