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Business-Critical Strategies Informed by Data

Good data about your customers and suppliers is key to building business value. It provides a solid base for sourcing initiatives, targeted marketing campaigns, supplier relationship management, and a host of other business-critical strategies. Additionally, good data can insulate your company from fraud and other risks. It lets you know who you are doing business with and whether your financial transactions are going to who you intended.

But do you have all the data you need? And is it fully vetted and accurate? In this white paper we’ll show you how to use automation to establish the strong data foundation you need.

What Is Master Data?

Most companies now see data as a competitive advantage. As a result, the commonly held definition of master data is evolving. Historically, master data referred to any data common across all of a company’s systems. If an application contained unique information that wasn’t found in other data stores, it wasn’t considered master data.

Today, though, the definition of master data is being broadened to encompass all the data you collect about your suppliers and customers. It spans multiple systems, applications and data sets, anywhere in your business. The goal of this broader definition is to deliver a 360-degree view of each customer and supplier relationship with all the information you might need at your fingertips. Then you can reduce risks, develop new insights, and make smart, well-informed decisions that benefit your business and its bottom line.

Four Steps to Better Data

Making certain you have data you can trust can be challenging. Fortunately, there are new technology-driven master data management solutions that make the path to better data quick, easy and affordable. You can break down data silos, develop new insights and gain significant value for your business. Here is a four-step path for using technology to build the strong data foundation you need.

Bridge Every System and Database

An important first step in automated master data management is to establish a bidirectional link to each system across your company’s global data domains and have central visibility. Best-in-class solutions provide secure data connections to simplify the process and reduce the cost and time required for integration. The capability to easily connect all of the required systems is critical so the project does not get delayed due to integration. Delays are a major factor that increase the cost of a project and decrease the ROI.

Consolidate Data to Create Golden Records

With access to each of your systems, you can pull together all the information on a given supplier or customer to create a golden record. Let’s say both your US and European operations use different divisions of the same supplier. Each of the regions has an ERP platform containing regional remit-to addresses, points of contact, bank account numbers and payment terms. Best-in-class master data management solutions can give you a 360-degree view of your relationship with your supplier that spans both regions. You get a single record with all the relevant information needed for sourcing decisions, payment terms standardization, early pay discounts and other strategic programs.

Leverage Automated Technologies to Analyze Every Field for Accuracy

Historically, master data management has focused on whether information is present in your systems and in the right format. But best-in-class master data management is focused on whether the information you’ve gathered is accurate.

Today’s top solutions for master data management can automatically validate entries and identify issues in real time—eliminating countless hours of manual effort. You can instantly compare the data you’ve collected to many hundreds of trusted external data sources, including those maintained by tax authorities, banking consortiums, OFAC and more.

Your business can avoid costly regulatory fines, fraud and a host of other risks. And if a scam artist tries to fool you into routing legitimate supplier payments to a fraudulent bank account, you’re protected. Automated tools compare the payee name, account number and routing number with the information in bank databases. You can shut down the scam before you lose a dime.

Fill in the Blanks

Automated master data management tools can also help you build more complete records for your suppliers and business-to-business customers. Do you have current points of contact? Email addresses and phone numbers? Appropriate industry codes?

Missing information matters. As we’ve worked with clients to clean and maintain their vendor master, we’ve found that most companies lack the contact data they need for strategic communications with their supply chain.

Automated management tools can continually append your master data with information from trusted outside resources—making each record more useful and relevant. And you won’t have to hire a fleet of people to do the work.

Picking the Right Master Data Management Solution

apexmdm is the industry’s first purpose-built solution for intelligent data management. Breakthrough features help you automate compliance, stop fraud and get the data you need to drive strategic initiatives:

• Tight integrations with every ERP: SAP S/4HANA Certified, Oracle Gold Partner and apexanalytix’s Secure Open Adapter for every other ERP/legacy systems.

• No special coding required to capture data—just a simple mapping of data fields.

• Centralized, rules-based engine with predefined workflows that can be easily modified as needed without IT support—helping you respond quickly to changes in external regulations or internal operations.

• Automated data validation and enrichment using more than 650 trusted data sources and our 32 million scored supplier records.

• Automated, hierarchical grouping of a company’s various divisions and locations.

• Automated outreach to customers and suppliers when data updates are required.

• Real-time links to global news monitoring to uncover emerging risks.

To Learn More

We can provide a quick and free sample analysis of your customer or supplier master data and show you how easy and powerful automated master data management can be. Contact us today at +1 800-284-4522 or to find out more.

About the Author

Danny Thompson is Senior VP of Market and Product Strategy at apexanalytix and is responsible for defining, communicating and leading our company’s software product strategy and roadmap. He works closely with our customers to ensure that each solution helps them meet their business objectives. Danny has a proven track record in the procure-to-pay arena, with a strong background in ERP implementation, process automation and financial shared services. He previously was VP of product management at Tungsten Network, a global business-to-business e-invoicing firm. He also is a former global process driver for invoice-to-pay at Pfizer. Danny earned his B.A. degree from Harding University.

¹ ACFE, Report to the Nations: 2020 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse.

² U.S. Department of Treasury, 2019 Enforcement Information.

³ apexanalytix analysis of recovery audit results for corporations around the globe.

4 apexanalytix analysis of recovery audit results for corporations around the globe.

5 Forrester Consulting, Why Marketers Can’t Ignore Data Quality, A Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned by Marketing Evolution, July 2019.

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