As an asset manager, you understand the importance of master data. It’s the foundation for efficient operations, seamless processing and accurate transactions. Fail to centralize or distribute it properly and you could see the negative consequences ripple through your organization.

So if everyone knows that master data is important, then why do many organizations struggle to manage it well? The short answer is that it’s tricky. But here’s the long answer…

Start with a good partner

Often, firms spend most of their time choosing the “right” data management software or vendor. A good partner is invaluable, but it’s not enough. Firms have critical roles and responsibilities related to the assessment and integration that may ultimately determine whether an initiative is a success.

Don’t forget good planning

If you’re planning to implement a new master data management solution, three key areas deserve careful consideration up front: core processing, user interfaces and workflows, and integration. Follow these six steps early on to help you prepare and stay on track:

  1. Invest in due diligence. Gather core processing requirements as early as possible, then document data sources and uses and clearly define your data model.
  2. Fine-tune quality. Reconsider and expand your data quality assessment capabilities by creating a framework that can be applied consistently across data sets.
  3. Rethink controls. This is your chance to improve controls and focus attention on the riskiest and most important areas of your business.
  4. Determine data needs. Take time to identify who needs what data when so that you can create screens that support—instead of thwart—efficient business processes.
  5. Read the report.

    Envision your data architecture. Imagine how your new data management software could fit into the bigger technology picture. Do you need to retire legacy systems or simplify data flows to make the new system work?

  6. Make sure teams are ready. Provide training and user documentation, clearly define roles and responsibilities, conduct realistic testing, and establish a mechanism for tracking bugs and gathering suggestions for improvement.

Done right, master data management software could deliver significant benefits. But take shortcuts now, and you’ll pay dearly for them in the years to come.

For more information, read InsideOps: How to Maximize Data Management Software or contact me at