Before you implement or invest in master data management solutions, it is important to understand what are the scenarios in which you can manage master data, and which one works best for your organization. There are several business units that have dependencies on master data, and it is important to have the right master data management tools that fit into your data governance strategy.
Since we have built the Master Data Management suite (MDM suite) for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management, we understand the challenges our customers and prospects face when it comes to deciding on a scenario for their master data. Our MDM suite consists of master data entry management – Data Entry Workflow, master data management – Master Data Management Studio, and data quality management – Data Quality Studio. These help customers with data entry governance, quality data creation and updating, data protection, and data distribution.
In this blog, we will cover the different scenarios in which companies can manage their master data in a flexible, organized, and seamless way. This will help you decide what would be the best way to implement your data governance solutions and how you can manage your master data.
But before we dive into the scenarios, let’s look at the challenges that inhibit master data management within D365 F&SCM.
What are the challenges within your D365 F&SCM ERP environment that inhibit master data management?
Although Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management does have several benefits that help you manage data it presents certain limitations that inhibit master data management.
- Although D365 F&SCM allows cross-company data sharing, it can only share to a fixed subset of companies, and it cannot share with external sources.
- Not all master data can be shared as it is limited to setup data and customers/ vendors(but not financial dimensions).
- It doesn't support dual write as cross-company data sharing is managed on an SQL level.
- D365 cannot control or manage the data shared, so you cannot share selective data records to specific companies within D365.
- You cannot manage data entry, which also adds to security risks since data can be entered, duplicated, or changed without supervision as there are no rules in the standard.
- Besides the standard validations, there are no extra control options to control the data quality at creation unless you customize every field. This also leads to poor data quality problems, so if you input garbage in, you get garbage out.
- There are no options to manage local data once it is shared.
- There is no way to schedule master data sharing. It can only be shared immediately.
What are the scenarios to manage your master data in Microsoft Dynamics 365?
When you are handling master data, you want limited and controlled access for filling in master data assigned to the responsible people such as product owners or data stewards creating certain critical master data records such as product data or customer data. Additionally, it would be great if they had the tools to do so in a certain order, with a workflow with sequential or parallel steps as there are dependent teams that need to fill out other sections of the form. You also need a method for approvals for internal and external validations to check addresses, bank account details, and so on.
If you need to enrich imported data, you can add rules for data quality, use a workflow to ensure critical fields are not missed, and approvals are carried out before that data can be created in the master company. Then if you want to release the data, you can do that from the master company inside D365 F&SCM to local companies and external systems. You can also receive data from external systems such as a CRM system or PLM system and then release it in D365 F&SCM.
Additionally, for change request management, you can use our data entry, quality, and master data management tools in a flexible way. And there are additional features that make our solutions secure, such as Dynamic Field Security which allows you to limit access to fields.
Therefore, using our MDM suite of solutions there are multiple ways for you to manage your master data and ensure data governance.
Below we share 3 scenarios that you can consider while planning your data governance strategy.
Scenario 1: An external Master Data Management System
There are several Master Data Management (MDM) solutions that are independent of ERP, PLM, WMS systems and have to be integrated with your business systems. Implementing an independent MDM system can be a big undertaking especially if you have other business systems that need to be integrated. Unless you ensure data creation processes are carried out in the MDM system, the solution will need to learn the data structure for these integrated systems, the data owners, and the data cleaning processes. But even then, you cannot track and manage changes made in the ERP system which then presents a problem for your master data quality in the ERP.
Scenario 2: Dynamics 365 is your master data system
If Dynamics 365 F&SCM is your core system in the IT infrastructure, then you can use the ERP as the master data management system. And then using an integration solution, you can ensure to connect to other systems such as WMS, CRM, MES & PLM systems as these need master data or could be owners of certain master data records. This way you can ensure it is easier to manage, clean, secure, and control master data management inside the ERP.
Our solution fits in perfectly in such a scenario as all our solutions in the Master Data Management suite are embedded in D365 F&SCM and built using the same business logic and can therefore access D365 data and quickly establish relations. Our solutions are also easy to implement, manage, and learn, and allow you to optimize the full potential of the ERP system.
Scenario 3: Master data system integrated with D365 F&SCM
In our third scenario, once you have the MDM system centrally and you have D365 F&SCM as well in the equation, there are still a lot of master data challenges in the ERP. While these two systems will need to be integrated and will also be integrated with other systems using an application integration solution such as Connectivity Studio, the challenges in D365 F&SCM could be covered by some of our solutions. This could be another scenario to manage master data by combining the strengths of an external MDM system and To-Increase’s MDM Suite.
Our MDM Studio solution can integrate with external MDM systems and allow you to share your clean and correct master data from the ERP to do that. And using Data Quality Studio and Data Entry Workflow, you can enrich imported data before distributing it as master data.
Which scenario are you considering for master data management?
If you consider the first scenario where you have an external MDM system connected to all your systems and your ERP is not Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain, then we would not be the best fit for your organization. But if you do use D365 F&SCM and are considering a way to improve data management within your ERP, irrespective of the scenario you choose, you can consider our Master Data Management suite for improving data quality, data entry, data security, and master data distribution in D365 F&SCM.
If you do want to explore our solutions, you can browse our blog explaining the Pros & Cons of To-Increase’s Data Governance Solutions for Dynamics 365 and download our factsheet from the link below. If you have any other questions, do reach out to our experts.