Party MDM

The Master Data Management (MDM) market has traditionally been divided into Customer MDM and Product MDM – with Vendor/Supplier MDM as a rarer third option.

However, from being an academic notion we see more and more implementations where the MDM solution is build as a Party MDM solution, where the party entity encompass customer, vendor/supplier, other business partners, internal business units and any other party entity that matters to the sell, buy and make side of the enterprise.

Party MDM

The party MDM concept will also encompass the employees (and contractors) in the business units – which can be seen as Human Resource MDM – as well as the contacts at B2B customers, vendors/suppliers and other business partners.

There are many drivers for building this model.

One example is that many enterprises, especially large corporations, has an intersection of customers and vendors/suppliers. This case was examined in the post How Bosch is Aiming for Unified Partner Master Data Management.

Then there is the good old question: “What is a customer?”. In many business scenarios there are more than direct customers that matters in marketing and selling. In manufacturing, including life science, there are B2B2C chains. In these and other industries there are influencers that matters. In life science that is healthcare professionals. In building materials that is for example architects and other construction professionals.

In banking the term counterparty is used to cover both direct customers and other parties that are referred to in the service delivery. In education there are teachers and students. In public administration there are citizens.

Practically all organizations have more parties than customers and vendors/suppliers involved in the operating model and therefore their descriptions must sooner or later be handled as master data in a unified Party MDM model. This will underpin the digital transformation that is on the agenda in every organization these days.

Six MDMographic Stereotypes

In the Select your solution service here on the site there are some questions about the scope of the intended MDM / PIM / DQM solutions and the number of master data entity records. These are among others:

  • How many B2C customer (consumer, citizen) records are in scope for the solution?
  • How many B2B customer / supplier (company) records are in scope for the solution?
  • How many product (SKU) records are in scope for the solution?

When looking at what the needed disciplines, capabilities and eventually what solution is the best fit there are some stereotypes of organizations where we see the same requirements. Here are six such stereotypes:

MDMographic Stereotypes

In type A, B and C party master data management is in focus, as the number of products (or services) is limited. This is common for example in the financial services, telco and utility sectors.

Type A is where we have both B2C customers and B2B customers. Besides B2B customers we also have suppliers and some company master data entities act both in customer and supplier roles or in other business partner (BP) roles.

Type B is where the business model is having B2B customers. One will though always find some anomalies where the customers are private, with selling to employees as one example.

Type C is where the business model is having B2C customers. One will though often find some examples of having a small portion of B2B customers as well. We find type C organizations in for example healthcare, membership and education.

In type M, D and R product master data management is of equal or more importance as party master data management is. At these stereotypes, we therefore also see the need for Product Information Management (PIM).

Type M is found at manufacturers including within pharmaceuticals. Here the number of products, customers and suppliers are in the same level. Customers are typically B2B, but we see an increasing tendency of selling directly to consumers through webshops or marketplaces. Additionally, such organizations are embarking in caring about, and keeping track of, the end costumers as in B2B2C.

Type D is merchants being B2B dealers and distributors (wholesale). Though it is still common to separate customer roles and supplier roles, we see an increasing adoption of the business partner (BP) concept, as there can be a substantial overlap of customer and supplier roles. In addition, suppliers can have fictitious customer (accounts receivable) roles for example when receiving bonusses from suppliers.

Type R is merchants being retailers. With the rise of ecommerce, retailers have the opportunity of, within the regulations in place, keeping track of the B2C customers besides what traditionally have been done in loyalty programs and more.

All master data domains, also those besides parties and products, matters in some degree to all organizations. The stereotypes guide where to begin and solution providers have the opportunity of doing well with the first domain and, if covered, proceed with the engagement when other domains come into play.

Digital Transformation Success Rely on MDM / PIM Success

It is hard to find an organization who do not want to be on the digital transformation wagon today. But how can you ensure that your digital transformation journey will be a success? One of the elements in making sure that this data driven process will be a success will be to have a solid foundation of Master Data Management (MDM) including Product Information Management (PIM).

The core concepts here are:

  • Providing a 360-degree view of master data entities: Engaging with your customers across a range of digital platforms is a core part of any digital transformation. Having a 360-degree view of your customer has never been more important, and that starts with well-organized and maintained customer master data. The same is true for supplier master data and other party master data. 360-degree view of locations is equally important. The same goes for products and assets as pondered in post Golden Records in Multidomain MDM.
  • Enabling happy self-service scenarios: Customer data are gathered from many sources and digital self-registration is becoming the most common used method. The self-service theme has also emerged in handling supplier master data as self-service based supplier portals have become common as the place where supplier/vendor master data is captured and maintained. Interacting with your trading partners on digital platforms and having the most complete product information in front of your customers in self-service online selling scenarios requires a solid foundation for product master data and Product experience Management (PxM).
  • Underpinning the best customer experience: Customer experience (CX) and MDM must go hand in hand. Both themes involve multiple business units and digital environments within your enterprise and in the wider business ecosystem, where your enterprise operates. Master data is the glue that brings the data you hold about your customers together as well as the glue that combines this with the data you share about your product offering.
  • Encompassing Internet of Things (IoT): Smart devices that produces big data can be used to gain much more insight about parties (in customer and other roles), products, locations and the things themselves. You can only do that effectively by relating IoT and MDM.

