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The world of Master Data Management has changed and is no longer limited to only managing data. Granted, MDM initially rose to the forefront as an essential activity to ensure the consistency and quality of key data assets, such as product data, asset data, and customer data. But today, MDM answers some of your most pertinent questions. “Who are our most profitable customers”, “how are the products performing’, “which product is performing well, and which looks like it needs help” …these and many such pertinent questions get answered with proper Master Data Management.

To put it simply, as business operations becoming dependent on transaction processing systems it becomes essential to get a single view of the data consolidated from multiple source systems into a standard format.

MDM harmonizes the data according to the intent and creates a unified data set ready for use in all applicable systems. Duplicate data, mismatched data, etc. then become a thing of the past and the end-users get access to the data they need without having to piece together multiple data entries.

In such a time when data becomes the ultimate leveler, the role of the MDM professional begins to assume paramount importance.

So, what are the essential qualities that make a great MDM professional?

Technical skills

MDM professionals need to have deep insights into the methods, models, and tools used in Master Data Management. They need to have knowledge about MDM architecture and implementation and have to be well versed in data profiling as well as data quality assessment.

These professionals have to possess an exhaustive technical vocabulary and should be able to identify areas of data quality improvements. They should be able to resolve data quality problems by leveraging error detection and correction, process control, and improvement, or process design strategies.

Data skills

The skills repertoire of the MDM professional should include the ability to manage, analyze, and resolve data initiative issues and capably manage revisions to meet the internal and customer requirements. All that while adhering to published data standards.

They also should have knowledge about taxonomies, SKU’s Build Practice, and should be well versed in product data analysis, data normalization, Excel, competitive research, and analysis of industry standards and product specifications.

Knowledge of MDM product architecture

MDM professionals also should possess the skills to identify the MDM product architecture. They should be able to configure its main components which include the cleanse engine, match server, data governance tools, and workflows.

Knowledge of data governance needs and industry standards, regulations, and guidelines in database warehousing and other relevant systems become essentials.

Business orientation 

Along with having robust data analysis skills and a deep relationship with all things data-related, MDM professionals also have to have a strong business mindset. Since MDM is all about improving outcomes, MDM professionals have to ably evaluate current PIM/MDM systems and processes in relation to the business needs and provide recommendations to improve or create and recommend new PIM/MDM solutions.

Leveraging their business orientation coupled with technical skills and experience, MDM professionals should be able to document business requirements for business processes and abide by those requirements for future projects. They should also be keen to use their skills to design and build workflows and custom portal components to enhance governance and quality of product data solutions.

Strong communication skills

MDM professionals have to lead in-person discovery meetings with clients and stakeholders to evaluate current PIM/MDM systems and processes. They have to work with subject matter experts and data stewards to define and implement the data strategy, the policies, controls, and programs and also provide assistance to resolve data quality problems via error detection and correction strategies, often, in collaboration with them.

Translating business requirements and models into feasible and acceptable data warehouse designs is an important part of their scope. All of these entail that their technical vocabulary is complemented with strong communication skills to communicate clearly with customers, stakeholders, team members, and external data providers to drive robust master data management strategies.

Domain Expertise

Domain expertise is an added bonus when it comes to Master Data Professionals. Knowledge of domain-specific industry standards, regulations, and guidelines in database warehousing and other relevant systems.

Domain expertise also helps MDM professionals ensure that the product information and data lie in harmony across the entire value chain. It aids the creation of a single unified language that makes it easy to understand the complex sources of content and formats, capabilities, and specifications across business units.

Armed with domain knowledge, they can accelerate and optimize product information distribution across the entire value chain and manage catalog information to align with style guides. Domain knowledge also assists in establishing firm data governance to drive a well-structured product taxonomy, and make the data infrastructure seamless, highly organized, and unequivocal.

In Conclusion

Data has now become the lifeblood of all businesses, especially with the rise of digital transformation. With the pandemic, this push towards digital transformation is only going to increase especially as more businesses adopt an online avatar. Even traditional industries such as manufacturing have had to support online operations as the rules of the new normal become more established. Organizations, as such, have to increase their digital maturity and ramp up their Master Data Management skills to ensure that the data at works to drive business outcomes and profitability. That’s the sandbox the MDM professional plays in.