Master Data Governance

What Does Master Data Governance Mean?

Master data governance refers to the comprehensive management or handling of data within a system that are predominantly shared across different platforms and pieces of the business architecture. This type of data is called the master data.


Techopedia Explains Master Data Governance

Master data refers to the data that is most vital to a business in its operations. By some definitions, this is data that is duplicated in various parts of an IT system for effective reference. This definition is incomplete, however. Master data is a critical reference that is used in daily operations.

Consider, for example, a "places, people and things" approach to master data. Client identifiers, the "people," are references that get used in CRM systems, accounting programs, etc. Likewise, product identifiers, the "things" of the system, get referenced by these same programs. Some definitions of master data exclude transactional data, the "places," because, in financial transactions, credit card processing systems simply use the core "people" and "things" identifiers to document a transaction.

Master data governance then differs from master data management mostly in scope. IT experts use the term master data management to describe the technical handling of data, for example, the passage of data through a network, whereas they often use the term master data governance for a big-picture approach, one that takes in security considerations, the essential "value" of the master data, and that describes how to curate and protect the data in the field.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.