The volume of data generated every day is exploding. IDC recently estimated that the “digital universe” will increase to 40 zettabytes of information by 2020, and recent Northeastern University research found that 2.5 exabytes of data are generated every day, which is equal to the storage space in 150 million iPhones. Customers generate a large portion of this data through their interactions via social media, on brand websites, and through mobile apps – all at multiple cadences. Most brands find themselves struggling to keep pace with these growing data volumes and shifting cadences.
Master data management (MDM) processes aim to solve the problem by normalizing all collected data into a single canonical record. MDM projects accomplish this goal by joining related data sources on a specific topic, such as customer data from the CRM or website, and creating a centralized database that processes, cleanses, and unifies all related information. In this way, MDM capabilities create a single point of data availability.
This is immeasurably valuable in a marketplace of constantly increasing data volumes and multiple cadences. The canonical record of MDM can have a dramatic positive impact on customer engagement strategies. In the age of the empowered, connected customer, anything that has an impact on customer engagement needs to be considered.
Master data management has long been the domain of IT departments, centrally controlled and centrally managed because IT has historically controlled enterprise data. As a result of IT control, MDM projects often start with data that the business doesn’t find immediately useful. One common starting point is to do a proof-of-concept with the smallest database. The problem with this approach is that the smallest databases aren’t often the most valuable to the business. This causes MDM projects to take months or years, which frustrates business users and causes undue internal friction.
Despite these drawbacks, the goal of master data management to create canonical records is valuable. DZone recently found that 92 percent of organizations have 16 to 20 data sources spread across multiple locations in multiple formats, which creates a stark need for data unification. More troubling is that 95 percent of respondents to a recent 451 Research survey said they expect the number of data sources and data volumes to both increase in the coming year. And 87 percent of data management professionals told Health Data Management that they have added bad data into their data stores.
Unified data is key in the age of the empowered consumer. Customers appear through any channel – digital or physical – at any time. If brands have a centralized point where they collect all the information about each customer, then they can more efficiently provide a relevant interaction to bolster engagement. The age of the empowered, connected consumer has impressed on business users the importance of having a unified database full of golden customer records that cover the behaviors, preferences, and interaction history of the entire client base. What is a unified customer profile, after all, except a master customer record for that individual?
The ability of MDM technologies to ensure data quality is also crucial to engaging the omnichannel customer. Without quality data that is easily managed, brands can’t hope to provide the contextually relevant interactions that consumers expect. Master data management should be a central feature of customer engagement strategies, for this reason if nothing else.
MDM capabilities around data stewardship, data governance, and deduplication are vital to customer engagement success. If the business is assured of having a single view of the customer, they can more easily know that their messaging will reach the right person at the right time. One of the drawbacks of master data management, however, is that keeping the master data updated is a mostly-manual process that involves regular batch updates. This pacing is far too slow to be useful. Customers appear in multiple channels throughout their buying journey and create new data every day. Even the fastest batch update is too slow to be useful in such an environment.
Adding MDM capabilities into a customer data platform (CDP), however, accomplishes the goal of keeping master customer data up to date and making it actionable at the speed of the customer. A customer data platform is designed to provide an always-on, always processing unified customer profile at low latency throughout the enterprise. Adding master data management functionality into this environment ensures that data stewardship can be applied in a flexible and adaptable manner. Paired with the flexibility and scalability of a customer data platform, MDM solutions become even more powerful.
The greater attention paid to master data management over the past few years is well-earned. MDM is a powerful technology that ensures all users operate from a canonical record with the most up-to-date data available. As more data is generated by the omnichannel consumer, stymying business as usual, brands need to focus on maintaining the single canonical view of the customer. Master data management enables that, and pairing such capabilities with a CDP ensures that brands can access the insights they need at the speed they need. As the amount of data generated each day explodes, brands must increasingly become more focused on maintaining the single canonical view of the customer if they wish to truly meet the connected consumer where they are with contextually relevant interactions