Master data management is a critical success factor in creating optimal customer relationship management processes, according to research firm Gartner Inc. The firm says CRM users who avoid MDM will derive erroneous results that annoy customers, resulting in a 25 percent reduction in potential revenue gains.

"CRM leaders must understand the benefits of the MDM discipline to CRM and make it part of their CRM strategy,” Bill O'Kane, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. “MDM is critical to enabling CRM leaders to create the 360-degree view of the customer required for an optimized customer experience."

Organizations are moving to a more integrated CRM approach that focuses on the customer experience through improved customer engagement — across marketing, sales, customer service, e-commerce and all other customer-facing channels, O’Kane said. This approach requires an understanding of the customer's entire relationship and interactions with the company at any point during the customer experience.

"This single or '360-degree' view of the customer requires that all the operational master data pertaining to the customer, and often to product and service as well, be combined from all of the data silos where it currently resides," O'Kane said. "This data is then checked and cleansed for duplicates while selecting the highest quality values across all data sources for each master data attribute.”

The result is a “single version of the truth” for the master data that can then be integrated in different ways with remaining data elements specific to transactions and interactions in operational systems, O’Kane said.

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