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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
This is the first 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).


SAP Master Data Governance (MDG) provides a centralized platform to manage and orchestrate all your customer data to make relevant customer engagement possible.

Know thy customer. It’s one of the universal truths of business. They are the ones that pay for your products and services. The more you know about your customers, the more effective your sales and marketing messaging will be. Chances are, you have a lot of data about your customers scattered across your enterprise landscape. The question is, how do you leverage it, and what do you know about its accuracy and reliability? Those are some of the questions that besiege sales and marketing management today.

Is Your Data Working for You?

According to a 2016 Forrester Report, nearly 73% of company data goes unused for analytics. That equates to lost opportunities, lost revenue, and costly inefficiencies. On top of this vast collection of siloed data comes more data on top of it. According to a study by Aberdeen Strategy and Research, 25% of companies report that their data is growing faster than their ability to manage and analyze it, while 26% report difficulty accessing data from different areas of their business. It is evident that companies need a way to get control of their data. Imagine making better use of just 20% of your untapped data. That could equate to a competitive advantage that could grow your business. Now imagine if you could harness all of it.

An Issue of Quality

You have always had to have a quality product to succeed in business. In this day of digital transformation and analytics, you need quality data to support those products. As with many things in life, quality is hard to find. These immense enterprise data volumes are saddled with high implementation and maintenance costs, redundant and inaccurate data, poor data quality and data sources. According to the mentioned Aberdeen study:

  • 11% of organizations are working with primitive data. Primitive data is static in nature, poorly managed and inadequately supported. It often contains errors and inconsistencies that can lead to inaccurate information that can negatively impact sales activities, such as lead generation and customer profiling.

  • 55% of organizations are operating with standard data environments. These are functioning environments that represent the status quo. Unfortunately, these environments lack the flexibility, scalability, and agility required to keep up with the dynamic business environments that can change rapidly. These data environments are also difficult to integrate with new technologies.

  • 34% of organizations work with high-performance data environments that are cutting-edge and built to support strategic efforts. These systems help foster more accurate insights into customer behavior, preferences and needs, thanks to real-time analytics that lead to deeper and timelier insights.

Think about it. Many customers make data-driven purchases using great amounts of disparate but accessible data, including online reviews, brand reputation, published product feature lists and price comparisons. Shouldn’t you know your customers as well as they know your products or services?

Master Data Management as a Differentiator

So, what differentiates a primitive data environment from a high-performance one? The Aberdeen Study highlighted an elite class of organizations they refer to as Best-in-Class. They represent the top 20% of companies that have learned how to master their data by ensuring that a new collected data source is automatically aggregated, processed, governed, integrated, and shared into a universal location.

The technology that makes this possible is Master Data Management (MDM). MDM is a technology-enabled discipline in which businesses and IT work together to ensure uniformity, accuracy, and accountability of an enterprise’s shared master data assets. The master data may include assets, products and services, licenses, customer data, locations of production units and offices, inventories, suppliers, and more.

Benefits of MDM

Before we talk about the details of the technology itself, let’s start with the value that MDM can bring to your marketing and sales efforts. After all, that is what’s important to your business. A primary objective of MDM is to create a “single source of truth” for your collected data that can be accessed and shared by all systems and departments within your organization. This then leads to the following benefits.

  • A consistent, consolidated customer view across all channels to improve campaign targeting and customer acquisition.

  • Improved cross-selling and upselling opportunities through a more comprehensive view of your collected customer data, enabling you to identify complementary products and services for your existing customers.

  • Ability to target your marketing more granularly through better customer segmentation based on demographics, preferences, and customer behavior.

  • The creation of a better customer experience backed by consistent and accurate customer data across all touchpoints of your customer interactive channels. This enriched personalized experience leads to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, which reduces the cost of customer retention.

  • Faster time-to-market for new products and services thanks to the accuracy, speed and agility of customer information that enables organizations to respond more quickly to changing market conditions with confidence.

Creating a 360-degree view of your customer allows you to take much of the guesswork out of your marketing efforts, leading to reduced sales and marketing costs. Those companies that rely on catalog marketing will appreciate the ability to automate the information exchange between different catalogs and the reduced production cycle time for print and online catalogs.

This allows businesses to make faster pricing adjustments in times of dynamic price fluctuations. MDM touches on many components of the customer acquisition process, providing deeper insights into what customers want and how your organization can transform your messaging, product and service offerings, packaging, and pricing to be more relevant to them.

An Overview of MDM Technology

Centralized MDM solutions offer companies high levels of flexibility and customization for today’s complex hybrid architectures consisting of both on-prem and multiple cloud environments. An MDM system ensures that data is kept accurate and updated, avoids duplication and redundancy, and maintains consistency across an organization.

This combination of consistent data standards and collaboration helps streamline operations and accelerates decision-making through optimized decision intelligence. This is made possible through insight-rich data that is processed at faster rates and lower costs than conventional solutions.

Companies have directed vast resources at digitally transforming their organizations, yet 41% of organizations continue to support manual data-cleaning efforts that lead to accidental human mistakes that further erode the quality of their data. By integrating your data into an MDM repository, automated quality checks can improve the accuracy of your information leading to greater standardization and enrichment. Data modeling and mapping techniques that can identify relationships between data elements are also automated.

The ability to engage with your customer is key today, and engagement requires a greater knowledge of customer profiles. Solutions such as SAP Master Data Governance (MDG) provide a centralized platform to manage and orchestrate all your customer data to make relevant customer engagement possible. A single comprehensive MDM solution such as SAP MDG makes data mastery achievable without the need for data analysts on board.


In today’s hypercompetitive industry environments, you need an edge over your competition. That edge today is knowledge — knowledge about your customers, their behavior, and their preferences. The ability to create a robust data environment that automates and enforces data validation, verification, and enrichment is no longer an option. It is a necessity today for large-scale enterprises to attain the sales and marketing objectives that will drive their business growth in the future. Master data management is proving a differentiator for today’s elite businesses. Isn’t it time you learned how to use MDM to gain mastery of your data environment?

Learn more about SAP Master Data Governance at Master Data Governance | MDM Software and Solutions | SAP.  Also, check out Mastering Customer Data for Your Intelligent Enterprise.


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.