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It’s all about Master Data Quality and Governance

The retail marketplace is evolving rapidly to give consumers sophisticted omnichannel shopping choices. 

Supply chains are increasingly geared to consumers’ expectations of being able to browse, research and purchase products online or off-line whenever they want. Supporting this “on-demand” requirement from consumers is also an information explosion. Consumers demand more information about their purchase including country of origin, allergen, dietary, flavours through to regulatory details and standards.

In supply chains everywhere, product and category managers are under increasing pressure to get their products to the right place, at the right time – and to ensure they are accompanied with the right information.

For brand manufacturers and suppliers, and also for wholesalers and retailers there are two big imperatives; make supply chains more efficient, and make eCommerce systems more capable and resilient.

In just about every instance, the key is to have clean and accurate product information available exactly when and where it is needed – and for trading partners to be identifying, capturing and sharing that data as efficiently as possible.

In this fast–evolving digital economy, it all comes down to having Master Data Management (MDM) programs with the right policies, systems and processes to enable:

  • Global Data Synchronization (GDSN)
  • eCommerce processes (such as EDI)
  • Online commerce (such as webstores)
  • Single customer view on omnichannel offers
  • Effective reporting and business analysis
  • Data quality and governance
  • Application of industry standards and regulations (GS1, UDI, EU 1169, GMA SmartLabel™).


If its so important, why isn't everyone doing it now?

Every company does manage some form of master data, but most don’t have a structured process for storing, managing and sharing information. Too often they are just reacting to ad-hoc customer requests and relying on a spreadsheet and information silos within their business.

As product offers grow, and as customer and geographical reach expands, the operation of any business will become increasingly complex – and impediments to efficient MDM will mount.

These challenges include:

  • Data not synchronized with trading partners or not created to global standards;
  • Data not integrated or synchronized with core transaction processing systems or online shopping stores;
  • Disparate and incomplete product databases that are manually maintained in spreadsheets and word documents;
  • Inaccurate business reports that use out-of-date master data;
  • Non-compliance with changes to industry regulations and standards; and
  • Inability to scale up (or down) as the needs of customers change.

What would otherwise be simple management tasks – sales analysis, promotional activity, changes in ranges or prices, and so on – become major challenges that consume enormous amounts of staff resources, time, and cost. 


What is the best approach to MDM?

Best practice MDM will usually include a focus in four areas.

Business Process:  The organization needs a Master Data Manager – someone who will create a documented workflow process that supports the management of master data across the business.  Data custodians responsible for specific pieces of information will then need to be trained in the use of global and industry standards, as well as internal rules and standards as set-out by the Master Data Manager. 

Data Quality and Governance:  A set of data governance principles or guidelines are needed. These should include Data Integrity, Transparency, Auditability, Accountability, Stewardship, Standardization, and Change Management.

Software and Systems: MDM software can streamline data sharing among personnel and departments.  In addition, MDM software can facilitate the synchronization of data across multiple system architectures, platforms, and applications.  The benefits of MDM software will increase as the number and diversity of organizational departments, employee roles and business applications expand.

Data Synchronisation:  This is the process of maintaining the consistency and uniformity of data in internal business systems and between trading partners.  It ensures that the same version of master data is available to all who require it, from product source to final destination.


Need Help?

Innovit has a range of services that help you review and understand the quality of your master data, then synchronize your catalog with trading partners.

Innovit Trading Partner Analysis Program (Register Here)


Need to speak with one of our solution experts?

Innovit has helped many companies in various industries to take control of their master data.

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