21 Big Data Master Data Management Best Practices

21 Big Data Master Data Management Best Practices
21 Big Data Master Data Management Best Practices

Master Data Management (MDM) is the process of establishing and implementing standards, policies and tools for data that’s most important to an enterprise, including but not limited to information on customers, employees, products and suppliers.

Per Wiki:
In business master data management (MDM) comprises the processes, governance, policies, standards and tools that consistently defines and manages the critical data of an organization to provide a single point of reference.[1]
The data that is mastered may include:
master data – the business objects for transactions, and the dimensions for analysis
reference data – the set of permissible values to be used by other data fields
Transactional data – supports applications
Analytical data – supports decision making [2]
In computing, An MDM tool can be used to support master data management by removing duplicates, standardizing data (mass maintaining), incorporating rules to eliminate incorrect data from entering the system in order to create an authoritative source of master data. Master data are the products, accounts and parties for which the business transactions are completed. The root cause problem stems from business unit and product line segmentation, in which the same customer will be serviced by different product lines, with redundant data being entered about the customer (aka party in the role of customer) and account in order to process the transaction. The redundancy of party and account data is compounded in the front to back office life cycle, where the authoritative single source for the party, account and product data is needed but is often once again redundantly entered or augmented.

So, with task such important Master Data must be designed appropriately and after careful consideration to variour bells and whistles which are responsible for success and failure of the project. Following are top 21 bestpractices that needs to be considered before applying a good data management strategy.

1. Define “What is the business problem we’re trying to solve?”:
With so much data and so many disperate data sources, it is very easy to get lost in translation. So, a mental road map on the overall objective will help in keeping the effort streamlined.

2. Understand how the project helps to prep you for big data:
Yes, growing data is a concern and it should be sorted out at the planning stage. It is important to identify how master data management strategy will prepare your organization not only for generic enterprise data but to cope up with ever increasing big data.

3. Devise a good IT strategy:
Good IT strategy always go hand in hand with a good data strategy. A disfucntional IT strategy could really throw off a most efficient designed data management strategy. A good IT strategy increase the chances of success for a good MDM strategy by several degrees.

4. Business “users” must take full ownership of the master data initiative:
It’s important that business and it’s users must take full ownership of the inititaitve. A well defined ownership will save project from several communication failure which is almost everytime responsible for any project failure.

5. Allow ample time for evaluation and planning:
A well laid out planning stage ensures all the cracks and crevices are sorted out before project is rolled out. A rushed project often increases the rist of failure. Don’t underestimate the time and expertise needed to develop foundational data models.

6. Understand your MDM hub’s data model and how it integrates with your internal source systems and external content providers:
When data model problems cropped up relatively late in the project, whether it was a disconnect between the hub and an important source system, or a misalignment between data modeled in the hub and an external information provider, it was very disruptive. These problems can be avoided by really understanding how the hub is designed, and then mapping that back to your source systems and your external information sources.

7. Identify the project’s mission and business values:
This is another important area that needs it’s due attention. A clear project mission and business value definition helps in making sure high ROI is thought for and planned after in the process. One must link the initiatives to actionable insights.

8. Choose the best technology platform:
Choosing a good technology is important as well. Remeber, you don’t change your technology daily, so putting some thought and research into it makes a lot of different in sustainability of the project. A good technology should help organization grow to next several years without presenting too much growth bottlenecks.

9. Be real and plan a multi-domain design:
In a real world, many MDM technologies grew up managing one particular type of master data. A good strategy must be consistent across. So, applying the same approach to the various master data domains, whether those be customer, product, asset, supplier, location or person is a good strategy.

10. Active, involved executive sponsorship:
Most organizations are very comfortable with their “islands of data” and with technology being implemented in silos. For someone in the organization to come along and suggest changing that status quo, and to start managing critical information centrally, treating it as a true corporate asset, is going to mean some serious cultural change.

11. Use a holistic approach – people, process, technology and information:
This may be the most important best practice. You’ve got to start with the people, the politics, the culture, and then to make sure you spend at least as much time on the business processes involved in data governance and data stewardship. These really deserve a separate article of their own.

12. Pay attention to organizational governance:
You must have a very strong governance model that addresses issues such as change management and knowledge transfer. Afterall, the culture in an organization is a most important entity and a sorted plan to derisk project from it ensures success.

