Be in control of your master data

Business software is packed with important information. About your company, your customers and prospects, your contracts, your quotes, et cetera. And this huge amount of information continues to grow. Every day, data is changed and added, new meetings, notes and contact moments are registered and the amount of information therefore increases. To get a grip on your data is crucial. Starting with your master data.

What is master data?

Master data are the basic data in your system that do not or hardly change over time and are used in various processes and operations. Think about customers, suppliers, spare parts, pricing of items, et cetera. Other data, for example inventory, change continuously or become less relevant over time, such as a closed work order or maintenance contract. Master data however is crucial for your organization to successfully do business, now and in the future. So make sure you are in control!

How do you lose control over your master data?

A lack of control over your master data is often caused by one or multiple of the following:

-   Outdated technology: many legacy systems lack a good data structure and data management options.
-   Manual work: you have less control over information in your employees' heads, on paper and in filing cabinets than you have over digital information.
-   Multiple systems: storing and managing master data in multiple software systems makes things complex and confusing.
-   No or weak structure: data needs structure, no or little structure reduces the usability and value of data.
-   No or weak procedures: when procedures are missing on how data should be entered, changed, checked and by whom this is done, you lose control.

How do you gain control over your master data?

There is no golden formula for perfect control over your master data, but with these tips you come a long way:

-   Manage centrally: modern systems support the single-entry and central management of data, the ERP system is the perfect choice for central data management because of its excellent data structure and because the system is being used by the entire organization.
-   Clear agreements: set clear procedures for entering, managing, updating, changing and deleting master data, who is responsible for what?
-   Check regularly: periodically check whether your master data is correct, or whether they need to be enriched or changed.
-   Prevent data loss: set a policy to prevent data loss in the event of theft, fire, hacking, failing technology, et cetera.

Why is master data control so important?

Proper master data management increases the data quality and reduces the chance of errors within your business processes. Your entire organization becomes more effective when you are in control of your master data. Quotes are sent to the right persons, the products you offer are actually part of the assortment, you order the right spare parts from the right suppliers, you use the right prices and discounts, et cetera. And perhaps even more important: you make things easy for yourself! No duplicate entry, no incorrect data, no double-check with a colleague or with another system. In other words, time to get in control!

Peter Gerhardt is Senior Lead Consultant Logistics at Dysel and helps customers achieve maximum results with business software.