6 Steps to Creating a Master Data Management Roadmap– November 15, 2017 by Sean Detwiler

Enabling or improving an organization’s Master Data Management (MDM) capabilities may seem daunting, but it is achievable with the right plan in place. The roadmap to MDM success can be implemented for a single data pillar — whether product, customer, vendor, finance or employee-related data — within the organization initially. Then, upon successful completion, the roadmap can be replicated successively on each additional data pillar. Consider these six key steps to create your roadmap:

  1. Scoping: Identify MDM priorities and scope out what and how MDM will be addressed for the highest priority items. Among the data pillars mentioned above, which causes the most pain? What key business challenges arise around each of these data pillars? Use this information to prioritize your efforts.
  2. Discovery: Conduct discovery sessions with the identified stakeholders and subject matter experts to assess and document the data, challenges and processes involved in the highest-priority data pillar. Assess data creation, maintenance and control processes, and diagram the current systems involved and the flow of data between them.
    Along the way, note any data quality issues, control risks, and business impacts. For the most problematic or highest impact data fields, conduct a data quality analysis to more accurately measure the cost of poor data quality. The output of discovery is a list of MDM business requirements and a future-state vision for how these requirements will be met.
  3. Solution Validation: Identify and validate possible solutions, particularly MDM-enabling technology solutions. How do these possible solutions align with the identified requirements? Review standard processes and configurations in the system and obtain system demonstrations to conduct a fit/gap analysis against requirements. For possible solutions, assess the change impact and how the solution would be designed, communicated and delivered to the organization. Conclude this phase of work by selecting the best solution and begin mapping a path forward.
  4. Design: Design how the solution will be implemented. This involves designing the data model for affected data fields and the data creation, maintenance and control processes. Conduct process workshops to review and confirm requirements and the future-state solution design with stakeholders. Define configurations and customizations needed, security and access settings for administrators and end users, and begin to train and communicate with constituents about master data and upcoming changes to MDM.
  5. Build and Test: Build and test the solution. Redesign MDM process sequences that align with the solution and requirements, and build and configure the application environments to specifications. Develop custom reports, interfaces, extensions, forms and workflows as needed. Write and execute test scenarios on the data creation and maintenance processes, as well as the end-to-end business transactions that use the data. Meanwhile, continue training and communications to ensure a smooth transition to the new solution.
  6. Deploy & Support: Finally, deploy and support the MDM solution. Validate that data conversions are executed properly, and transition user access to support the new data governance model and methodologies for data creation, maintenance and decommissioning processes. Continue to support the solution delivery with further communications and training, as well as troubleshooting and enhancements. Meanwhile, empower the organization’s data governance structure to ensure continued quality and outcomes. This solution delivery methodology can be redeployed for each data pillar until all priorities are addressed.

MDM challenges and complexities can be formidable, but the value in developing and continually refining MDM capabilities is immense. As the building blocks of all business information, master data cannot be overlooked. It has the power to dramatically disrupt business if not well managed, but can be equally powerful and serve as a strategic asset if properly managed and governed.


Cohen & Company is not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice. Any action taken based on information in this blog should be taken only after a detailed review of the specific facts and circumstances.