Data & Intelligence

Master Data – Why is it different from CRM?

Lot of people confuse the Master Data Management with CRM. Gartner defines the ‘Three Rings of Information Governance’ where and what type of data is captured and how it relates to the core enterprise data (Master Data). Master Data is the common set of definitions agreed across the Enterprise.


According to Gartner, The inner ring represents master data with attributes which are mastered – meaning shared across multiple systems, departments, Business Units and has a definition and standard set from common understanding.

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The middle ring represents applications like CRM, ERP which captures the master data as part of the creation process and is used by some end users. Many companies use this as

Master Data management. This is an issue because not all systems are sharing this master data or it is governed with interest of all the parties who rely on this master data.

The outer ring represents any data which is not used by many users or used by specific group or department for their internal purposes and has no impact at enterprise level.

Master Data Management is not just a tool but spans  across people, process and technology.  As the Data management discipline evolves many applications in their own right wants to control their data model including the Master Data which may or may not be point of entry for Master Data. So it is important to understand the various levels of applications and their functionality and where Master Data should be created / co-created and managed. Every organization small or big should take charge of their core (Master Data) definition, process, management to effectively manage the information flow and accessibility. Master Data Management is becoming a common discipline in many organization however explaining why it is different from CRM or ERP is still a challenge for many organization. Even large organization are just waking up to the realization that they don’t have a Master Data Management program in place.


About the Author

Shankar RamaNathan is a Senior Enterprise Architect with 25+ years of experience in successfully developing and implementing IT strategy and Information Governance ( Master Data Management, Metadata Management, Data Quality and Data Governance) programs.

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