Apr 2023 | Data Quality |

High-quality data provides an innumerable amount of benefits for businesses, but there is one hang up that often gets in the way – the golden record.

What is a golden record in master data management? 

High-quality data provides an innumerable amount of benefits for businesses, but there is one hang up that often gets in the way – the golden record. By addressing the challenges of duplicate or inaccurate records head-on and developing a strategy for success, businesses are able to create what is called a golden record, one of the biggest achievements in the world of data-driven businesses. 

In achieving a golden record, businesses can build stronger relationships with customers and enjoy all-around greater success. All it takes is a strategic approach and the proper commitment. 

What is a golden record? 

A golden record is a guiding light in the world of Master Data Management (MDM), an achievement that every business wants to accomplish for each entry in their database. A golden record is a single data point that provides all of the important information about a customer, client, or resource with total accuracy. For example, a golden record would provide correct address information, an email, a phone number and more, all in a single data entry. 

In MDM solutions, a business is responsible for connecting data from multiple areas and systems and is tasked with combining that information into a single record. Businesses that collect data from multiple sources or store data using multiple databases usually have to put extra thought into creating a golden dataset. 

Businesses that achieve a golden record are better able to understand their customers and clients, build relationships, and take actions that generate more overall success. 

Why is a golden record important? 

Although it is always the goal to create a comprehensive and accurate profile for each individual customer, it is often easier said than done. There are many issues that can occur during data collection methods that harm your chances for a golden record. 

The golden record provides a single customer view that allows businesses to better understand each customer. By achieving a golden record for as many customers as possible, your business is more informed and able to use data insights to strategise on moves for success. In the process, you will also be able to maximise your ROI on marketing tactics.  

Despite the awareness of the benefits of a golden record, many businesses fail to achieve it and end up with several cases of the following scenario: 

The information here is largely the same, except for the name and a typo in the postcode. One small difference can create an entirely separate data entry, treating the entries as two separate people. This difference causes ambiguity and confusion, preventing your business from having an accurate picture of the customer. 

Even worse, if you base your marketing or communications on the wrong entry, your business might not reach this customer at all and waste valuable time and resources in the failed attempt. Altogether, this confusion makes it difficult to reach customers and requires time and energy for your team to find and correct duplicate or inaccurate records. 

Unfortunately, this issue is all too common in the world of data-driven businesses. On the bright side, businesses are far from powerless in their ability to take steps to reduce duplicate entries and achieve a golden dataset. 

How to implement Master Data Management solutions 

Achieving a golden record in Master Data Management requires a comprehensive approach to data management with thought-out systems for collecting, verifying, and managing data. There are three key ways that you can begin implementing an effective MDM solution. 

Merge and match records 

Duplicate records are the biggest culprit for preventing businesses from achieving a golden record. When your database contains many instances of duplicate records, the best approach is to merge and match. MDM solutions are valuable in matching records based on the information that is provided. 

Given the above example, a system would identify that there is significant crossover between the two entries. Since the two entries have different information in the same field, the system will prioritise the field with the most reliable information and combine the records to create a single entry. 

In cases with multiple areas that are different, the system reviews the source for each data field. You can also specify whether the system should prioritise a single field. For example, if the first source is more accurate for the address and the second is more accurate for the first name, you can control which field is used to complete the record. By combining and consolidating the data into one entry, the system creates a single golden record. 

Develop a cohesive data management strategy 

Of course, you can correct duplicate records after the fact, but why take that approach when you can prevent them from occurring at all? Developing a strong strategy for Master Data Management allows you to be proactive and keep duplicate or inaccurate records out of your database before they even enter. 

With hundreds of thousands of entries in your database, it is easy for the entries to get out of hand if not properly managed. As a result, you need to be forward-thinking and consider how you will collect and maintain quality data in a consistent manner. Your strategy will depend on your business’s specific needs and strengths. 

In developing your data management strategy, you should consider several questions: 

  • What information is necessary to create a golden record? 
  • How many data entry sources do you use? 
  • How are all data sources connected and integrated into the database? 
  • How often can your business utilise automatic merges? 
  • Who will review records for accuracy during merges? 
  • When can you use tools? And who will be responsible for manual intervention? 

A comprehensive strategy should include consistent standards for how data is collected, stored, and reviewed. It should also highlight who is accountable for reviewing data accuracy and how often. 

Use the proper tools 

One of the most vital components of a good strategy is the right data management tools. Data management tools will help you maintain high data quality by ensuring only quality and checking your data accuracy over time. Some excellent examples of useful tools include the data matching tools mentioned above, batch cleansing tools, data record apps and real-time verification tools. 

Batch cleansing can be used to comb through a database and highlight duplicate records, either on a consistent schedule or on demand. Meanwhile, real-time verification tools help to keep your database free of inaccurate email, address, or phone number records, as they prevent you from collecting inaccurate data at all. By preventing errant information from entering your database, you reduce the chance of duplicate entries that harm your database. 

Even better, data management tools help you save time and resources by doing the work for you. As a result, your staff can focus on other ways to boost your business operations. 

Achieve the golden record in Master Data Management 

A golden record is much more than just an achievement – it is a precious resource for businesses to leverage. With a golden record, your ability to reach your customers skyrockets as you gain better information through a complete golden dataset. However, you still need an effective, proper strategy. 

To learn more about how to achieve a golden record in Master Data Management, contact us at Experian Data Quality. Our comprehensive suite of data quality and data management tools will help your business maintain a high-quality database free of duplicate entries. Explore our tools for yourself and discover how you can get started with achieving golden records in your database. 

Connect with a data quality expert to learn more. 

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