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Master Data Management for Small Medium Business

Nikhil Bhatia

By Nikhil Bhatia

On December 11, 2015

Over 50 billion gigabytes of data is being generated every 10 minutes and this is indicative of how voluminous data is in today’s business environments. Technology has also made it easier to access this data as well as actionable insights, ensuring that business owners have all the tools they need to make on-target decisions based on data. However, the fact that there are businesses, particularly small to medium businesses, that still struggle to compete with their larger counterparts shows that this data is simply not being leveraged optimally. Mining the available data efficiently is a significant challenge that SMBs face today. Whether it is managing internal or external data streams, unless the data is captured comprehensively, accurately and efficiently, the business cannot enjoy the potential advantages of data mining.

The undeniable fact is that business data is scattered all over the organization. Mining it and organizing it requires master data management solutions at the core, which becomes a valuable asset to the business.

The link between customer satisfaction and master data management

The primary objective of any business is to keep its customers satisfied. Happy customers means stable conversion rates, repeat business, brand recognition, goodwill in the marketplace and easy reputation management. All of these are essential to keep a small businesses in the lead in its niche. Trends indicate that data management is gaining currency as a vital business tool and companies are increasingly investing time and money in revamping their data management techniques. However, the fact is that these businesses are apparently not able to leverage data to improve their ability to cater to customers in a better way. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) shows deteriorating customer satisfaction levels for retail for the final quarter of 2014. There is evidently a mismatch and the most probable area where this gap is present is in data management. Having a solid master data foundation helps the transactional data analysis using customer preferences, customer history, trend analysis, etc.

The customer of today is constantly evolving and catering to them is no easy task. However, with updated data at hand, tracking end user preferences, understanding trend switches and aligning the business to these should not present as much of a challenge as the same task did a few years ago. What businesses lack is the acknowledgment that they have to provide exemplary experiences to their customers to remain competitive and to provide such experiences to the current generation customer, adopting a personalized approach is the most effective strategy. This is made easy with master data management solutions.

Providing a seamless, exceptional customer experience across all channels

Master data management solutions allow you to access accurate and reliable data from one central repository. In effect, this give users across the company a single point of reference when they need to look up data- eliminating any mismatched data being used by the different departments within the company. Your end users may be accessing information or be recipients of information from different departments in your business.

For example, your dispatch section sends a message to a customer when a product they ordered is being dispatched. Your customer service team is in contact with them about a complaint they raised. Your marketing department is contacting them for feedback about your brand. To ensure that every single interaction provides a seamless, user friendly experience to the customer, all of these departments need to be in sync. This is easy when they draw data from a single repository, which is made possible by master data management.

Efficiencies in the business translate into happy customers

Master data management systems ensure that everyone has access to data that they need, thus speeding up processes and improving overall efficiencies in every department of the business. They also facilitate harmonious decision making since the same, absolutely accurate data is being used to make those decisions in every single department. As a result, the decisions are all in-sync with each other and they all work towards supporting the business’s core goals.

At a micro level, the centralized data ensures that every customer’s unique preferences are known to all the teams from the business that need to service them in any way. This access to key inputs about customer behavior helps the business provide a great user experience in every way. For example, a customer prefers to be contacted by email instead of phone about the product they buy, for instance to get dispatch reports etc. This preference can be utilized by the sales team which forwards a feedback form via email instead of giving a call to the customer, which may inconvenience them and thus give rise to a negative perception about the business.

Master data management helps the business leverage opportunities

Master data management solutions facilitate more efficient data collation and also enable the presentation of this data in the more easily usable form. When data is presented in this structured and organized way and linked to transaction systems data using ODS it is easier for top management to identify potential areas for improvement, and opportunities that can be leveraged by the business to improve efficiencies or increase profitability. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why small and medium businesses as well as large enterprises are increasingly keen on adopting master data management solutions.

Enforce Governance both in Data and Process

As a closing thought, it is important to understand that Master Data Management is not just an application, it is a business transformation and governance enforcement using technology as an enabler. This ensures there is data quality by ensuring that consistency is maintained across the business.

Master Data Management allows the processes to be standardized, and ensures that the data can be updated and shared across the company using standard governance practices. This improves data usability, enhances collaboration and makes the decision making easier and more synchronized and aligned to the business’s actual current state.

Using Riversand Rapid methodology, customers can leverage and embark upon their Master Data Management transformation journey for maximum ROI in the shortest possible time which is very important for Small and Medium Businesses.