Master Data

Master data refers to data units that are non-transactional, top level and relational business entities or elements that are joinable in observable ways. An organization may use master data on more than one platform or across a variety of software programs or technologies.1

Master Data - Other Definitions

No matter where it comes from, the definition of master data has several common themes:

source: WinShuttle

Deciding what information to share as master data typically involves several considerations:

Types of Data4
Master data is a single source of common business data used across multiple systems, applications, and/or processes. Yet other data types and distinctions exist:

Master Data versus Reference Data5
Master data is defined as data about the key business entities of an organization. Examples include customer, product, organizational structure, and chart of accounts. A common question about master data is, What is the difference between master data and reference data? Some people take the position that they are the same thing, but it can be argued that not all reference data is master data. For example, lookup and code tables that are used to encode information, such as state names and order codes, are not strictly master data tables. The dividing line between master data and reference data is not always clear cut. One solution is to break master data into two types: master reference data and master business entity data. Master reference data has well defined and simple data structures, has simple keys and governance rules, is often standardized (US state codes, for example), involves only a few applications, and is reasonably stable. Master business entity data, such as customer, on the other hand, is usually ill-defined, has complex data structures and relationships, requires compound and intelligent keys and complex governance rules, is not usually standardized, involves many business processes, and changes frequently. Does this distinction really matter? When developing data quality management and master data management systems it can do. Cleaning and managing master reference status is a reasonable easy job. The opposite is true for master business entity data.

Master Data Governance
Master Data governance is the overall management of the quality, integrity, availability, usability and security of the master data of the organization. The governance also refers to the consistent management of data completeness, accuracy and relevancy of the data including business process management and risk management surrounding the handling of data in an organization. The governance strategy enables to gain visibility into your data assets and get early warning of potential data breaches

source: DataPals

Master Data Purification6
There are usually numerous reasons for Companies to embarked on a Master Data purification journey, the main goals of such an exercise are to improve business systems, business processes as well as the customer experience.

See Also»

Big Data
Data Management
Customer Data Management (CDM)
Data Cleansing
Data Mining
Business Intelligence
Data Analysis
Data Analytics
Predictive Analytics
Data Warehouse
Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW)
Metadata Management
Master Data
Master Data Management (MDM)


1Defining Master Data
2The common theme in Master Data Definitions Semarchy
3What Information is shared as Master Data? Simplicable
4Types of Data Wikipedia
5Master Data versus Reference Data BeyeNetwork
6Master Data Purification SIAM

Further Reading»