13. Build your processes to be ongoing and repeatable, supporting continuous improvement:
Data governance is a long term proposition. As a reality of any enterprise life, as long as one is in business, enterprise will be creating, modifying, and using master data. So if everyone in the company relies on them, but no one is specifically accountable for maintaining and certifying their level of quality, it shouldn’t be a surprise that, over time, like everything else, they become more and more chaotic and unusable. So plan from the beginning for a “way of life”, not a project.

14. Have a big vision, but take small steps:
Consider the ultimate goal, but limit the scope of the initial deployment, users told Ventana. Once master data management is working in one place, extend it step by step, they advised. Business processes, rather than technology, are often the mitigating factor, they said, so it’s important to get end-user input early in the process.

15. Consider potential performance problems:
Performance is the 800-pound gorilla quietly lurking in the master data management discussion, Loshin cautioned. Different architectures can mean different performance penalties. So, make some room for repair.

16. Management needs to recognize the importance of a dedicated team of data stewards:
Just as books belong in a library and a library needs librarians, master data belongs in a dedicated repository of some type, and that repository needs to be managed by data stewards. It is cruicial to start with convincing management of the need for a small team of data stewards who are 100% dedicated to managing the enterprise’s master data.

17. Consider the transition plan:
Then, there’s the prospect of rolling out a program that has an impact on many critical processes and systems — no trivial concern. Loshin recommended that companies should plan an master data management transition strategy that allows for static and dynamic data synchronization.

18. Resist the urge to customize:
Now that commercial off-the-shelf hub platforms have matured a bit, it should be easier to resist the temptation to get under the hood and customize them. Most vendors are still revving their products as often as twice a year, so you definitely don’t want to get into a situation where you are “rev locked” to an older version.

19. Stay current with vendor-provided patches:
Given the frequency of point releases, patches and major upgrades, you should probably plan for at least one major upgrade during the initial implementation, and be sure to build “upgrade competency” in the team that will maintain the hub platform after the initial project goes live.

20. Carefully plan deployment:
With increasing MDM complexity, training of business and technical people is more important than ever. Using untrained or semi-trained systems integrators and outsourcing attempts caused major problems and project delays for master data management users.

21. Test, test, test and then test again:
This is like the old saying about what’s important in real estate – “location, location, location”. Your MDM hub environment is going to be different, by definition, than every other environment in the world.

Originally Posted at: 21 Big Data Master Data Management Best Practices

How Retailer Should Use QR Code To Hit The Pot Of Gold

Before we dive into the topic, I want to take a step back and explain what is QRCode: QR Code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. More recently, the system has become popular outside the industry due to its fast readability and large storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. The code consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be made up of four standardized kinds (“modes”) of data (numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, Kanji), or through supported extensions, virtually any kind of data.(per wikipedia).
To me, QRCode is an amazing magic wand that has the power to connect analog world to the digital world. It has the power to engage a motivated customers who is scanning QR Code and convert them to loyalists. From the day I was introduced to QR Code to today, I am extremely excited for what QR Code is worth, but at the same time, severely impacted by how underutilized it is. For the sake of this blog, and to understand what stores near-by are doing with their QRCode, I visited my nearest mall and clicked photos of the first few QR executions. To my surprise, it did not take me much to find or click quick snapshots of few different type of QR implementations. But amazing thing is that they all are doing it wrong. I will get on it soon. QRCode is facing some challenges with adoption, but with capable mobile devices, it is bound to pick up if it has not already. With this slow QR Code adoption, the only thing retailers need is a lousy execution throwing away users from using this amazing digital wonder of the world.

So, what are retailers doing wrong?
QRCode deployed covers used cases ranging from “signup with our mailing list”, “download our app”, to “visit our social page”. There was no consistency in execution. Every store wants users to juggle in different ways. Below are 5 used cases that I came across. It is very likely that most of the retail store QRCode implementation falls into one of these. I can understand that retailers are still experimenting with QRCode projects and understanding the impact. But consider this: A user, who is motivated to click a QRCode, puts in considerable effort to do lots of clicks to get to other side. So, what is it all worth- A facebook like, a twitter follow, an app download or a signup for mailing list? Having a QRCode should be taken as similar to having a domain. Try having a domain name pointing to all these services. Just like domain names, QRCode are precious as well. It is a perfect way to engage an already committed user. So, why throw vague click-to-action at them. Why not grab their attention for something that is win-win for both the retailer and the customer.

Following are implementations of retail QRCode – “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly sides”.

