So we’ll start off by just defining what master data is. You can see here on the screen we have a sample set of data. These look like order transactions. And it has some transactional data around the order date, the quantity, but it also has obviously some data around products and customers and partners. So embedded in here is some examples of master data. So here we have the names of the items that were included in each order line item. And that, along with the item number, the description, the unit price all comprise our product master data. So that’s one example of a domain that’s embedded within this data set.We also have customer data, so the customer names and the address we ship to. That’s all an example of master data. And then we also have the seller name, which might be example of a partner, a distributor, as well. So those are three examples of master data that you can see embedded within these transactions. And then we have separately from that, the actual transactional data. So there’s a distinction that we’d like to draw between transactional data and master data, and we’ll dive into that a little more deeply here shortly.
So, master data defined. What are we really talking about when we use the term “master data”? Obviously, that leads into master data management. So master data, we typically refer to it as the nouns that describe your business. The nouns could be your customers, your products, your suppliers, your locations, and your chart of accounts; all these different things that you typically manage, these core data assets that you use within your enterprise. It is also non-transactional data. So in the prior example, we saw some transactional data as well as some master data. MDM is non-transactional data, but it describes transactions. So transactional data would be an invoice line item with the invoice number, the invoice date, and the dollar amounts for that, and then the master data would be describing that transaction further: the product that was purchased, the customer that ordered it, the vendor that supplied it, etc. So that’s the master data that we’re really concerned with in MDM.
Master Data Defined:
Master data is slowly changing. A customer could be a person or a business, and that business is changing over the course of time. So someone has a name. They might have an address. That address might change because either the business moved or the individual moved. But those changes are fairly slow-moving, right? So the nature of a person or a business or a product typically evolves slowly over time.There is reference data that supports the management of master data. So in the context of, the product domain, there’s a lot of reference data sets that we use to describe the product. So the color of the product, the packaging of the product, the size, the weight, etc., those are all reference data elements that help describe a product.
So when we talk about a given master data domain, that domain is defined by all the attributes that describe it. So it’s all the attributes of a product or all the attributes of a customer. So those attributes are the properties of it. And then there’s also relationships with the master data. So this organization rolls up to that organization or this product is made up of these components. So in addition to just the master data itself, there’s also relationships that we’re looking to maintain and manage, as well.
So the key thing is that master data is important data. In your organization, if you look at the totality of the data that you have in storage, master data is a relatively small amount of data from a volume perspective, but it’s typically some of the more complex data that you have and it’s also the information that’s most valuable to maintain and manage. So having an accurate representation of your customers is a very valuable exercise, even though your customer list or your master customer list is a relatively small amount of information in the grand scheme of the data you have within
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