Master data is, in brief, the most essential core data in a specific business, containing objects that hold the highest value, single-source-of-truth info across a business unit, organization or organizational ecosystem. What is considered master data can vary from industry to industry and even among competiting entities in similar industries.
This data is necessary for business analytics and operations, as it can provide critical information around business actions and behaviors. It can include many data types: from analytical data and reference data to metadata and semi- and unstrictured data. In certain instances, it may also include transactional data.
Master Data Management (MDM) is the IT discipline that leverages this data to support data management goals. MDM is a key building block for strong data governance and risk management.