Master data management is an area that insurers are just starting to get their arms around, as I recently explored in my article, titled “Governance Key to Useful Master Data Management.”  

One thing is certain: MDM won't grow in a vacuum. Now, there's an emerging social aspect to MDM as well, recently discussed by the analysts at Gartner.

Data gathered through social networking and social media engagements will become part of the “gold copy” master data that companies will be looking to maintain and leverage. In about four years, the consultancy predicts that “15% of organizations will have added social media data about their customers to the customer master data attributes they manage in their MDM systems.”

What kind of data will this be? This information will consist of sentiment analysis, which documents what people are saying about a company, product or brand, as well as network analysis, which captures information on the relative influence a customer may have in particular social networks.

Good data to have, is it not?

“In the future a company’s MDM system for customer data will have to be ‘social networking aware,’” predicts Gartner's John Radcliffe.

As insurers begin to build their MDM practices and identify essential data, there's a natural tendency to focus on internal information, such as customer records and sales data. But a good portion of social network participants may not necessarily be customers—at least not yet.

If Gartner is right, there will need to be a way to manage a lot of master data on non-customers, at least on an aggregate trend level. This will increase pressure to be ready to manage the onslaught of “Big Data,” requiring a rethinking of how information is governed, managed and retired, as well as what kinds of systems and hardware (or clouds) will need to be in place to handle the challenge. 

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology. 

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

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