Latest in connection with that TIBCO acquires data matching vendor Netrics the term best-in-class match engine has been attached to the Netrics product.
First: I have no doubt that the Netrics product is a capable match engine – I know that from discussions in the LinkedIn Data Matching group and here on this blog.
Next: I don’t think anyone knows what product is the best match engine, because I don’t think that all match engines have been benchmarked with a representative set of data.
There are of course on top the matching capabilities with different entity types to consider. Here party master data (like customer data) are covered by most products whereas capabilities with other entity types (be that considered same same or not) are far less exposed.
As match engine products are acquired and integrated in suites the core matching capabilities somehow becomes mixed up with a lot of other capabilities making it hard to compare the match engine alone.
Some independent match engines work stand alone and some may be embedded into other applications.
These may then be the classes to be best in:
- Match engines in suites
- Embedded match engines (for say SAP, MS CRM and so on)
- Stand alone match engines
Many match engines I have seen are tuned to deal with data from the country (culture) where they are born and had their first triumphs. As the US market is still far the largest for match engines the nomination of best match engine resembles when a team becomes World Champions in American Football. International/multi-cultural capabilities will become more and more important in data matching. But indeed we may define a class for each country (culture).
In the old days I have heard that one match engine was best for marketing data and another match engine was best for credit risk management. I think these days are over too. With Master Data Management you have to embrace all data purposes.
Some match engines are more successful in one industry. The biggest differentiator in match effectiveness is with B2C and/or B2B data. B2C is the easiest, B2B is more complex and embracing both is in my eyes a must for being considered best-in-class – unless we define separate classes for B2C, B2B and both.
As some matching techniques are deterministic and some are probabilistic the evaluation on the latter one will be based on data already processed in a given instance, as the matching gets better and better as the self learning element is warmed up.
So, yes, an endless religious-like discussion I reopened here.