Master data, which may include reference data, is information that is key to the operation of business and is the primary focus of the Information Technology (IT) discipline of Master Data Management (MDM). This key business information may include data about customers, products, employees, materials, suppliers, etc. which often turns out to be non-transactional in nature. In this regard, master data can support transactional processes and operations, but its use is certainly not limited to such (analytics/reporting is another area greatly dependent on an organization's master data). Master data is often used by several functional groups and stored in different data systems across an organization and may or may not be referenced centrally; therefore, the possibility exists for duplicate and/or inaccurate master data.
Thus Master Data is that persistent, non-transactional data that defines a business entity for which there is, or should be, an agreed upon view across the organization.
Master Data Defined
Reference Data is basic business data used in a single application, system, or process.
Master Data is a single source of basic business data used across multiple systems, applications, and/or processes.
Enterprise Master Data is the single source of basic business data used across all systems, applications, and processes for an entire enterprise (all departments, divisions, companies, and countries).
Market Master Data is the single source of basic business data for an entire marketplace. Market master data is used among enterprises within the value chain. An example of Market Master Data is the UPC (Universal Product Code) found on consumer products.
Market Master Data is compatible with enterprise-specific and domain-specific systems, compliant with or linked to industry standards, and incorporated within market research analytics. Market master data also facilitates integration of multiple data sources and literally puts put everyone in the market on the same page.
Excerpted: from:Master Data Management for Media: A Call to Action for Business Leaders in Marketing, Advertising, and the Media Microsoft White Paper by Scott Taylor and Robin Laylin, January 2010
Master data and Master reference data
Master data is also called Master reference data. This is to avoid confusion with the usage of the term Master data for original data, like an original recording (see also: Master Tape). Master data is nothing but unique data there is no duplicate values.
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