The Metaverse is no longer a concept confined to science fiction movies. It is becoming a reality. In the near future, customers could explore and test products in virtual reality, providing a seamless and personalized experience. This is where Metaverse and Master Data Management (MDM) come into play, providing a foundation for personalized experiences.
The Metaverse is revolutionizing business models across diverse industries, blurring the lines between the physical and virtual realms. A digital approach holds tremendous potential in meeting customer experience and engagement needs efficiently and cost-effectively. And businesses from various sectors have embraced this mantra, recognizing the power of digital transformation to deliver exceptional experiences while maintaining affordability and timeliness.
Back to Basics – Metaverse and MDM
The "metaverse" is a virtual reality space where users interact with computer-generated environments and each other in real-time. It goes beyond traditional VR experiences, aiming to create an immersive and interconnected digital universe accessible across devices and platforms. This seamless and persistent virtual world incorporates elements of AR, VR, and the internet. Within this realm, users can personalize avatars, socialize, explore virtual environments, and partake in activities like gaming, shopping, education, entertainment, and business transactions.
As per Gartner Report, by 2026, at least 25% of people will immerse themselves in Metaverse technology activities such as work, virtual class, social media, and entertainment. The Metaverse is set to undergo a transformative journey across three interconnected phases: emerging, advanced, and mature. The current phase draws inspiration from the market and technologies of Web3.0 apps. As we progress, the advanced phase will build upon the emerging metaverse, taking a combinative approach. Ultimately, the metaverse will reach maturity, characterized by immersive experiences and interoperable virtual economies. This exciting evolution is expected to reach its full potential by 2030. However, it is crucial for tech product leaders to begin assessing the opportunities presented by the Metaverse without delay.
Metaverse is currently in its emerging phase and will incorporate diverse technologies such as 5G, IoT, AI, blockchain, and more. The technology architecture will evolve and mature over time. However, data, especially master data such as customer and product information, as well as reference data, will be a crucial component for the successful realization of the Metaverse. To ensure a successful metaverse experience, master data must meet higher standards in terms of accuracy, availability, completeness, and compliance. As product leaders innovate metaverse products, solutions and services, it is essential to create a solid foundation of master data in the pre-metaverse phase.
The Changing face of MDM to serve the Metaverse
MDM is a collection of technologies and processes used to manage and upkeep the master data within an organization. The Product Information Management (PIM) system, an integral discipline within MDM, stores, organizes, and oversees product data, encompassing descriptions, images, pricing, and availability. It guarantees the accuracy, consistency, and uniqueness of data across various channels and touchpoints.
Let us consider a simple scenario in a retail store: In the Metaverse, a retail store operates with virtual land as the location. Products and associated digital assets are published in the store as master data. Customers, represented by avatars, explore these virtual stores, trying out products, creating new assortments, enjoying immersive experiences, and making informed purchases. Various currency options are available. Once a transaction is complete, the ERP system generates an order, following the order-to-cash process. The MDM application provides essential master data such as customer details, location information, product data and currency as reference data to the ERP system.
While there may be some overlap between PIM and the Metaverse in terms of managing and organizing digital data, they have distinct focuses. PIM primarily deals with product-related data management within organizations, whereas the Metaverse encompasses a broader scope of virtual environments and experiences, which may or may not involve products. PIM can effectively handle product data in the Metaverse, including existing data management and virtual product creation. Users within the virtual world have the opportunity to explore different product combinations, offering valuable feedback to PIM systems for recommendations on new assortments or product mixes.
Regarding customer data, the MDM system can handle information related to customers who have made purchases or it can gather prospect data through sales campaigns. MDM effectively manages customer preferences, digital addresses, transaction preferences, digital bank details, and more.
The traditional MDM architecture, implementation styles, industry data models, and use cases must evolve to:
- Move beyond centralized implementation to accommodate bi-directional data flow with the Metaverse.
- Adopt cloud-native MDM solutions with secure API management and microservices architecture for simplified integration and increased reusability.
- Emphasize multi-domain support and relationship establishment for a comprehensive view of master data.
- Implement modern attribute strategies, including digital identity and customer preferences.
- Address personal data, security, and consent management.
- Transform master data governance to align with additional data privacy requirements.
Exploring the role of MDM/PIM across various business sectors
Here are impactful industry use cases for data product leaders venturing into the MDM/PIM journey as the Metaverse evolves:
- Banking and Finance Sector
The Metaverse will utilize MDM as the definitive source of truth for customer master data, enabling validation and confirmation of customer identities through attributes such as digital signatures and government-issued IDs.
- Oil and Gas, Utilities, and Mining Sector
The Metaverse will play a crucial role in stimulating virtual factories, equipment, and platforms. MDM will serve as the source for asset, equipment, and item master data, ensuring standardization, consistent hierarchy, and accurate relationships during these simulations.
- Maintenance and Operations
Challenging environments, like offshore platforms, will leverage Metaverse simulations fueled by MDM and IoT data, optimizing operational efficiency.
Metaverse will extend capabilities for robotic surgery, tele-treatment, psychiatric care, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation. MDM systems will ingest Patient 360 data, encompassing patient, provider, hospital, and product master data.
- Consumer Products
The consumer products sector will experience significant adoption of the Metaverse, enabling customers to virtually try on shoes, apparel, accessories, and arrange furniture in virtual spaces. The retail industry will transform from physical stores to immersive 3D shopping experiences, with endless aisles, product positioning, and assortment considerations.
Metaverse will revolutionize the retail industry, transforming the traditional physical store experience into an immersive 3D shopping experience. The possibilities for enhancing the customer experience and enabling new shopping opportunities are limitless within the Metaverse. Critical business scenarios include the concept of endless aisles, immersive 3D shopping experiences, and strategic product positioning with careful assortment considerations.
While the metaverse brings about substantial business outcomes, establishing a solid foundation of master data is crucial. Implementing an MDM strategy becomes a prerequisite for enterprises to establish trust and ensure success in the Metaverse journey.
The metaverse is poised to revolutionize business models and fundamentally transform the way master data assets like Customer, Product, Service, Partner, Employee, Location, and Supplier interact. In this rapidly expanding metaverse landscape, MDM/PIM systems emerge as the linchpin for success, facilitating seamless data integration. A robust data foundation, governed with precision and completeness, empowers continuous optimization of user experiences. The stage is set for a new era where the metaverse and well-governed master data converge to drive unparalleled business growth and customer satisfaction.