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MDM implementation in retail: best practices during strategy phase to avoid common mistakes

Implementing Master Data Management (MDM) in retail companies can be a complex undertaking but is a must for organizations that want to overcome the recession that is coming upon us.

In the retail competitive landscape companies that have turned their focus from a product-centric strategy to a customer-centric vision are winning the game. Although, a conscious data management strategy should be put in place for this vision to become a reality.

Though most retail industry executives recognize the importance of focusing their digital transformation efforts on improving customer experience, they struggle to align their data management strategy with this goal. – Three Key Points on How Master Data Management Enables Digital Transformation in Retail – Infoverity

To avoid common strategy mistakes during an MDM implementation project in retail, it’s important to follow best practices that ensure successful implementation. In Infoverity’s experience we have seen many common mistakes related to scoping and data cleansing, but also related to the difficulties of involving the right stakeholders in the project, at the right time. In this article, we cover the 5 best practices that we recommend to all of our MDM retail clients during a strategy phase.

MDM implementation in retail - Table of Contents

5 Best practices for a successful MDM implementation in retail

Here are five key best practices for MDM implementation in a retail company:

1. Define clear objectives and scope of your MDM implementation:

Clearly define the objectives and scope of your MDM implementation project. Getting a holistic view of customer data and being able to deliver custom experiences and product offerings to their clients are the most common objectives of an MDM implementation in retail. Taking this into account, the implementation will involve multiple domains such as products, customers, suppliers, and locations.

Not being aware of what is the main business objective of the implementation and not defining what domains should be considered in the project scoping properly are 2 common mistakes that can be avoided in a previous data strategy phase.

2. Involve stakeholders from the beginning:

MDM implementation impacts various business functions within a retail company. Involving stakeholders from different departments, such as IT, data governance, marketing, sales, and operations, from the early stages of the project is mandatory for the project’s success.

“Large projects tend to change as they progress. If a project has been effectively “scoped” at the beginning, then approving and managing these changes will be easier. When documenting a project’s scope, stakeholders should be as specific as possible to avoid scope creep.” – TechTarget

Engage them in defining the requirements, identifying data sources, and establishing data governance policies. By involving stakeholders, you ensure that their needs and concerns are considered, and you increase the chances of successful adoption and alignment across the organization

3. Conduct thorough data analysis and cleansing before your MDM implementation begins:

One of the common mistakes made in a strategy phase of an MDM implementation project in retail is to underestimate the amount of work that needs to be done for analyzing existing data sources. Many companies don’t know all the sources of their data due to siloed areas and duplicated systems. Before implementing MDM, conduct a thorough analysis of your existing data sources.

Furthermore, identify data quality issues, inconsistencies, duplicates, and gaps. Cleanse and standardize the data to ensure accuracy and uniformity across systems, only then will you be able to integrate all your data systems across the whole organization. A comprehensive data analysis and cleansing process will set a solid foundation for your MDM implementation and improve the overall quality of your data.

4. Take an iterative and phased approach:

MDM implementation in the retail industry is a complex and time-consuming process. To manage the complexity effectively, it’s advisable to take an iterative and phased approach. Breaking down the implementation into manageable phases, each addressing a specific data domain or business area is the solution to this common mistake during strategy phases of an MDM implementation.

MDM QuickStart approach of Infoverity solves this common problem.

The main goal of this approach is to provide significant and rapid organizational value within a reduced time frame, compared to the normal duration of an MDM project. For example, in the product domain landscape, Infoverity has implemented multiple 12-week PIM QuickStart implementations, enabling clients to modernize their product data management processes at a rapid pace and realize the bene­fits of consolidated product content.

Discover more about Infoverity’s MDM QuickStart

Do you want to know more about MDM QuickStart and the benefits for your specific industry? 👉 Ask for a meeting with an industry expert

This approach allows you to demonstrate value early on, learn from the implementation process, and adapt as needed. It also minimizes the risk of disrupting core business operations.

5. Provide training and change management after the MDM implementation:

MDM implementation often requires changes in processes, roles, and responsibilities. It’s crucial to provide adequate training and change management support to ensure smooth adoption by employees. Educate the users on the benefits of MDM, train them on new tools and processes, and address any concerns or resistance they may have. Engage with the users throughout the implementation, provide ongoing support, and monitor the impact of the changes. Strong change management practices will help you drive acceptance and maximize the value derived from MDM.

By following these best practices, a retail company can avoid common strategy mistakes during MDM implementation and increase the chances of a successful and impactful deployment.

MDM implementation in retail: Our Solution

The benefits of the master data management solution implementation go beyond improving customer experience. By implementing MDM, organizations are reducing operational costs and enabling analytics. The best results will be achieved by sticking to a proven approach, and we recommend following the Infoverity FlexiFrame® strategy and implementation framework for master data management. FlexiFrame® helps to choose the right strategy, identify benefits, and get the most out of MDM solutions for retail and e-commerce organizations.