Jeff Wilts wasn’t at Canadian Tire at the start of the retailer’s master data management effort early in 2012. But the associate vice president of information management for the Toronto-based chain is now part of the team reinforcing the value of MDM, plotting the next enterprise-wide capabilities and maintaining lines of communication to guide the program into its next phases.

Canadian Tire, ubiquitous across the provinces, specializes in automotive sales and services, but with the addition of an active Web sales portal also operates like U.S. “big box” retailers in their sales of everything from kitchen and bath fixtures to sporting equipment. To get a handle on its more than 12 million retail customers, split across two data repositories, Canadian Tire started with data cleansing and customer information completeness rules similar to its retail banking division, which provided a “good handle” on its loyalty program customers and those in its COSTAR automotive software system. With that technical background, the MDM effort was woven into the company’s mission toward customer-centered retailing, making reliable data something that “permeates thinking.”

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