1. I got this image from someone and found it very interesting to share. It has some pros and cons to it.

How retailer should use QR Code to hit the pot of gold
The Good: QR Code is sitting in the primary location, gate is the first interface and attaching QR Code made it easily accessible. So, kudos for that.
The Bad: Is “facebook like” or “ twitter follow” that important? If a user jumping through hoops to scan a QRCode, to like a facebook page is appreciative of their effort? Is it providing enough value to retailer or user?
The Ugly: See at the end.



2. This is another example from a smoothie joint near the mall area, closer to my place.

How retailer should use QR Code to hit the pot of goldThe Good: It is great to separate interest groups, people with different intent will pick appropriate click to action. Here Yelp and Facebook audience are provided with separate QRCode.
The Bad: Confusion. With limited adoption and involvement, it is way too risky to have 2 QRCodes. It also exposes the campaign to technical issues. What if user scans them from distance that both QR show up etc. This implementation raises more questions than answers.
The Ugly: See at the end.



3. This is taken from a nearby Van Heusen outlet store from nearby mall.

How retailer should use QR Code to hit the pot of goldThe Good: $5 is very appreciative for the effort user is going through. This is gratifying users for their effort. $5 worked magic when it comes to fixing the eyes to banner as well.
The Bad:  Confusing plate, 2 offers are bundled into one plate. It could confuse users. Text & QR are packaged into one.
The Ugly: See at the end.

4. This image is taken at a local GMC store. I like the way they explained the used case. I find no problem in understanding how to use it. But then, I am not sure if it’s usable for all audience.

How retailer should use QR Code to hit the pot of goldThe Good: Very well laid out plan on how to engage with the used case.
The Bad: Only caters to deal hunters; what if you are not here for deals?
The Ugly: See at the end.





5. This image was taken from a nearby Costco. I visit there often and never paid attention to this banner until recently.

How retailer should use QR Code to hit the pot of goldThe Good: The position of the banner. It was kept right above the checkout counter. In case a long queue is awaiting, user could use that waiting time to indulge with the banner.
The Bad: A descriptive banner, with fine prints and asking user to download an app. App is very intimate to users due to limited real-estate on mobile phone. It is asking the user too much of commitment while waiting.
The Ugly: See below.
The Ugly: Almost all the used cases suffer from the same issue, not creating a bi-directional engagement interface with user. QRCode is used when user is actually physically present in the store and scanning. Also, it is not known at the moment what the user could be suffering from, so, selling them something without knowing what they want to buy is not a great idea. So, it is important for retail stores to provide a dashboard that could better address their current need (tools to help a surfing user) and once current issue is addresses, provide them with an opportunity to convert those users by offering app download links, social follow buttons or email newsletter signups.

From the observation above, few things stand out. Retailer gets the importance of QRCode but still lack a used case that will help engage their customers better with their brand. As with all great brands, listening is as important of a task as talking. So, why QRCode should be any different? They should also have ability to listen to customer as well as talk to them. Therefore QRCode should be primarily thought of as a tool to engage an active customer.

It is important to look at QRCode from a different lens. Unlike, facebook like, mobile app, social follow, QRCode is used when user is actively engaged in a store, so selling them engagement tools for future might not be something that is uber targeted. However, one could obviously cross-sell those tools, on landing page when user scans a QRCode. So, QRCode interfaces should be handled differently and should not be mixed with loyalty tools.

So, an Ideal QRCode should have following components:

1. Single QRCode addressing all the needs of the user.
2. A well accessible placement of the QRCode, making it easily discoverable.
3. Well laid out procedure to help users engage with QRCode.
4. QRCode bringing users to a super dashboard that could help them in any possible way it can. i.e. providing product descriptions, deals, specials, live chats, app links etc.
5. Providing capability for users to leave comments, complaints, suggestion and fill surveys.
6. Ability to further help users extend the engagement by providing links to social media channels, apps, email list, newsletters etc.
7. Providing access to email list.

Based on the business, users, and used case, there may be more of less used cases as stated above, but the overall coverage should be pretty much same.

So, an advice to all the retailers, get back to whiteboards and rethink existing QRCode strategy. It is a big pot of gold if done right. As holiday season is approaching, this could be a great opportunity to connect with masses and engage with them by designing a perfect system.

Let us know if we could help.

and just to confuse the hell out of you.. below is a video that states 37 places to use QR, and yes, most of them are just bad places to use QRCode. My good friend Steve posted a blog on 9 Ways To Screw Up QR Codes at Trade Shows [Infographic], make sure to check it out.

Originally Posted at: How Retailer Should Use QR Code To Hit The Pot Of Gold