Business Value of Master Data Management: What Data and Enterprise Leaders Should Know

Ayesha Saini

By Ayesha Saini

On December 29, 2020

An enterprise’s need to understand the market is hardly new. But the breadth and depth of insight required to resonate with buyers is increasing exponentially.

Riversand’s CEO and co-founder, Upen Varanasi says, “In today’s times, what we are selling, who we are selling to, and how these customers want to be engaged and sold to is changing fast.”

Evolving consumer needs and technological advances demand that organizations rethink how they sell everything from clothes and books to insurance and healthcare.

In another interview, Joe Wiley, VP and CIO of MarineMax, a US boat dealer with over 60 locations, dives further:

“Our retail channels now require access to detailed and accurate product information and a flexible data model which allows us to incorporate organizational and channel data into the system, gather insights and help us manage business complexities with a 360 degree-view of our product, service, and parts offerings.”

Master data management is a core key in attaining that kind of alignment.

Why Is Everyone Talking About Master Data Management?

Master Data Management (MDM) by definition is an effective answer to create better customer and stakeholder experiences, products and services, operational structures, and new business models.

At the same time, MDM removes disparate, duplicate, and conflicting information residing in different company systems to create a single correct version of the “truth.”

Just as reliant data makes it possible to capture the best field-level information using automation and technology, master data also serves as a primer to more precise decisioning in the moment.

And the results are compelling.

Think about the major players that have receded or disappeared in the past: AOL, Fairchild Semiconductor, Blockbuster, GNC, Pier1 Imports, Sun Microsystems. The list could go on.

Each of these companies was outrun by competitors who possessed greater clarity about their data and failed to innovate to meet their buyers’ expectations.

So, as a company looking to accelerate and discover new sources of value you can champion innovation using Master Data Management (MDM) solutions. 

Will This Approach Work for You?

We have been saying all along that master data management holds an unlimited potential to make operations, systems, and compliance more efficient and effective.

However, the growing interest in master data management programs has resulted in some confusion, particularly among business stakeholders on

  • How to drive their MDM efforts
  • How to establish clear links between the MDM investment ROI to specific business initiatives
  • What’s the ultimate effectiveness of MDM programs


Now consider this: This confusion may be partly because decision-making does not sit with one person or one group during a transformational journey. And secondly, the link of MDM system as a clear value driver may not be obvious or direct, particularly to business stakeholders.

In other words, the benefits of MDM go way beyond IT infrastructure modernization – but many organizations don’t realize it yet.

Therefore, the need to communicate where and how MDM can deliver clear business value as the effort has to be collaborative and inclusive.

It requires adhering to a well-defined platform methodology, finding internal alignment, and honing your analytical and operational thinking.

Where and How Master Data Adds Value to the Business 

The recent Gartner’s Q4 2020 Report, Articulating MDM Value to the Business talks about how MDM is an indisputable component in transforming an organization digitally.

It supports both short-term and long-term goals, such as increasing revenue and market share, reducing cost, optimizing performance, and exploring new models and markets.

Gartner also mentions that with MDM, the digital transformation of the business can be achieved at a much lower cost by:

  • Providing a foundation for modeling and simulation from different organizational perspectives
  • Improving the quality of data collected from external sources
  • Creating a controlled source of data that can be shared with external partners


However, the key is identifying the initiatives enabled by MDM and mapping MDM efforts to the most significant initiatives so that data and analytics leaders can prioritize them.

Articulating MDM’s value with a set of quantifiable measures that a company uses to gauge its performance over time can go a long way to affect positive change. And it’s also possible to show the consequences of not moving forward on a mission-critical system like MDM

What Are the Common Challenges That May Derail MDM Programs

Time and again, we have seen the below-mentioned barriers coming in the way of data leaders to align MDM to key business drivers.

