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Dan Linstedt

Bill Inmon has given me this wonderful opportunity to blog on his behalf. I like to cover everything from DW2.0 to integration to data modeling, including ETL/ELT, SOA, Master Data Management, Unstructured Data, DW and BI. Currently I am working on ways to create dynamic data warehouses, push-button architectures, and automated generation of common data models. You can find me at Denver University where I participate on an academic advisory board for Masters Students in I.T. I can't wait to hear from you in the comments of my blog entries. Thank-you, and all the best; Dan Linstedt http://www.COBICC.com, danL@danLinstedt.com

About the author >

Cofounder of Genesee Academy, RapidACE, and BetterDataModel.com, Daniel Linstedt is an internationally known expert in data warehousing, business intelligence, analytics, very large data warehousing (VLDW), OLTP and performance and tuning. He has been the lead technical architect on enterprise-wide data warehouse projects and refinements for many Fortune 500 companies. Linstedt is an instructor of The Data Warehousing Institute and a featured speaker at industry events. He is a Certified DW2.0 Architect. He has worked with companies including: IBM, Informatica, Ipedo, X-Aware, Netezza, Microsoft, Oracle, Silver Creek Systems, and Teradata.  He is trained in SEI / CMMi Level 5, and is the inventor of The Matrix Methodology, and the Data Vault Data modeling architecture. He has built expert training courses, and trained hundreds of industry professionals, and is the voice of Bill Inmons' Blog on http://www.b-eye-network.com/blogs/linstedt/.

I've been blogging about MDM for a while now, and in my last entry I defined what Master Data and Master Metadata should be. By the way, both of those definitions along with the entry has been certified by Bill Inmon, and Clive Finkelstein as the standard definitions for MDM. In my sense of adventure I decided to take a look at 10 different vendors, what they claim MDM to be, how they define it (if they define it), and how they claim to implement it. What I discovered is not that shocking, MDM SOFTWARE: BUYER BE-WARE!!

WARNING: THIS ENTRY IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART, IT IS MY BIASED OPINION ON WHAT MDM REALLY IS VERSUS WHAT VENDORS CLAIM IT TO BE. I'm not saying that vendors are all wrong or bad, quite the contrary - I'm saying that while Master data vendors have good software and provide ROI, not all solutions are built to meet your needs, and the marketing hype would have you believe otherwise.

Are you a vendor? Please feel free to comment, to counter any of my opinions with facts. I'd love to learn more about your specific solution.

Are you a customer of an MDM "tool"? Please feel free to comment, share your experiences - anonymously if desired. I want to see where the tools have worked for you, and where they have not.

**** DISCLAIMER ******
I Have not received vendor demonstrations from any of the vendors, all I have done is read through their web-sites and looked at what they "claim", and looked for supporting information on their sites to see if they've included people, business process, governance, compliance, integration, master data, and metadata management. Please take all this advice with a grain of salt. The purpose of this entry is to raise awareness of the customer base, and to have you ask questions of the vendors so that your business expectations can be set appropriately.

First off, MDM is a business process, what the vendors are really selling is a piece of Master Data Management, the mechanical part of integrating, cleansing, and quality checking the master data. Most do not offer Business Rules Integration, applied Data Mining, registries, web services (to meet SOA), EAI, EII, ETL/ELT, and RDBMS. I've listed (as a comment) to my last entry, a slew of vendor URL's that I've looked at. For reference, I'll list them again here:

LIST OF VENDORS SELLING MDM SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS:
www.ibm.com
www.sas.com
www.DataMirror.com
www.i2.com/solutionareas/sixone/scos/mdm.cfm
www.kalido.com/products/mdm
www.hyperion.com/products/bi_platform/ core_data_integration/mdm_index.cfm
www.Stratature.com
www.Gemstone.com
www.SilverCreekSystems.com
www.Purisma.com
www.Nimaya.com
www.Netics.com
www.datafoundations.com
www.ObjectRiver.net
https://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/developerareas/mdm
http://ibm.ascential.com/solutions/master_data_management.html
www.metamatrix.com/pages/solutions/master_data_management.htm

In no particular order. Now let's look at a few of their definitions to see just what they say MDM is to them:

SAS:

Creating a master data environment enables organizations to provide a single source of truth around which enterprise systems can be synchronized...Reusable business rules clean, standardize and enhance data as it moves into the master reference file so all information is accurate.

