Data Governance, Videos, Data Warehousing, Blog

Master Data VS Transaction Data

Jared Hillam

Jared Hillam

October 17, 2013


Come learn how Master Data and Transaction Data differ from each other, also learn what challenges each data type introduces (more…) to an organization.

Text from the Video:

Like in my video about BI we’re going to purchase some stinky cheese again from our favorite grocery store, but this time we’re going to talk about the data itself.  And we’re going to place it into two categories.  The first category is Master Data the other is Transaction Data.

Master Data represents the People Places or Things that an organization cares about.  So in this case it would be you the customer, the cheese product, the employee, and the store.

The Transaction data on the other hand represents an event which the Master Data participates in, which in this case is the purchasing of the cheese.  So some examples here would be the price, the discount or coupon, and the method of payment.

So you can almost compare Master data to nouns and Transaction data to verbs.  One describes a person place or thing, and the other describes an action or event that those nouns participate in.

Another way of deciphering master data from transaction data is how often that data is changing.  Master Data like you the customer should be consistent whether you are checking out at the company website or checking out at the cash register.  You are you no matter where the company interacts with you.  Unlike the transaction which is changing every time you purchase something from the store.  One day you might spend 10 dollars the next day you might spend 100 dollars.  We call this measurement volatility.  If the data is highly volatile, then it is likely transaction data.

How we manage Master Data vs Transaction Data is important as they both have very unique challenges.  Master Data is challenged by consistency issues.  For example, you may use your customer loyalty card when you check out at the cash register, but when you buy on line you might not.  This creates 2 customer profiles, even though it’s really the same person.  This also makes it difficult for the retailer to evaluate you as a customer, and it inflates the number of customers the retailer thinks it has.  For more on how we meet the challenges of Master Data please check out our video on “What is Master Data Management?”

Transaction Data is challenged by the amount of data and the decentralized ways that departments roll it up.  For example, just imagine how much data is captured in just one day at your local grocery store.  The amount of data can be staggering, but everybody wants that data because it represents a snapshot of how the organization and its individual departments are performing.  Because of this, multiple departments might have their own way of rolling up that data, creating inconsistencies in logic, which ultimately leads to bad or stalemated decisions.  For more on how we meet the challenges of Transaction Data check out our video on “The Benefits of a Data Warehouse”.

Caring for both your Master Data and Transaction Data is critical for managing a complex modern day Enterprise.  Intricity is an exceptional partner in building and facilitating that strategy, because we understand the business and technical drivers to make you successful.  I recommend you reach out to Intricity and talk with one of our specialists.  We would like to share with you the first steps we take during a project to help you meet the challenges of your complex enterprise.


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