Data, Data, Data: What Procurement Needs to Know About Master Data Management

By Source One Management Services

October 11, 2016 at 7:27 AM

By Elizabeth Skipor, Senior Analyst, Source One Management Services

Every industry from medical to retail uses and relies on data transparency every day. With the eruption of digital technologies, companies are collecting large quantities of data about consumers’ shopping behaviors, both online and in-store; usually referred to as Big Data. While the original consumer data collectors were website and cellphone applications, today this trend is nurtured by innovative, connected products. Think fitness trackers, Smart TVs, home systems, such as Google’s Nest Thermostat which adjusts heating and cooling as it learns home owners’ habits, and much more – all of which gather and transfer information every second of every day.

So, how is this data used? With the ability to track users’ actions online, marketers have the ammunition to derive and deliver targeted advertising and content, with the hopes of increasing sales. Today, intelligent, modern technology in physical products, such as a smartphones, allow businesses to collect new types of information. For example, collecting users’ locations via GPS (Global Positioning System) allow for geo-targeting. This granularity of personal consumer data collection allows rapid, customized, individualized and constant adaptation to users’ preferences. These practices have become central to the shopper’s individual experience and more important a retail marketing department’s dream, unlocking the code to a shopper’s wants and needs. This type of data can also allow pricing departments to price products regionally and even by store level based on price preferences of their shoppers. 

To provide a quick example of another industry’s use for this type of data, according to, today’s data streams have made it possible to tackle complex challenges in fields such as health care, environmental protection and urban planning. Let’s look at Medtronic’s digital blood-glucose meter, for example. The meter wirelessly connects an implanted sensor to a device that alerts patients and health care providers when blood-glucose levels are nearing concerning thresholds, allowing preemptive treatments.

The big question is, how is the data managed and regurgitated? According to Gartner, Master Data Management, or MDM, comes into play for a trusted, single view of product data. MDM product data solutions are products that can:

  • Support global identification, linking, and synchronization of product information across varied data sources through semantic reconciliation of master data.
  • Create and manage a single, centralized system of data record.
  • Enables delivery of a single product view to all users to support various business needs. 
  • Support ongoing data master data requirements through monitoring and corrective action procedures. 

The need for businesses to maintain a consistent, sharable, user-friendly interface to obtain data is at an all-time high and has been a struggle for businesses of all sizes to obtain. Not only is the need at an all-time high, but the importance of it has been rapidly increasing and becoming a requirement within various industries. The ability to achieve this type of product master data and management is especially crucial for customer-centric organizations. The business drivers that are surfacing the need for a MDM solution and a single-view of product information include obtaining the ability to cross and upsell products to drive increased revenues, reduced time-to-market for new products (the time it takes a product to hit the shelves), better multichannel and omni-channel integration, increased customer service during pre and post-sale, increased supply chain transparency and increased internal compliance. 

The MDM solution can house data such as customer product, material, make-up, services, asset, vendor and financial information; information can become as granular to where ingredients in a food-based product can be traced back to its origin. As data gets this granular, the more room for human-error; MDM allows and ensures quality and consistency of the data. There are many companies that can offer this type of solution, but who are the top players who can manage this cluster of data and ensure its path to the user is streamlined, consistent, and accurate? Gartner’s Magic Quadrant has identified the following companies as the leaders in this industry: Oracle, Stibo Systems, Riversand, IBM and TIBCO Software. 

There are also other niche players in the market, but not are applicable across all industries or avenues. For example, some solutions some are built only for e-commerce, multichannel businesses. 

As we only scratched the surface of the need and importance of MDM and data transparency, this should provide a high-level view of what data transparency and management are and what they can derive. 

Elizabeth Skipor.jpg 

Elizabeth Skipor is a Senior Analyst at Source One Management Services, helping mid-market to Fortune 500 companies achieve cost savings and budget optimization through strategic sourcing and contract management best practices.  Before joining Source One, she was an assistant category manager/category specialist for a major U.S. retailer, and a global inventory manager for an international and domestic garment component manufacturer. 


Tags: purchasing Supply management Procurement Technology sourcing Big Data
Category: News Article

Source One Management Services

Source One has been a leading Procurement Service Provider supplementing client resources with cost reduction, strategic sourcing services and spend management solutions since 1992. 

Source One's experienced sourcing professionals work closely with clients' in-house staff to reduce spend, optimize existing budgets and increase the efficiency of operations by using proven sourcing and purchasing strategies, best practices, innovative technologies, and an unsurpassed database of market intelligence to help clients achieve the maximum level of savings possible. Ongoing monitoring and monthly audit processes further ensure that savings remain competitive and sustainable. 

The Source One process develops a secure and responsive supply base that is capable of providing quality, delivery, costs, technologies, flexibility and services to meet the current and future business needs. Source One has strategic sourcing and cost reduction solutions for businesses of all sizes, from the small to the mid-market and including the Fortune 500. More on the web at

Please add a comment

You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »

Related Content

Thought Leadership and the Demise of Your Third-Party MRO Outsourcing Program: Part 4

George E. Krauter

When one defines third-party MRO (3PMRO) success, one assumes that fundamental operations are being executed and that expectations are being met (i.e., ROI goals are surpassed} Read More

Guidance for Addressing the New Talent Acquisition Challenge

Dennis Bouley

The US Labor Department reported in March of this year that there were 6.6 million job openings, a record high. Although most of us applaud these numbers Read More

Millennials in Supply Chain Management Seek Advancement and Development Opportunities

Marisa Brown

Millennials working in the supply chain management field don’t fit the mold that the older generation assumes for them. APQC’s recent study Read More

Supplier Profiles


Staples Advantage is the one supplier that offers all the business solutions you need, all with the expertise of a specialty vendor. Read More


It started in 1972 with an idea, a new concept in distribution. Today, Digi-Key Corporation is one of the fastest-growing electronic component distributors in the World. The stimulus for this growth is Digi-Key's customer-centered business philosophy… Read More

Lunney Advisory Group

Lunney Advisory Group was founded in 2007. Our firm is not your typical consulting company. Some members of our firm are highly qualified and experienced industry executives/practitioners while others are full time or adjunct university professors.… Read More


What CEOs Expect Of Purchasing

Guest Contributor

Procurement and supply management leaders have a seat at the table, and management’s expectations are high. But what do CEOs really want, and is purchasing delivering on these expectations? This webcast looks at how procurement and supply management … Read More

Growing Purchasing Influence On Indirect Spending

Guest Contributor

At world-class companies, purchasing’s influence touches just about every area of spending. But, how exactly do procurement teams get to the point where other departments approach them for help with sourcing such indirect categories as human resource… Read More

Procurement-Finance Collaboration

Guest Contributor

Procurement & finance are two business functions which are often at loggerheads with each other. One reason for this is the lack of perception alignment on an important metric of procurement and finance performance - 'savings'. Read More