The Importance of Good ERP System Master Data
Sep 17 2014
How’s your M3 system master data? If your system data is complete, accurate, and you have procedures in place to ensure its ongoing accuracy, then well done and stop reading now!
Everyone else: you aren’t alone…
Why is bad ERP system data so prevalent?
Maintaining system data is a headache that most companies have to deal with it – the pain of incomplete, incorrect and obsolete data. At some point, most likely during an implementation, your business no doubt spent a lot of time and money getting its master data right. Unfortunately, the day after that perfect situation, everything starts to change. Every company experiences change that affects data – staff and suppliers fluctuate, new products are launched, old products become obsolete, trading terms vary, and processes transform. On top of this, users are not always perfect when entering data – we all know that a new, inexperienced user who hasn’t had extensive training will tend to copy information,and if that information is not right already they are just snowballing the problem, not to mentnion updating all the related data like units of measure, addresses etc. Then, sometimes, well-intentioned attempts at data cleanups in the system will have knock on affects – breaking links elsewhere in the system.
What are the consequences?
Unless a system’s data is rigorously and regularly maintained, data problems emerge too quickly. The problems accumulate and can have a significant impact on your ERP system – it will lead to bad transactions flowing through the system and impact the reporting and analysis of your business.
All in all, as messy as it is, it’s a familiar story to many.
How do you cure the problem?
Well, as they say, the best cure is prevention, but that doesn’t help . So the next best step is to fix the problem you have and then commit to preventing it in the future.
Firstly, fixing the problem you have will require a data audit. This should encompass both a technical audit, which covers the nuts and bolts of the M3 database. This audit should identify missing, innaccurate and out of date data, as well as queries that don’t conform to the right business rules. You should also complete a functional audit, which would check that processes are being adhered to and that they are actually relevant to your business. It includes ongoing change management of staff training, skill sets, documentation and importantly operational checklists.
Secondly, you need to make sure you are in a position to rigorously maintain your M3 system data going forward.