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Enterprise Data Management: Where to Start

If you are planning to introduce enterprise data management (EDM) into your organization, it can be difficult to find how to start. Enterprise data management refers to the process of inventorying and governing your business’s data (and of course having the organization adopt these processes). In other words, your employees need to be able to create, integrate, retrieve, deliver, and manage data for internal and external applications while maintaining data integrity. Since EDM incorporates many different functions, planning processes and verifying implementation become essential. This is something we touch on later, but let’s start off by understanding why EDM is important and beneficial. 

What are the Benefits of Enterprise Data Management?

When you make data management a priority, you are ensuring data quality, security, and availability throughout the organization. This benefits your team in a number of ways: 

  1. Access to high-quality data for accurate analysis
  2. The data security and management practices are in compliance with regulations 
  3. The data is consolidated across multiple sources for better efficiency 
  4. Consistent data architecture that is scalable as business needs change

Notice that high data quality tops the list. Data quality is measured by factors such as accuracy, completeness, consistency, reliability, and timeliness. We have written extensively about all these factors in our five-part series on how to conduct a data quality assessment. By exploring data quality, you will be in a better position to identify data errors and assess whether the data in your systems is fit to serve its intended purpose.

One of the most important aspects of data quality is deduplication. Duplicate records clog up all sorts of operations. In the sales and marketing areas, duplicates decrease the efficacy of marketing automation campaigns and force sales teams to waste time chasing invalid prospects or cleaning the data manually. In worst case scenarios, sales teams have been known to disregard the information in their CRM and rely on other systems for accurate data. If you are using Salesforce as your CRM, DataGroomr can help you cleanse your data of duplicates without any setup or configuration.   

Now that we know the benefits of enterprise data management and why it is important, we can move on to the framework. 

Build an Enterprise Data Management Framework 

As we mentioned earlier, enterprise data management encompasses a broad range of policies some of which include: 

  • Data Governance – Data Governance is the processes and procedures that organizations use to manage, utilize, and protect their data. Think of data governance as the who, what, when, where, and why for your data.
  • Data Architecture – Data architecture defines the processes of capturing, transforming and delivering usable data to business users. A prerequisite to this is the identification of  key stakeholders and their requirements for this data.. 
  • Data Integration – Data integration is the practice of consolidating data from disparate sources into a single dataset. As more and more raw and uncleansed data is coming in from many different sources, this has arisen as a major challenge to many organizations’ data quality requirements. 
  • Reference and Master Data – According to Gartner, master data is the consistent and uniform set of identifiers and extended attributes that describes the core entities of the enterprise including customers, prospects, accounts, etc.
  • Data Quality – There are many ways to define data quality, but pretty much all definitions have one common denominator.  High quality data will satisfy the requirements of its intended use. 

As you can see, Enterprise Data Management is an umbrella term that encompasses many different factors, processes, and components.  So where should you start? Let’s explore this in the next section. 

Start with an Enterprise Data Management Strategy

A good place to start is to outline your goals. Take a close look at the systems you already have in place and identify areas you can improve. Some possible questions to explore at this stage include: 

  • Do employees have a secure way of sharing information with one another? 
  • Do you have a data backup and recovery system in place? 
  • Are your data management policies in compliance with the regulation in your industry such as HIPPA, FINRA, and other laws?
  • Are they capturing all of the invoice data?

It is worth pointing out that if you identify gaps when asking the questions above, sometimes there are simple fixes. For example, let’s say that you identify that data backup is lacking. This can easily be solved by investing into a reliable cloud or on-premise backup solution that meets your organization’s storage and data recovery needs. When we shift to data quality, there are some quick fixes there as well. Many data quality tools provide assessments right out of the box. If you are a Salesforce user, DataGroomr offers this type of report, even with the free trial. 

More complex issues may require a strategic approach that involves the IT department and other technology stakeholders in your organization. You should aim to create a comprehensive plan that includes things like creating an enterprise data governance strategy and assignment of roles and responsibilities to team members. Which brings us to the question of who should be involved in the EDM process? 

Who are the EDM Stakeholders? 

Just like with many organization-wide initiatives, you will likely need buy-in. Try to get a C-level executive to sponsor the program and be its backer. Identify this person as early as possible in the process and make sure to select someone who is able to allocate the needed financial and human resources to the project. Another important role will be the data steward who will be responsible for understanding which data is collected and where it is maintained. This individual should also have a good understanding of how specific data affects business processes and decision-making. Finally, there needs to be a data governance leader who will be responsible for overseeing and implementing the actual data management project, as well as, the selection of tools needed for implementing EDM policies. 

Choose an Enterprise Data Management Solution

Pulling all applications together enterprise-wide can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are a multitude of Enterprise Data Management solutions. The benefits arise from how the solution will be integrated to the business, so it’s important to first recognize the needs of the organization and then search for a suitable solution. As noted in Predictive Analytics Today, “A centralized platform enables the organization to ensure total control over the information, including its historical data.” Master Data Management software will unify all business applications, creating a central point of reference. Some highly regarded solutions are discussed in the article in Predictive Analytics Today and include Ataccama, Profisee, Talend Master Data Management, Orchestra Networks, IBM Infosphere Master Data Management, SAP Master Data Governance, Oracle Product Hub, and more. Capterra also provides a list of the Top Ten Data Management Solutions

Trust DataGroomr to Help You Improve Your Data Quality

DataGroomr uses machine learning to identify and merge duplicate records in your Salesforce environment. This distinguishes it from other deduplication tools on the AppExchange since those require you to create a lot of rules, which is very time-consuming. On the other hand, DataGroomr does not require any setup or configuration. Simply connect it to your Salesforce and start deduping right away. 

Try DataGroomr for yourself today with our free, 14-day trial

Steven Pogrebivsky

Steve Pogrebivsky has founded multiple successful startups and is an expert in data and content management systems with over 25 years of experience. Previously, he co-founded and was the CEO of MetaVis Technologies, which built tools for Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce and other cloud-based information systems. MetaVis was acquired by Metalogix in 2015. Before MetaVis, Steve founded several other technology companies, including Stelex Corporation which provided compliance and technical solutions to FDA-regulated organizations.