We humans are big aficionados of information, especially when it is presented in a way which is visual and striking. Catchy and colorful information get processed by our brain faster and hence visualization is a key aspect of today’s data rich world.

For a long time we have had lousy focus on user interfaces to MDM system. I think MDM being perceived as a “headless” application led everyone to emphasis more on creation of quality data and less on providing access to it in visual ways.Data Visualization

Fortunately, this notion is changing. We can see effect of data visualization in many different forms in today’s MDM solutions. Here are few ways new interfaces are getting created around MDM –

1. Stewardship Applications

Targeting data stewards and creating ways in which these users can access master data can make MDM extremely popular. Some of the key capabilities you can provide here are – side by side views to compare duplicated customer records, sophisticated hierarchy views that allow drag and drop features, complete picture of master data in innovative, visual ways.

2. Creating rich user interfaces

Ensure the master data is visually appealing to the users. Create a rich user interface which allows meaningful and well-articulated viewing of data. For example, instead of showing the address of the customer record in text form, you can use an embedded map which enhances the visual experience and at the same time is more engaging.

3. Providing striking visual access anywhere

We live in a mobile era. Allowing access to master data from a browser and mobile devices is a huge plus. This will immensely help the users who are on the go (As discussed here in this blog post). Check what Salesforce did with Wave.

4. Allowing flexibility and Configurability

Provide ways in which customers can easily customize user interface applications based on kind of data they manage in MDM. On top of it, allow users to be able to personalize the screens. A widget based adaptation allows easier drag and drop so the right data is at the right place depending on specific user’s preference.

5. Allowing integrated searching, filtering and faceting features

Searching is an important aspect of a master data UI. Allow users to search master data using free form text. Fuzzy matching is key here and once a set of results are returned, allow filtering and faceting techniques. This enables users to classify and view data in multiple ways rather than in a single, pre-determined order.

6. Provide visual data quality scorecards

Presenting key information to grab attention of users of the system is a huge plus. One of the primary objectives of MDM is to address data quality issues. Providing dynamic screens which can display quality of data in MDM can be a great feature and helps go long way.

These are only few things which come to mind but data visualization creates limitless opportunities. A great UI can help you put the missing face for MDM. It will also help you bridge the gap between IT and business by eliminating “headless” approach and enabling easier adoption of MDM within your enterprise.

What do you think? How data visualization and MDM are coming together? Share your thoughts via comments. And don’t forget to jazz up your MDM with some cool visualization.

Image courtesy of kromkrathog/kangshutters/freedigitalphotos.net