Point of View

Foundations First
Building Master Data Management Capabilities
to Achieve High Performance
Ever experienced the frustration of
searching for information you know
you have but cannot find? Perhaps
your data is in too many places. In
an Accenture survey
, 34 percent of
respondents report that they do not
manage master data much beyond
individual systems.
However, inconsistent, inaccurate
or inaccessible information could
make the difference between
keeping pace with the competition
and losing market share.
Master data management is a set of processes
to create and maintain a single view of customer,
product or other core reference data that is
shared across systems. It is multidisciplinary in
nature, involving business process analysis, data
profiling, data cleansing, data consolidation
and reconciliation, data migration and data
governance. It is fairly static in nature, acting
as the foundation for a better information
management strategy.
For executives seeking instant access
to high-quality information, sharing,
classifying and defining data is
essential. Accenture believes master
data management could be the answer
for organizations seeking agility and
high performance.
Why master data management?
Master data management is not a
quick fix or another application layer
to maintain; it is the bedrock for
successful analytics and operational
initiatives. Why does this matter?
Because CIOs responding to a recent
survey indicated they are serious about
managing their information.
Responses to our survey, Cultivating
High Performance through Information
Management, Accenture 2007,
highlight that organizations are:
• Targeting an overall information
management strategy (75 percent
of organizations want to have
comprehensive, enterprise-wide
information management in three
years’ time).
• Investing in information
management to help them
outperform the competition,
rather than merely helping
them “stay in the game.”
• Recognizing the value that effective
information management brings to
their business.
What is more, 98 percent of
respondents expressed the need to
have, at a minimum, an organized
master data management and sharing
program in place for key data.
Despite this vote of confidence
from CIOs, Accenture has found that
many organizations, hampered by a
misconception of complexity, are slow
to capitalize on the underpinning
qualities of master data management.
In seeking value, large organizations
with multiple lines of business may
have taken the route recommended
by systems integrators, solution
providers and product vendors for
a single tool or solution deployment.
Adopting such an approach has often
failed to produce effective results,
possibly due to a “silver bullet”
mentality that was unlikely to ever
reap rewards. Other organizations,
uncertain where to start, may have
dabbled with a single master data
attribute (such as customer or
product data) but become
disheartened that the benefits
appeared to dwindle in the mid to
long term. Unsurprisingly, the true
benefits are to be found when two
or more attributes are combined,
for example, when customer data
is aligned with product or location
information and similarly when
product data is aligned with vendor
Whatever the reasons for hesitation,
Accenture believes it is a case of
“better late than never” for master
data management. In our experience,
just as you cannot build a house
without a foundation, so master data
management is a vital component of
an effective information management
strategy. Master data management
provides a “single source of the truth,”
enabled through business process
management and data quality
tools and technologies, to realize
untold value.
Delivering high performance
Master data management, although
simple and cost-effective, does require
planning and a holistic approach.
Organizations on the path to high
performance also need to consider:
• Metadata management—organizes
the data and information related
to the data. Metadata management
focuses on the documentation aspect
of the analytics program, typically
providing business, operational and
technical metadata—critical detail
across every aspect of the
• Data governance—the long-term
viability of a large-scale data vision
is dependent upon an organization
successfully handling the dynamics
(people and processes) attributed
to data governance.
A solid platform for growth
Effective master data management
uses fewer resources, centralizes data,
improves customer experiences and
increases overall efficiencies to foster
success and growth. Purchasing
decisions are driven by so many
factors, but with today’s constant
bombardment of information, being
able to understand buying preferences
to effectively target and retain
customers is essential. From the
consumer’s viewpoint, lack of time and
desire for choice are key elements in
decision making—and consumers are
fully prepared to use digital channels
to ensure they get the best price.
Master data management can
positively benefit an organization’s
ability to accelerate more agile,
flexible systems such as embracing
a systems-oriented architecture
approach. What is more, with
information scattered across a
number of different sources, a holistic
solution saves time in the short term
and positions organizations
competitively in the long term.
In this way, rather than spending
time looking in multiple places for
elusive information, organizations can
focus on achieving high performance.
Mastering data for high
A leading multinational chemical
company invited Accenture to
help it implement a master data
management strategy. The strategy
included a widely supported business
case, solution architecture, legacy
retirement plan and comprehensive
five-year phased project
implementation plan. The company
standardized and streamlined
operations to provide a “single source
of truth” for all applications, optimize
and enhance productivity by using
key enterprise data and improve
sourcing decision making and costs.
The resulting aggregate customer
information placed them in a strong
position to not only achieve high
performance through revenue
growth but also improve profitability
by reducing manual effort and
the costs of customer contact.
Efficiency is now improved because
the company’s customer service team
members have single entry, accurate
and complete customer data while
also having access to a role-specific
task inbox and notifications of
workflow status. Management has
insight into point-in-time intelligence
on all ongoing customer projects,
which improves their ability to act
in a timely manner and make more
informed decisions. The company is
now effectively managing credit risk—
and freeing up cash for additional
energy transactions. The solution has
resulted in a significant increase in
data integrity across multiple data
stores, lower data errors due to a
single “record of reference,” faster
time to bill with increased invoice
accuracy and simpler communication
between workgroups. The flexible
and standardized data model within
the solution gives this chemical
company a platform for greater
harmonization with other
organization-wide master
data initiatives.
A global petroleum company
operating in more than 100 countries
had master data spread across more
than six transaction platforms—each
supporting business units and teams
with their own terminology, code
sets, processes and demand for the
same data elements. Redundant
customer data entry, manual handoffs
between teams and minimal system
controls for validating data accuracy
significantly increased the company’s
risk of data corruption, transaction
errors and, ultimately, collections and
credit exposure. Also, unstructured
data governance together with the
lack of a consolidated view of
customer master data, limited the
company’s flexibility to provide
fast, competitive customer service.
Accenture developed a two-phased
program to clean the data to
eliminate incomplete, incorrect and
inconsistent entries and used portal-
based workflows to reduce 100
business processes down to 23 core
variations. With quality data and
processes defined, master data
management was deployed as the
data repository to enable, simplify
and streamline the new business
Checklist for master data
• Do you have an information
management strategy?
• Are you challenged by where
to start with master data
• Is master data management a part
of your information management
• Are you running more than one
master data management program
or project?
• Does your data warehouse have
any quality or inconsistency issues?
• Are you calculating the return
on investment or total cost of
ownership for your master data
management program?
• Are you experiencing challenges in
realizing value from your existing
master data management program?
Cultivating high performance through
information management: Data management
and architecture, Accenture 2007
Copyright © 2009 Accenture
All rights reserved.
Accenture, its logo, and
High Performance Delivered
are trademarks of Accenture.
For more information on how
Accenture can help your organization
use master data management to
achieve high performance, visit
About Accenture
Accenture is a global management
consulting, technology services and
outsourcing company. Combining
unparalleled experience, comprehensive
capabilities across all industries and
business functions, and extensive
research on the world’s most successful
companies, Accenture collaborates
with clients to help them become
high-performance businesses and
governments. With more than 180,000
people serving clients in over 120
countries, the company generated net
revenues of US$23.39 billion for the
fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2008. Its
home page is www.accenture.com.
About Accenture
Management Services
Accenture Information Management
Services is a global cross-industry
organization focused on bringing
clients solutions to better manage
their business, interact with customers
and make strategic, financial and
operational decisions. Working across
Accenture’s service lines and industry
groups, this network of 16,000
professionals specializes in information
management services including
business intelligence and analytics,
portals and content management and
data management and architecture.
For more information about Accenture
Information Management Services,
visit www.accenture.com/information