Reference Data Management

Reference Data Management (RDM) is about managing code tables, sometimes called “lookups” or “domains.”

Codes are used to represent a vast array of business concepts that are important in such diverse areas as segmentation, driving business rules, and being able to report to customers and regulators.

In many enterprises, the number of business concepts represented by codes far exceeds that represented by tables and columns implemented in databases. Problems occur when these codes are not synchronized across the enterprise, and are not understood clearly – or not even known about – by the people who have to use them.

First San Francisco Partners has a deep understanding of RDM. Our consultants have set up central RDM units in very large enterprises, and streamlined RDM in other enterprises that do not need a centralized approach. We are on the cutting edge of thought leadership in this rapidly emerging area.

Some of the benefits of RDM are:

  • Reduction in cross-system transaction rejections due to reference data mismatches
  • Reliable trend analyses where the reference data does not distort figures over time
  • Preventing unexplained numbers in reports that have worked well for a long time, but are suddenly impacted by ungoverned changes to reference data upstream
  • Quickly finding the right reference data for the right need in diverse data management scenarios

Our RDM methodology emphasizes getting reference data right from the beginning and making sure it is efficiently delivered to the places that need it. RDM tools have recently become available, and while we are happy to work with them, many clients still want successful RDM in environments without specialized tooling.

Key elements of our RDM methodology are:

  • Dealing with the unique requirements of “external” reference data (which comes from outside the enterprise) versus the unique requirements of “internal” reference data (which is produced wholly within the enterprise)
  • Understanding the many different roles involved in RDM and making sure the people playing these roles are well-trained and have all the tools and techniques they need to be successful
  • Recognizing that producing reference data is quite different to distributing it, and that an integrated supply chain for reference data is put in place
  • Making sure the content of reference data is as high as possible; not only must there be zero defects, but content like definitions must be complete, accurate, and consumable
  • Handling complexities like hierarchies, crosswalks, splits, merges and standard conversions

Do you need to take RDM in your enterprise to the next level? Contact First San Francisco Partners and ask how we can help.