IBM:

IBM WebSphere Information Integration is the master data integration offering that delivers authoritative master data for any industry or business function…support the full master data lifecycle…IBM defines MDM as the set of disciplines, technologies, and solutions used to create and maintain consistent, complete, contextual and accurate business data for all stakeholders

Kalido:

KALIDO 8M is an enterprise-wide master data management software solution for harmonizing, storing and managing master data over time…The master data management software produces a master data warehouse from which "golden-copy" master data can be distributed to enterprise applications and business people throughout the organization

Now I've listed a few vendors, let's talk about the pros and cons of each vendor (taking from additional inormation on their web sites).
SAS:
Pros:
* They have an embedded data mining capability, and are best of breed for data mining (separate module)
* Embedded ETL engine (if you purchase this module)
* GUI integration (separate module)
* Reporting Engine (separate Module)
* They handle large scale data sets

Cons: (according to industry analyst groups)
* They are not best of breed when it comes to web-services
* They are not best of breed when it comes to answering SOA
* They are not best of breed when it comes to ETL
* They do not have EAI or EII embedded (or so it seems)
* They are a code driven solution
* They are not best of breed for Enterprise Master Metadata
* They do not appear to have a pure business rules processing/management engine like ILOG or JRULES
* Their web site does not provide enough surrounding information to describe their implementation methodology regarding the "data management" and "governance" processes needed to fully implement MDM.
* They want you to believe that "ETL" is Master Data Management, they are touting old-tools under a new skin without including Data Mining, Information Quality, Business Process Management, Compliance, Governance, EAI, and EII as a part of their solution.

IBM:
Pros:
* BIG COMPANY, Lots of information (freely available) on how they handle Governance, Data Management, Metadata and Enterprise Metadata Management.
* Implementation methodology documented (in overview form) for Master Data Management
* Include EAI (websphere / MQ series) as their solution
* Include Ascential Quality Stage for data quality/scrubbing and consolidation
* Include Ascential Meta Stage for Metadata
* Include Web Services (websphere) for Production and handling of master data
* Include Registries (websphere) for production and handling of master data

Cons:
* In one diagram and implementation methodology claim that WebSphere and EAI is the entire solution for MDM, in another diagram and description, they describe additional needs for Quality Stage and Meta Stage
* They seem to be in conflict with themselves, no clear story as to the "Complete" vision of MDM. One document leads you to five or ten others that discuss governance, EII, EAI, Reference Tables, Information Quality, and so on. Different authors have different ideas as to what MDM really is.
* They would have you believe that Data mining, and business rules are not a part of Master Data Management (until you dig deeper into their implementation methodologies).
* Their solution seems to be: buy the entire SUITE of products from IBM, then buy all of their consulting to get the full and complete MDM solution. This is good if you have TONS of money to throw at the problem, and several (3 to 5 years) to solve the problem.
* No single tool seems to be the shining star for helping tackle the Master Data issues.

Kalido 8M:
Pros:
* Easy integration
* Easy Logical Data Model Changes
* Contains an ETL tool
* Contains a data modeling tool
* Vendor says: it contains Data Quality, Profiling, ETL, EAI, EII, Web Services, and Business workflows.

Cons:
* It is not best of breed (according to industry analyst groups) in: EII, ETL, EAI, Web Services, and Business Process Management (ILOG, JRULES).
* The vendor makes it seem like they are the SINGLE tool for the entire suite of MDM - yet they don't document how the rest of Data Management takes place.
* They are missing methodology definition, compliance, governance procedures, implementation best practices, definition of scalability into the 50TB+ range.

No single tool can be-all-end-all for the MDM architecture. Again, Master Data is one thing, Master Data Management encompasses master data, and data management. The entire MDM is an enterprise initiative involving people, process, compliance, governance, data, systems, and a variety of best of breed tool sets.

Buyer-be-ware, do your homework, interview your vendors. Sponsor your MDM initiative at the executive level, apply best practices for Project Management, SEI/CMM, follow standards for including your data warehouse as a part of your Master Data Management Initiative, and proceed. Soon, I'll have an MDM Vendor Scorecard available on our web-site at: http://www.MyersHolum.com

Are you a vendor? Please feel free to comment, to counter any of my opinions with facts. I'd love to learn more about your specific solution.

Are you a customer of an MDM "tool"? Please feel free to comment, share your experiences - anonymously if desired. I want to see where the tools have worked for you, and where they have not.

Thank-you kindly for your time,
Daniel Linstedt, CTO, Myers-Holum, Inc
Daniel.Linstedt@MyersHolum.com


Posted April 14, 2006 6:12 AM
Permalink | 2 Comments |

2 Comments

I would be curious as to how the major ERP vendors fair with their "MDM" products since this is primarily where large companies would be looking for their MDM solutions from I would think.

My name is Chris Cox and I am a recruiter w/ Intuit. We are looking for an MDM or CDI Architect. Are these companies good to target or are there places to look for these types of people. Any help is appreciated.

Thanks,
Chris Cox
chris_cox@intuit.com
415-681-3665

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