The real value of corporate data lies not in the data itself but the value it has in speeding day-to-day business transactions and in the insights that can be pulled from it.

Consider the role that data plays in the extended retail industry, the ecosystem of manufacturers, wholesalers, logistics companies and other service providers that take a product from inception to a store shelf near you. This extended supply chain is far more efficient if the key players share information on the market, the products and the customer. The first step requires sharing or synchronizing master data, which consists of the key information that describes a company's products, vendors and customers. The standardized definition of the item at the consumable level allows for all parties to be working from the same page at all times. By doing so, members of a synchronized ecosystem can operate the supply chain at maximum efficiency. Manufacturers know what to ship and how much, and can get clear insights into consumer demand. Retailers know what to expect at the receiving dock and can accurately guide their suppliers on inventory replenishment. Doing this eliminates the invoice discrepancies common in the retail world as well as reduces inventory buffers, shortens lead times and minimizes out-of-stock situations.

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