As Master Data Management Matures, Its Availability Improves

With an average cost of $1 million, MDM deployments used to be relegated to only the largest companies in the world. But now new companies are now stepping into the market with creative products and services.

SAN FRANCISCO—Master data management is gaining traction as companies continue to look for new ways to keep data safe, while also allowing access for those who need to view it.

Without customer and supply data that is at all times accurate and updated, an enterprise will only spin its wheels. MDM and CDI (customer data integration) software and services aim to help an enterprise align its master data assets—documents, Internet and intranet sites, e-mail, spreadsheets, charts and graphs, audio, video—across multiple systems and departments, and maintain them on an ongoing basis.

An MDM platform offers a consolidated view of a companys data assets and a consistent way of aggregating and distributing the data, which has proven to accelerate processes, projects and products through their various channels.

The problem has been that the cost to put an MDM or CDI deployment in place can reach as much as $1 million, which is out of reach for most companies that arent among the Fortune Global 500, according to attendees at the CDI-MDM Spring Summit here March 25-27.

However, thats beginning to change. To this point, the MDM-CDI market has been dominated by IBM, SAP and Oracle. The top-selling software and service packages include IBM WebSphere Customer Center, Oracle-Siebel Customer Data Hub and Universal Customer Master and SAPs NetWeaver MDM.

But other companies are looking to make a move in this space and bring availability of these products to a much wider market, according to industry observers. Teradata, of Dayton, Ohio, which is in the process of breaking out from its parent, NCR, also has products on the market, including its own master data management platform and offerings based on it, such as Teradata Product Information Management.

In addition, a number of smaller vendors are rolling out offerings, including DataFlux, i2, Initiate Systems, Kalido, Purisma and Siperian. Some of these companies are thriving in specific industries and horizontal or corporate applications, according to Aaron Zornes, founder and chief research officer of the CDI-MDM Institute, in Burlingame, Calif.

At the event March 27, Chicago-based Initiate unveiled Version 7.5 of its Identity Hub software, an MDM product offering enhanced monitoring features, support for record sets of more than 2 billion records and multilingual capabilities to help customers expand into international markets.

MDM for the masses?

For its part, Purisma on March 26 rolled out Business Data Appliances, which officials said was the first set of so-called "software appliances" for the MDM market. In addition, the Redwood Shores, Calif., company also announced Purisma Data Hub 3.0, which offers greater team-based data governance capabilities and "what if" scenario planning to help users analyze the impact of major changes on data.


Click here to read about Oracles acquisition of data integration software maker Sunopsis.

"We like to think that were bringing MDM to the masses," Purisma co-founder and vice president of products and corporate development Bob Hagenau told eWEEK.

"IT systems have all this fragmented master data across all these systems ... managers are now saying, We need to re-engineer our systems and our architecture to manage this, and have a central location and definition and storage location for all our master data. Its a grandiose vision, frankly, and its the correct strategic way to go. But thats a long path—anywhere from five to 10 years to really make that happen."

In many ways, this is a similar view to that of "were going to solve our problems with SAP everywhere—the story of the late 90s," Hagenau said. "It makes sense in some places, but its a long journey—and its not a journey for every company, or the feint of heart.

Next Page: Making MDM easy.