Compiling and tracking quality information can be difficult enough for an enterprise cranking out one type of product. What about a company involved in nearly 1 million different products for 150 international retailers, connected by 6,000 distributors?

That was the situation for Daymon Worldwide and its senior IT director Abhi Beniwal, who this year rolled out its “Gold Standard” master data management initiative after three years of development. Beniwal said matching expectations from business gave guidance on the actual needs with Daymon’s data. This aided a direct plan for its disparate information sources and outlets. Tinkering with data modeling specific to product development and distribution was a must in the MDM program, as was establishing mapping capabilities for users across the enterprise.

The results? Reduction of incorrect deliveries, development of new metrics on product development, and maintenance and monitoring on speed to market, all of which brought “data to life,” Beniwal said. Still developing from the MDM program, provided by Kalido, are supply chain efficiencies and newfound information to and from Daymon’s retailers like Costco and Meijer.

“At the end of the day, what we have is a standard product catalog, by supplier, by customers, where we can see what brand they carry, what they don’t carry and also provide information back where their data quality is not right,” Beniwal said.

Beniwal was one of Information Management’s “25 Top Information Managers of 2011.” For a slide show of winners, click here.

The goal was to provide more than soft benefits, or data for data’s sake. Beniwal and his team of more than four dozen IT officers wanted something that gave tangible access and results on the business side, as well as integration and shared returns with business counterparts and syndicated information providers.

“It’s not anymore where you’re like, ‘I wish we could,’ or ‘I would if I had time.’ We are not in that place. You don’t have a choice anymore. If you want to really make a difference in a business, you have to spend more time sharing and you have to spend more time running your information business,” said Beniwal.

Going forward, Beniwal foresees two big driving forces behind data in the retail space. Cloud computing provides opportunities for agility and quick data apprehension, on premise or off-site, that could provide particular opportunities for companies managing many products and suppliers like Daymon, which has a pilot virtualization program in place. Secondly, enterprise resource planning will continue to be refined, particularly with tracking the speed of the product development and distribution process, he said.

“Expectations and the time people could wait in the past and people can wait now is very different, and I think that’s because all of the competing forces that people have – internally, externally, with consumers, everything,” Beniwal said. “Every IT group and every business is struggling with the challenge of how to get something out faster. People can’t wait. If something isn’t going to be there after two years, as good as it could be, then I think it’s irrelevant.”

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