What You Should Know About Master Data Management

Today’s guest blog post is from Benjamin Cutler of Winpure. In here Benjamin goes through a few things that you in a nutshell should know about master data management.


People have multiple phone numbers and multiple email addresses and in 2022 there must be several decades of historic contact information available for any one person. Most of us move at least once, every few years. Sometimes we go by different nicknames in different situations, some people even change their names. We hold different titles throughout the course of our careers and we change companies every few years. Only a few people in our lives know exactly how to get a hold of us, at any given time. Many of us change vehicles just as often as we change our hair color. Many of us are employees, most of us are also customers, many of us are spouses and sometimes we are grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and children at the same time. Sometimes we’re out enjoying ourselves and sometimes we just want to be left alone. We each have unique interests and desires, but we also have many things in common with other groups of people.


Products have many different descriptions, they come in many different variations, different sizes, different colors, and different packaging materials. Similar products are often manufactured by different manufacturers, and they can be purchased from many different commercial outlets, at different price points. Any one product on the market at any one time will likely be available in several variations, but that product will also likely change over time as the manufacturer makes improvements. Products can be purchased therefore they can also be sold. They can also be returned or resold to other buyers, so there are different conditions and ways to determine product value. There are SKU and UPC numbers and other official product identification and categorization systems including UNSPSC and others, but none of them speak the same language.


Companies are made up of many different people who come and go over time. The company may change names or change ownership. It may have multiple locations which means multiple addresses and phone numbers, and they probably offer many different ways to contact them. Depending on where you look, there are probably more than a dozen different ways to find their contact information, but only some of those company listings will be correct. Companies have tax IDs and Employer IDs and DUNS IDs in the US, and there are many different systems worldwide.


Addresses are the systems we use to identify locations. Each country and territory has its own system so each system is different. In the US we use premise numbers, street names with and without street prefixes and suffixes, we use unit numbers, states, counties, cities, towns and 5 and 9 digital numerical postal codes. Addresses and address systems can change over time, and they are inherently one of the most inconsistent forms of identification. Addresses are usually riddled with errors, misspellings, different structures and formatting, and they can be very difficult to work with. What makes this even more difficult is that the same address represented in multiple internal business systems will often be represented differently, and will rarely match the way the same address is represented externally.


Data is a digital description of all of these things. Data usually comes in columns and rows and all shapes and sizes. Data about these things is captured, stored in business systems and it’s used to get work done. Need to call a contact? Check your contact data. Need to know a company’s billing address? Check your company data. Need to know something about a product? Check your product information. Need to know something about where your customers live and work or where to deliver the product? Check your address information. But here’s the thing: the information rarely matches from system to system and it’s very hard to keep up to date. This is especially difficult for a few reasons. Internally your company probably has many different business systems and many different ways of storing and representing these things, so it rarely matches internally, plus, the way that your company stores and represents this information will almost never match external information. How can you know the best way to contact your customer who has multiple phone numbers and multiple email addresses? If you’re searching some external system for updated information about some product or contact and the information doesn’t match, how do you find the new information? How can you know if your own information is correct and up to date? How can you scale your efforts to communicate with hundreds or thousands of customers at a time, communicating information that is specifically relevant for each of them? If the information doesn’t match or is not correct, how can you know who is who?


The relationships across people, other groups of people, products, other groups of products, companies, other groups of companies, addresses, and other addresses, is where the rubber hits the road. Business value comes from connecting companies and products or services with other people and companies, and other products and services, at scale. Customers purchasing products might be interested in purchasing related products. Customers often buy things based on location. Companies selling to customers might be able to sell more, if they target similar customers in similar locations. Products and services also sell well based on location, and companies can optimize sales territories and delivery routes based on the relative proximity to other locations.

People and Technology

The people and technology between all of this, finds it difficult to keep up. People do things one by one and we’re good with ambiguity. We program computers and business systems to do things faster. Computers do things programmatically and very quickly but they’re not good with ambiguity. People can see similarity between things that are similar, but computers and business systems cannot. People might be good with troubleshooting and critical thinking, but computers and business systems are not. A computer program might be able to find the same customer in multiple systems and might be able to update that customer’s information all at once, but how can you know if the new information is the best information? Knowing that your customer probably has multiple phone numbers and multiple addresses and multiple nicknames, how can you know which information is correct? Doing this at scale can be very, very difficult.

In Conclusion

Master Data Management is very difficult but it’s fundamental in scaling your business. People can sell products door-to-door, but data and technology allow us to market, sell, deliver, and service our products and services, to tens and hundreds of thousands of people in milliseconds, regardless of the distance. Most organizations still view data as a cost of doing business but with the right investments in people, process, technology, and in data management, we can scale as worldwide organizations.

Get Your Free Tailored MDM / PIM / DQM Solution List

Many analyst market reports in the Master Data Management (MDM), Product Information Management (PIM) and Data Quality Management (DQM) space have a generic ranking of the vendors.

The trouble with generic ranking is that one size does not fit all.

On this list there is no generic ranking. Instead there is a service where you can provide your organization’s context, scope and requirements and within 2 to 48 hours get Your Solution List.

The selection model includes these elements:

  • Your context in terms of geographical reach and industry sector.
  • Your scope in terms of data domains to be covered and organizational scale stretching from specific departments over enterprise-wide to business ecosystem wide (interenterprise).
  • Your specific requirements covering the main requirements that differentiate the vendors on market.
  • Vendor capabilities.
  • A model that combines those facts into a rectangle where you can choose to:
    • Go ahead with a Proof of Concept with the best fit vendor
    • Make an RFP with the best fit vendors in a shortlist
    • Examine a longlist of best fit vendors and other alternatives like combining more than one solution.