Digital Transformation Success

Multidomain MDM and the Next Big MDM Thing

Mutidomain MDM has been a trend in the Master Data Mamagement world for some years as told in the post Golden Records in Multidomain MDM.

Gartner, the analyst, firm, says in the latest MDM Magic Quadrant that “Several patterns have emerged whereby “customer,” “party,” “product” or “thing” master data have become the highest priority for a large number of organizations. The MDM solution should be capable of supporting all domains that are “in scope” for an MDM program, through either client-driven or prepackaged data model styles.”

Gartner has also together with the included vendors estimated the number of multidomain licenses sold on the market as seen in the post Counting MDM Licenses.

On the Hype Cycle for Information Management Gartner sees Multidomain MDM as sliding into the through of disillusionment while the customer and product single domains are at the slope of enlightenment.

Multidomain MDM Hype

Multiple domains are in the Gartner world one of several vectors of MDM. Other vectors are industries, usage scenarios (operational vs analytical), organizational structures (central vs local) and implementation styles (registry, consolidation, coexistence and centralized).

Another MDM theme that is trailing multidomain is multienterprise MDM – aka business ecosystem wide MDM.

Forrester, the other analyst firm, puts it this way in their latest MDM Wave: “As first-generation MDM technologies become outdated and less effective, improved second generation and third-generation features will dictate which providers lead the pack. Vendors that can provide internet-of-things (IoT) capabilities, ecosystem capabilities, and data context position themselves to successfully deliver added business value to their customers.”

What do you think: Will multidomain MDM prevail? Either way, what will be the next big thing(s)?

Golden Records in Multidomain MDM

The term golden record is a core concept within Master Data Management (MDM). A golden record is a representation of a real world entity that may be compiled from multiple different representations of that entity in a single or in multiple different databases within the enterprise system landscape.

GoldIn Multidomain MDM we work with a range of different entity types as party (with customer, supplier, employee and other roles), location, product and asset. The golden record concept applies to all of these entity types, but in slightly different ways.

Party Golden Records

Having a golden record that facilitates a single view of customer is probably the most known example of using the golden record concept. Managing customer records and dealing with duplicates of those is the most frequent data quality issue around.

If you are not able to prevent duplicate records from entering your MDM world, which is the best approach, then you have to apply data matching capabilities. When identifying a duplicate you must be able to intelligently merge any conflicting views into a golden record.

In lesser degree we see the same challenges in getting a single view of suppliers and, which is one of my favourite subjects, you ultimately will want to have a single view on any business partner, also where the same real world entity have both customer, supplier and other roles to your organization.

Location Golden Records

Having the same location only represented once in a golden record and applying any party, product and asset record, and ultimately golden record, to that record may be seen as quite academic. Nevertheless, striving for that concept will solve many data quality conundrums.

GoldLocation management have different meanings and importance for different industries. One example is that a brewery makes business with the legal entity (party) that owns a bar, café, restaurant. However, even though the owner of that place changes, which happens a lot, the brewery is still interested in being the brand served at that place. Also, the brewery wants to keep records of logistics around that place and the historic volumes delivered to that place. Utility and insurance is other examples of industries where the location golden record (should) matter a lot.

Knowing the properties of a location also supports the party deduplication process. For example, if you have two records with the name “John Smith” on the same address, the probability of that being the same real world entity is dependent on whether that location is a single-family house or a nursing home.

Product Golden Record

Product Information Management (PIM) solutions became popular with the raise of multi-channel where having the same representation of a product in offline and online channels is essential. The self-service approach in online sales also drew the requirements of managing a lot more product attributes than seen before, which again points to a solution of handling the product entity centralized.

In large organizations that have many business units around the world you struggle with having a local view and a global view of products. A given product may be a finished product to one unit but a raw material to another unit. Even a global SAP rollout will usually not clarify this – rather the contrary.

GoldWhile third party reference data helps a lot with handling golden records for party and location, this is lesser the case for product master data. Classification systems and data pools do exist, but will certainly not take you all the way. With product master data we must, in my eyes, rely more on second party master data meaning sharing product master data within the business ecosystems where you are present.

Asset (or Thing) Golden Records

In asset master data management you also have different purposes where having a single view of a real world asset helps a lot. There are namely financial purposes and logistic purposes that have to aligned, but also a lot of others purposes depending on the industry and the type of asset.

With the raise of the Internet of Things (IoT) we will have to manage a lot more assets (or things) than we usually have considered. When a thing (a machine, a vehicle, an appliance) becomes intelligent and now produces big data, master data management and indeed multi-domain master data management becomes imperative.

You will want to know a lot about the product model of the thing in order to make sense of the produced big data. For that, you need the product (model) golden record. You will want to have deep knowledge of the location in time of the thing. You cannot do that without the location golden records. You will want to know the different party roles in time related to the thing. The owner, the operator, the maintainer. If you want to avoid chaos, you need party golden records.