Finding the best MDM System for your organization

In today’s market, there’s an abundance of MDM systems to choose from, and it may not always be exactly clear which one is right for you.


Even though all MDM solutions offer the same base functionality – managing your organization’s master data – each has their own strengths and weaknesses. To help you better understand how to select the right MDM system for your organization, we can support you with valuable insights gained from our hands-on experience in working with these solutions.

When shopping for an MDM solution, it is important to look at your own organization and its processes regarding master data management. Try to not only focus on the current way of working, but also carefully consider where you want to be in the future. It’s very inefficient and costly to switch between MDM solutions every couple of years after all.

One of the first questions you want to ask yourself, is if your organization needs an MDM solution or a PIM solution. As you can read on Subpage 6 – What is the difference between PIM and MDM, there is a substantial difference between the two, which can potentially already rule out some of the available options.

After deciding on an MDM or PIM solution, the next step is defining the required functionalities of your future software. As mentioned, MDM software is a tool to support in the MDM processes of your organization. It doesn’t magically resolve all your pains and frustrations after implementation, so you need to think about the functionalities that will actively enable and improve your processes.

MDM Solutions

Settling on the best MDM for you

All topics and questions outlined in this article have to be considered when selecting an MDM solution. We have partnered with three MDM/PIM software vendors and have experience with many others. This allows us to help you select the best MDM solution tailored to your organization’s specific needs.

Stibo Systems provides a full-scale multidomain MDM solution. If you are looking for a complete SaaS-solution, that is hosted in the cloud, Stibo STEP may be the way to go. It enables your organization to set up the processes to successfully maintain your master data. This is done by providing extensive import and export functionality, workflows, data quality checks, and a fully configurable user-friendly web-based client. It should go without saying that you are not required to use all domains. It is perfectly fine to only use the product domain, for example.

Informatica also offers a robust, proven MDM solution, spread across different specific modules per domain; Product 360, Customer 360, and Supplier 360 for instance. It provides the same functionalities as Stibo system, but also supports multiple import and export options, in addition to a remarkable data quality engine to check and even transform data. The web client caters to users and as a result focuses more on user tasks. It does not allow for administration tasks, and there is no SaaS-solution yet from Informatica (in Europe).

If your organization specifically needs a PIM solution, add inRiver to the list as well. inRiver is not a multi-domain MDM solution, but has a strong focus on product information and the marketing of products. Their user-friendly UI and large integration and accelerator marketplace can boost your user acceptance and system integration.

Key Questions

Asking the important questions

Will you be creating the master data manually in the system? Will the data be provided by data-suppliers in several different files and file types, and do you need flexible import functionality? Or does your business benefit from having service API’s available to create data with machine-to-machine interfacing? Perhaps you want your suppliers to be able to create products in your MDM solution directly using a portal? You have to decide on how you want your MDM system to work by answering all these questions.

But you also have to think about how you want your users to enrich data. Will they simply log on and start working on the data they feel needs the most work? Or should the tool support them by providing dashboards that highlight which data needs attention? Workflows can also guide the users to incomplete product information and allow for approvals, ensuring the data is validated by the person responsible.

Ask yourself if your organization needs to improve the quality of the data, and if so, how. Is it only missing information, or also showing incorrect information that leads to additional costs? There is a lot of difference in capabilities between the different MDM systems, so it is worth the effort to investigate the quality of your data and how it can be improved.

How to choose

Making sure your MDM meets your criteria

Obviously, a major role of an MDM solution is distributing or publishing the data to other downstream systems. We can’t stress this enough; the MDM system should support the processes in your organization. When is data ready? Is it ready for all downstream systems or only a few? How do you define which data, including products, are ready for publication? Apart from the processes, there is also the technical side of publishing data. List the methods of sharing master data between systems, both internal and external, and the way you currently share master data and how you would like to distribute it in the future. Should your MDM system publish data through files such as CSV, MS Excel, and XML, or perhaps rely on machine-to-machine communication like a REST API or JMS? Involve your system architect in this exercise!

Think about the user interface and user experience as well. If you implement the MDM system with the intention to have users actively work with it, make sure it is implemented in such a way that they actually enjoy working with it. It does not make sense to ask your colleagues to work daily with software that frustrates them.

Of course, the IT aspect comes into play here as well. Is your organization bound to a specific technology stack? Are there requirements regarding API’s? Should the software be hosted on-premise or in the cloud? The questions never end.

SQLI Background Gradient 4


The choice for MDM: building the business case

Learn how to follow Gartner's 8-step framework to create a solid business case for your MDM solution, how to establish strategy, KPIs and capabilities as well as how to calculate the ROI of MDM.

Stay grounded with an experienced partner

A good safety measure, that can help you stay grounded and focused on your goals, is getting advice from an independent agency.

We have years of experience implementing MDM/PIM solutions and know exactly what to look out for, and can warn you about pitfalls we’ve experienced ourselves while working with these platforms and help you make sure your project is successful, within the planned time and budget.

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