In its simplest form master data management (MDM) is a comprehensive method of letting companies leverage and re-use common and accurate business data. However, it’s also a quickly evolving data management strategy that can do more than just help organizations “reach a single version of the truth.” MDM systems are designed to maintain a master version of a company’s data, freeing the organization to act on the data by mapping it to business rules and initiatives more easily than previous data management methods. One of the main reasons companies turn to MDM is the ability to reconcile data from different sources and applications.

And to help you get started (or reacquainted) with MDM, we’ve compiled a list of 13 top terms in this market, including data governance, product information management (PIM), enterprise master patient index (EMPI), MDM hub and more. Each MDM definition is linked to useful MDM tutorials, training, advice and articles to help you optimize MDM initiatives at your organization.

Product information management (PIM) masters an organization’s product data in a single location so that all product data is consistent, regardless of the system or application that needs it. Gartner defines PIM as “software products that support the global identification, linking and synchronization of product information across heterogeneous data sources through the semantic reconciliation of product master data; create and manage a central database system of record; enable the delivery of a single product view (for all stakeholders); and support data quality and compliance through monitoring and corrective-action techniques.”

Data governance refers to the overall management of the availability, usability, integrity and security of the data employed in an enterprise. A strong data governance program will include a central body or council to create governance rules, a set of procedures and a plan to follow through those procedures. It differs from data management in that data management is a tactical execution of the policies created by the data governance body.