The importance of master data cannot be overstated. Master data represents the most critical data for operations within an organization or function. It is data that can be trusted, is unlikely to change, has been verified as correct and error free, meets compliance requirements, is complete and consistent, is common to all stakeholders, and is crucial to the business’ operations.
The term “master data” is often applied to databases of business-critical information, such as customer information files, product information files and so on. This is true, these types of databases are usually the authoritative source of the master data values. That master data is typically used by other applications, such as content management systems, which must be kept in synch with changes in the authoritative source.
What can hinder the use of master data in a content migration project is inadequate resources, lack of standards, failure to implement an internal governance process, poor planning, changing direction part way through a project, and not having a business owner or champion that understands the complexities of master data.
In one example, errors occurred early in the migration phase because the master data requirements and master data interdependencies were unclear. That meant the team responsible for the migration had to unexpectedly address a lot of master data issues. Adding to the problems faced was the fact that the organization was in the process of developing and changing naming convention standards for drug products, so the data in the system and the data used for mapping were different. Finally, further problems were encountered as the company decided on a last-minute major change to its approach to handling application master data. This occurred because the business users failed to understand how the original approach would affect their user community. As a result, the project was delayed, and huge effort had to be expended to tackle the issues.
These problems can be averted with the right approach.