Riversand: Interview with CEO

RiversandUpen, it may seem like an obvious question, but it’s one that business execs often confuse. Can you clarify for our readers what the difference between Big Data and Master Data is?

Big Data can involve any kind of data that an enterprise stores or cares about. It is typically characterised by the 3 V’s, Volume, Velocity and Variety. Big Data includes both structured and unstructured information. Master Data refers to the key and most important reference information in an enterprise such as Customers, Products, Vendors, Locations etc. While Big Data volumes are in the petabyte order of magnitude, this would typically be very high by Master Data Management (MDM) standards. MDM records typically number a few million in an enterprise (with the exception of certain B2C customer instances of hundreds of millions). MDM systems could provide the reference information needed to make sense of Big Data Analytics. They could act as the dimensions that would drive the Big Data Analytics. We typically see MDM implementations precede a Big Data implementation.

When is Master Data Management an essential component to a business? Which particular markets and industries stand to benefit from MDM solutions the most?

Any enterprise could benefit from an MDM system. The key factors that might drive the need to implement an MDM system would be the volume and velocity of master data. If the volume is low or the information changes infrequently, an enterprise might not need a fully-fledged MDM system. We have seen a need for MDM across most industry verticals. Different domains (Product, Customer, GL etc.) could be considered important for a particular vertical but overall we see a need across most verticals.

What should organisations be considering when setting up an MDM network and how can organisations keep their data well-governed and secure in doing so?

You can think of an MDM system as one of the key backbones of your enterprise. Having said that, sometimes it can be very tough to quantify the ROI for implementing an MDM solution. So here are a few key tips we give our customers:
With the increasing adoption of mobility strategies in the way companies offer their services, is the MDM implementation process affected?

MDM systems are intended for all channels including mobile. MDM systems would feed systems that deal with mobile communications. We see this as an important trend. We have yet to see how this impacts the way an MDM system is implemented though.

Your company specializes in Product Information Management (PIM) as well as MDM. Can you explain why product data accuracy and consistency is such a necessity?

Many enterprises buy and sell products. Most transactions reference a product entity. When we think of B2B or B2C transactions, the most important entities referenced are product and customer. Given that it is natural that enterprises need accuracy and consistency while describing products; this ensures fewer errors in orders, better brand consistency across channels and better customer loyalty. Many enterprises are striving for a 360 degree view of the product. Some of the key benefits of establishing proper PIM practices are:

A term we are hearing quite frequently recently is of the ‘360˚ view of a customer’. What does this term mean to you and why are more and more companies are trying to achieve it?

Different functions in an enterprise care about customer data. The Customer Support folks care about what the customer bought, purchase history, address, support plans etc. Marketing and Sales care about demographics, profiles, loyalty programs. Multiple systems in an enterprise store different aspects of customer and related information. It is very important for an enterprise to get a 360 degree view as this gives them the best overall view of their target segment, their behaviours, trends/interests etc. This deep insight into their customers is critical in driving all kinds of corporate strategies for growth including product innovation and positioning, pricing, up-sells, cross-sells, bundles, loyalty programs, social media interactions etc.

Any final thoughts to add?

We are excited that MDM and PIM have entered the mainstream lexicon. The questions that you have asked are the questions that we hear from our customers and prospects and I hope that my answers have been helpful. Thanks for inviting me to answer these questions!