Select Your Solution Model

The vendors included are both the major players on the market as well as emerging solutions with innovative offerings.

You can get your free solution list here.

Business Case, ROI and TCO for Your MDM / PIM / DQM Solution

Any implementation of a Master Data Management (MDM), Product Information Management (PIM) and/or Data Quality Management (DQM) solution will need a business case to tell if the intended solution has a positive business outcome.

Prior to the solution selection you will typically have:

  • Identified the vision and mission for the intended solution
  • Nailed the pain points the solution is going to solve
  • Framed the scope in terms of the organizational coverage and the data domain coverage
  • Gathered the high-level requirements for a possible solution
  • Estimated the financial results achieved if the solution removes the pain points within the scope and adhering to the requirements

Business Case ROI TCO MDM PIM DQM [2]The solution selection (utilizing the Select Your Solution service on this site) will then inform you about the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the best fit solution(s).

From here you can, put very simple, calculate the Return of Investment (ROI) by withdrawing the TCO from the estimated financial results.

You can check out more inspiration about ROI and other business case considerations on The Resource List.

Longlist, Shortlist and/or PoC

This site has an interactive service to help you jumpstart in your tool selection for a solution for Master Data Management (MDM), Product Information Management (PIM) and/or Data Quality Management (DQM) as described in the post The Free Bespoke MDM / PIM / DQM Solution Ranking Service.

Select Your Solution

The result of this interactive online service is a selection of the 7 best fit solutions for your MDM / PIM / DQM implementation and possibly also a few solutions that could complement your choice as a best-of-breed supplement for special features as for example data matching and product data syndication.

With the 7 best fit solutions the thought succeeding process could be one of the below 3 options:

Long Path:

Long pathYour organization, possibly assisted by a consultancy firm, makes a deeper evaluation of the longlist with the 7 best solutions typically by issuing a written Request for Proposal (RFP) to all or the most promising solutions in the selection. The response will give you a detailed understanding of the capabilities offered and a price indication including license price and model, required consultancy costs and internal resources needed.

Based on this you will make a shortlist of the typically 3 solutions with the best fit capability and total cost of ownership (TCO) ratio. You will invite the providers for a demo and engage in answering specific concerns. From there your organization can award the best fit solution provider with a contract and you can commence the implementation possibly assisted by an implementation partner.

Short Path:

Short pathYour organization, possibly assisted by a consultancy firm, can issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the providers of the shortlisted solutions. Based on the response, including indications for total cost of ownership (TCO), you will invite perhaps two providers for a thorough demo and engage in answering specific concerns. From there your organization can award the best fit solution provider with a contract and you can commence the implementation possibly assisted by an implementation partner.

One Step to PoC:

One Step to PoCYour organization will invite the best fit solution provider for a Proof of Concept (PoC) possibly with the assistance of a consultancy firm. If the result is successful and the total cost of ownership (TCO) match your business case, you can commence the implementation based on a contract with the solution provider and possibly also with an implementation partner.

Select Your Solution:

You can access the free selection model here.

Popular Entries on The Resource List

This site has a list of white papers, ebooks, reports and webinars from solution and service providers.

The aim is to give inspiration for organizations having the quest to implement or upgrade their Master Data Management (MDM), Product Information Management (PIM) and/or Data Quality Management (DQM) capability.

The list has now been online in a month and it is time to look at which entries that until now have been the most popular in terms of click through. These are:


Exploring The ROI of PIM and MDMHave you ever wondered how to effectively evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of a Product Information Management (PIM) and Master Data Management (MDM) implementation? Then, take a look at some real-life examples. Download the Enterworks ebook on Exploring The ROI of PIM and MDM.

MDM, PIM and DQM market overview

The State of Product Information Management 2020Get an overview of why PIM solutions are implemented in more and more organizations, which capabilities a 2020 PIM solution needs to cover, where the market is heading and who the PIM vendors in the market are and how this affect your purchase of PIM. Download the Dynamicweb PIM white paper The State of Product Information Management 2020. 

MDM, PIM and DQM implementation

virtual-conference-webcast-revConferences cancelled? Stuck working from home? Bring the conferences to you with an virtual MDM conference. Don’t miss this must see 6 week live webcast series and hear what other companies are doing in the world of MDM along with best practices and workshops by industry experts.. Register for this Enterworks webcast series at the Everything Master Data Management (MDM) Virtual Conference.

Extended MDM

Intelligent Data Hub - Taking MDM to the Next LevelMDM solutions have been instrumental in solving core data quality issues in a traditional way, focusing primarily on simple master data entities such as customer or product. Organizations now face new challenges with broader and deeper data requirements to succeed in their digital transformation. Help your organization through a successful digital transformation while taking your MDM initiative to the next level. Download the Semarchy white paper Intelligent Data Hub – Taking MDM to the Next Level.

Data Quality

4 Keys to Unlocking Data Quality with MDMBusinesses today face a rapidly growing mountain of content and data. Mastering this content can unlock a whole new level of Business Intelligence for your organization and impact a range of data analytics. It’s also crucial for operational excellence and digital transformation. Download the 1WorldSync and Enterworks ebook on 4 Keys to Unlocking Data Quality with MDM.

Next To Come

More resources from solution and service vendors are on the way. Additionally, there will also be a Case Story List with success stories from various industries. Stay tuned.

If you have comments, suggestions and/or entries to be posted (yes, there is a very modest fee), then get in touch here: