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Bootstrap Market Research: Master Data Management (What, Who, How)

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about “Master Data Management” over the past few weeks – what does it mean, who does it, and what are some tools and metrics that organizations are using to reign in this important aspect of ERP and analytics systems. I started reaching out to the folks in my professional network with some results, but I thought I might be able to leverage LinkedIn and Twitter to get input from far and wide. This “bootstrapped” market research might not deliver the depth and reach of the bigger technology research firms, but it will be interesting to see what can be gathered.

Bootstrap Market Research: Ground Rules

  1. I’ve put together a little survey (download from here) which is intended to take about 15 minutes to complete – that should give you an indication into the amount of rigor and depth I am looking for.
  2. Please fill it out and email the result to
  3. I’m trying to get input from a number of companies – large and small, with all sorts of ERP systems. So in return for your input, I’ll be happy to email you an aggregated, anonymized summary of what folks are telling me. Please note that none of your specific answers will be tied to your company name in any way.

Some Definitions

What do I mean by master data? Compare and contrast to transactions

  • Transactional Data – describes “events”
    • Production orders, material movements, and confirmations
    • Customer orders, shipments, and invoices
    • Payments, credits, rebates, and returns
    • Journal entries
  • Master Data – describes “facts”
    • Finished goods, raw materials, and work-in-process
    • Manufacturing routings, warehouse picking strategies
    • Customers, vendors, employees
    • Organizations and hierarchies
    • Chart of accounts
    • (also referred to as Reference Data, Configuration Data)

The Question of Ownership

I’ve asked this question before – who owns Master Data? – but there may be some different understanding over what “ownership” refers to. Is the “owner” responsible for …

  • Master Data Quality?
    • Data Structure, including requirements and interdependencies
    • Process & Procedure for getting Master Data into the system
    • Access & Training for getting Master Data out of the system
    • Audits & Quality Checks to make sure corporate requirements and standards are met
    • Metrics & Visibility for critical Master Data processes, especially when adding new products
  • Master Data Content? (for example …)
    • Structure of the chart of accounts
    • Bin configuration and capacity
    • Modeling manufacturing processes in a routing
    • Product families, sales org hierarchies
    • Credit ratings
    • Material substitution

Benchmarking Survey Questions

The survey asks some high level questions in these areas:

  • Master Data Definitions
  • Size & Scope of Master Data
  • Organization Structures
  • Scope of Responsibilities
  • Positives
  • Challenges

There is also space at the end to bounce back some questions – let me know what else is on your mind!


Thanks (in advance) for your input – and watch this space for the results!

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