What Is the Master Data of a Product?

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by Lumavate | Last Updated: Feb 21, 2024

It can be easy to underestimate the value of all the data associated with your products. This is an asset in itself. Just having all the information easily accessible across departments can result in significant cost savings in labor and accuracy alone.

Having a master list of all the characteristics of a product makes marketing, sales, and service tasks immeasurably easier and saves time for members of all the teams that interact with that product. Types of master data include a product's category, SKU or product number, its description, key features, bill of materials used in its manufacture, and many other characteristics.

Even if you've never thought in these terms, you likely use product information of this sort all the time. Consider a company that sells outdoor audio equipment. A product master data example from their inventory could be all the information related to a weatherproof speaker. When their sales department is warming up for summer sales, all they have to do is check the feature list, description, and other sales listing information stored in their product master data management software. There's no hunting for the correct SKUs or feature lists. No worrying about errors. They have all the information at their fingertips when they need it.

What Is Master Data Management?

Without a good system in place, it can be challenging to keep all of a company's master data organized. There are solutions available that can help with this process. A PIM keeps a product's master data safe and organized. Who has the time to sort through file folders full of spec lists and flyers? With PIM storage, you have that information there to consult again and again.

MDMs go a step further than that. A master data management solution is a place to store not just product information, but also core business data that can include all products, suppliers, customers, financial information, and more. Storing this information in a single solution means a costly and complex implementation. It can be an expensive undertaking for a business that has not yet grown to the size to use a robust system.

While MDM has its place, a master data management (MDM) system may be too robust for your marketing department's needs.

An MDM solution provides your company with a single repository for all information across the entire business. In addition to just product data, it will also serve as a reference where you can store all information related to running your enterprise. This can make it unwieldy to implement. Some companies and departments do not require all this power.

If your marketing department is the department most often seeking product master data, a product information management (PIM) solution might be a better fit.

What Is the Difference Between PIM and MDM?

An MDM solution provides a company with a single source for all information across the entire business. This is not just product data, but a wealth of other information about the enterprise. MDM solutions are typically deployed across an enterprise. This makes their implementation extensive.

A product information management solution, by contrast, is much easier and a more useful implementation for marketing and sales teams. It stores marketing assets and other information that is used across online and print channels including websites, white papers, product brochures, print ads, product packaging, and more. Only the information needed for marketing and sales activities is stored within the PIM, meaning it is a slim system that is far easier and more economical to implement.

What Is the Best MDM Tool?

There is no one single master data management solution that will be the best choice for every single business. Which tool works best, whether it's a PIM or an MDM, will depend on your company's needs and existing tech stack.

In one master data management example, consider a company that already has a substantial investment in IBM, SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, or another company. With all this in place, using one of those companies for their MDM software makes sense.

However, your company may not be ready for one of those solutions with all their master data management tools. And, it makes no sense to spend extra time implementing a system that has functions your business may never need.

When making your choice, make an MDM tools list to see what functions you need most. Then, compare your list to the functions of top master data management tools to see which meets your needs.

You should also study Gartner's MDM reviews, as well as G2 reviews. These can help you get more information about how these tools work in real-world implementations. By studying your own needs and others' experiences, you can make the right decision for your enterprise.

The right data management tools for you will be economical to implement, easy to use, and integrates with the other apps and services your company uses. Talk to us to see if Lumavate's PIM tools are right for you.

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