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Unifying an Enterprise Through Master Data

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Unifying an Enterprise Through Master Data

From sharing data between departments and locations To data as a common ground for enterprise unification

Master data can be described as valuable data that is shared across an organization. When exactly data becomes Master Data is unclear, but it flows through an enterprise and is used by many users in multiple departments. I propose that any data can become master data, depending on the time and place in an organization. Transactional and analytical data from one process is master data for a following process.

Not an ocean: an Archipelago

If you consider the flow of master data, an enterprise and its value chain would resemble an ocean. Data ripples through the water and touches all the other data around it. However, this is not how people like to see their enterprise.

Enterprises and their data are usually structured into a group of islands. Some islands may be connected by fairways, while others only have tiny bridges that may or may not have a ‘cross at your own risk’ sign. Of course, there are also islands that want nothing to do with the outside world.

True, dividing an organization is practical. It also induces a certain blindness to the bigger picture. Dividing the organization has its consequences. Responsibilities, goals, and objectives are set within the boundaries of the island (enterprise/company/department/branches/country). These might fit the needs of the island but may have unwanted effects for the whole archipelago.

Risks for Clustered Enterprises

There are a number of risks for enterprises that cluster their responsibilities and data. Most of these risks relate to trouble shooting and missing out on opportunities.

1: Missing signals from other clusters

Issues in an interconnected value chain affect the whole process. A problem in one part of the chain may have unwanted effects on processes that occur later or simultaneously.

2: It is hard to solve issues that span across clusters

If all clusters in an enterprise, or clusters across enterprises, do their own thing, it is difficult to standardize and analyze problems. This includes security issues and data integrity issues. When all clusters speak a different language and use different methods, it is very time consuming if not impossible to get everyone on the same page.

3: Valuable data can go missing in action

As clusters filter their data and pass on only parts of it (or none of it), valuable information gets lost. Clusters will start searching for data that has already been gathered and disposed of in other parts of the organization, using up valuable time and resources.

4: It is hard to make fact-based improvements without unwarranted effects

Improving the value chain piece by piece is always an option, but the repercussions of changes remain unclear, until they are included in the bigger picture.

Advantages of shared Master Data

Sharing relevant data may reveal unwanted effects of one cluster’s action on the other. It opens up the conversation and enables preventive measures. Master data can be the common ground where clusters meet and start solving issues on a larger scale.

An enterprise-wide approach to master data will also result in valuable insights on which data is used where and how. An industry wide approach would be even better. This will reduce the time needed to gather information and enable constructive sharing across the board. An enterprise/industry wide approach will enable better decision making and changes that benefit the whole organization.

Uniting the Enterprise with Data

The advantages of sharing data are quite clear. But how can data really unify an enterprise? I believe it starts with people. Master data is by default an overarching concept. The conversations about data and data sharing can be a great way for clusters to get to know each other and start sharing within and across enterprises.

Sharing master data, of course, but also sharing insights, experiences, and enthusiasm. People will appreciate the hard work of other companies and departments that result in valuable data for their own activities.

Of course, there will be people who feel that data should be the responsibility for the IT-departments. They will have to realize that data holds valuable information that can benefit their operations and make their life easier.

Working towards patient-focus

When clusters have opened up and communication has started, new possibilities arise for the enterprise and the life science industry. Clusters can stop being islands with separate goals and start discussing the most important end goals: those that benefit the patients.

Louis Hendriks (CEO,Global Value Web)

Louis Hendriks (CEO,Global Value Web) shares his vision on master data as a unifying factor for enterprises in life sciences.

Enterprises in life sciences like to cluster their activities in branches, locations, or departments. This may be practical, but it also inhibits constructive changes that benefit the whole value chain. Sharing and discussing master data may be the uniting factor.

Global Value Web is a network of data experts and technology partners that allow organizations to make the most out of their data. We offer valuable insights across the value chain that will lead to more efficient production processes and reliable quality products. We focus on a better execution today, while keeping in mind the challenges for tomorrow. With our shared knowledge and expertise, we prepare your data flow for a bright and profitable future.

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