  • Lack of business alignment: Successful communication is not enough between departments and leaders to assume ‘poor data’ as a critical business barrier. Friction in people and processes invariably results in a lack of goal alignment.
  • Inability to develop measurable business-oriented KPIs: KPIs are often confused business metrics. For formulating KPIs, your team should start with the basics and understand your organizational objectives, the desired outcomes, how to influence them, who is responsible, and how to review progress. 
  • Underestimating the level of executive sponsorship required for success: Your KPIs need both context and communication to be effective. This can be accomplished by not just what you’re measuring, but why you’re measuring it to receive the necessary resources, funding, and prioritization from sponsors. 
  • Contention for funding and managing costs with other initiatives: Budget matters typically appear as a conflict of funding based on competing goals or misguided principles on customers, employees, financials, or risk.

But Wait…ROI Alone Doesn’t Capture Real Value of MDM: Focus on Intangible Outcomes to Guide Decisions

While CEOs and other senior stakeholders often pressure data and analytics leaders to produce hard-dollar value showcasing the value of MDM, ROI itself does not give a complete picture.

There are qualitative and more nuanced cases for why a strong master data foundation is critical for your company in today’s business environment.

And that’s because, in the real world, it is nearly impossible to show with any certainty the impact of a single component on broad outcomes such as overall costs.

The value of MDM programs should include other intangible aspects that simply go beyond definitive statistical relevance, such as:

1. Regulatory compliance made easy with MDM

 Regulatory blows due to non-compliance can become your worst nightmare—non-compliance results in legal punishments, millions of dollars in lawsuits, and a tarnished public image.

By design, MDM is baked with the required flavors of regulations due to its tight architecture and compliance-led rules. You can centralize compliance efforts in one central place through MDM and boost the overall visibility and traceability of data with correct compliance reporting.

Better still, these changes reduce the effort of data gathering, particularly for legal teams, and enable them to find audience-specific views to ensure that regulatory data is not tampered with.

 2. Innovate faster with MDM

 When organizations use master data at the enterprise level, it eliminates the need for separate, departmentally maintained “versions of truth.” This enables innovation as you gain an accurate view of the big picture and a faster time to insight.

You can think of innovating with new product and service offerings or innovating to reach and serve existing customers better. Or innovate as a way to improve business functions internally. The opportunities are endless.

A multi-domain MDM approach supports your existing BI and intelligence processes and helps you uncover unrealized relationships between your data faster – to take new strategic decisions to innovate faster.

3. Align a better flow of information with MDM

 Enterprise companies who struggle with massive data flow from their growing volumes of corporate and customer data can rely on master data management’s central control point to synchronize their data and processes across all applications and ensure the data is clean, current, and consistent with an optimal flow.

At its core, MDMs governance mechanisms and synchronization implemented at scale lead to a unified way of working between teams and business units.

4. Boost revenue generation with MDM

 When you are looking to create a 360-degree view of your customers, locations, and assets, you must choose a master data management solution that seamlessly integrates with existing systems to consolidate millions of records, validating data instantly and making it available to enterprise-wide applications such as ERP, CRM, analytical tools, data warehouses, and other internal and external systems.

This approach is crucial to opportunities such as acquisition, up-sell, cross-sell, and other targeting or segmented programs. The right supporting platform can mean the difference between success and failure of such revenue-generating opportunities.

5. First-mover advantage

 This is a widely known fact, almost with no exception, that first-mover advantage or an early entry into a new product category or market gives you an insuperable head start.

With MDM such advantages are about knowing:

  • How fast or slow your market is moving
  • The pace at which the demand for that product is expanding
  •  Your odds of succeeding in new markets with the resources you possess.


Ultimately, MDM success depends on technology, data quality, governance, stewardship, and change management. Organizations that adopt MDM will eliminate the endless and time-consuming debates about whose data is right and will play to improve their market share or profitability over a long period.

And that’s where Riversand comes in.

Riversand transforms data into experiences that matter to your business, your partners, and most importantly, your customers. It’s the philosophy that drives our platform – the Master Data Experience Platform (MDxP).

With a history of innovation in data, business intelligence and measurement, combined with a cloud-native, multi-domain, and a vetted omni-channel position, Riversand’s MDxP solution sets enterprises up to stay in control while driving true business growth—at scale.

For more information or to set up a brief demo to see the platform for yourself, please contact us today.


About The Author – Ayesha Saini

Ayesha Saini is a content strategist for Riversand.

Book a Demo