The Soft Sides of MDM and PIM RFPs

Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) solutions are, as many other enabling technologies, often purchased using a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

In such a process the theory is that the buying organization, often with the help from an external consultancy, states the functional and non-functional requirements, measure the solutions against these requirements using a weighted score model and then objectively selects the solution with the highest score.

In practice there are in my experience some more subjective and soft sides to this process. This is not at least the case in the longlist/shortlist phase and when taking the final decision. I have seen my share of overruling the scoring.

One aspect is the geographical presence of the vendor. This includes where the solution provider is based and of course also the presence around the world through local offices and partner network as told in the post Mapping MDM and PIM Solutions.

Another aspect is the subject matter expertise shown by the vendor. This includes written material provided but also available on website and blogs and of course during presentations. An example could be the emphasis on master data versus product information as exemplified in the post MDM, PIM or Both.

I have had the fortunate opportunity of being at both sides of the table during the years and are still doing that as shown in the article about Popular Offerings.

MDM PIM RFP

Mapping MDM and PIM Solutions

There are several parameters considered by organizations on the look for solutions that handles Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) or both. One is how MDM’ish or PIM’ish the solution is as examined in the post MDM, PIM or Both.

Another aspect is the geographical presence. This includes where the solution provider is based and of course also the presence around the world through local offices and partner network.

Here are some of the solution providers from North America and Europe on a map:

MDM World Map

Reltio is a Silicon Valley based MDM provider. Learn more about Reltio Cloud here.

Semarchy has moved their head quarter to Silicon Valley but has their origin and most of the operation still in Lyon, France. Learn more about Semarchy xDM here.

Riversand is coming out of Houston, Texas. Learn more about Riversand here.

EnterWorks is based in Sterling, Virginia. Learn about Enterworks here.

CONTENTSERV is head quartered in Baar, Switzerland. Learn more about CONTENTSERV here.

SyncForce is located in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Learn about SyncForce here.

Dynamicweb PIM is from Aarhus, Denmark. Learn more about Dynamicweb PIM here.

Informatica is another Silicon Valley firm. Informatica has bought firms from around the world as lately Toronto, Canada based AllSight, now branded as Informatica Customer 360 Insights. Learn more about Informatica Customer 360 Insights here.

Magnitude and Agility® are now married. They are respectively located in Austin, Texas and York, UK. Learn more about Magnitude MDM here and learn more about Agility here.

Where is your (preferred) MDM / PIM solution located? – and what is the world reach?

MDM, PIM, CX and User Types

Customer Experience (CX) is a trendy driver for Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM).

When talking about CX we may have to distinguish between 3 main kind of user types:

  • Consumers (in households)
  • Small Office, Home Office (SOHO) users
  • Corporate users

CX user types

The critical differences between pleasing consumers in B2C and pleasing business users in B2B was discussed in the post B2C vs B2B in Product Information Management. A crucial distinction is the use of data as told in the post Where to Buy a Magic Wand?

Business users can be divided into those in small self-owned business’s as craftsmen, farmers, small shop owners, freelance consultants and many more and then corporate users who buys on behalf of a legal entity typically within a team of users.

There are intersections of customer experience preference patterns between these groups and then we are all humans regardless of our role in time. Earlier this year I presented a webinar, hosted by Riversand, on this topic. Find the link and the introduction in the post The relation between CX and MDM.

IoT and Business Ecosystem Wide MDM

Two of the disruptive trends in Master Data Management (MDM) are the intersection of Internet of Things (IoT) and MDM and business ecosystem wide MDM (aka multienterprise MDM).

These two trends will go hand in hand.

IoT and Ecosystem Wide MDM

The latest MDM market report from Forrester (the other analyst firm) was mentioned in the post Toward the Third Generation of MDM.

In here Forrester says: “As first-generation MDM technologies become outdated and less effective, improved second generation and third-generation features will dictate which providers lead the pack. Vendors that can provide internet-of-things (IoT) capabilities, ecosystem capabilities, and data context position themselves to successfully deliver added business value to their customers.”

This saying is close to me in my current job as co-founder and CTO at Product Data Lake as told in the post Adding Things to Product Data Lake.

In business ecosystem wide MDM business partners collaborate around master data. This is a prerequisite for handling asset master data involved in IoT as there are many parties involved included manufacturers of smart devices, operators of these devices, maintainers of the devices, owners of the devices and the data subjects these devices gather data about.

In the same way forward looking solution providers involved with MDM must collaborate as pondered in the post Linked Product Data Quality.

CDP: Is that part of CRM or MDM?

The notion of a data centred application type called a Customer Data Platform (CDP) seems to be trending these days. A CDP solution is a centralized registry of all data related to parties regarded as (prospective) customers at an enterprise.

This kind of solution comes from two solution markets:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Master Data Management (MDM)

The CRM track was recently covered in a Venture Beat article telling that Salesforce announces a Customer Data Platform to unify all marketing data. In this article it is also stated that Oracle just announced a similar solution named CX Unity and Adobe announced triggered journeys based on a rich pool of centralized data.

Add to that last year´s announcement from Microsoft, Adobe and SAP on their Open Data Initiative as told in the LinkedIn article Using a Data Lake for Data Sharing.

Some MDM solution providers are also on that track. Reltio Cloud embraces all customer data and Informatica Customer 360 Insights, formerly known as Allsight, is also going there as reported in the post Extended MDM Platforms.

Will be interesting to follow how CDP solutions evolve and if it is CRM or MDM vendors who will do best in this discipline. One guess could be that MDM vendors will provide “the best” solutions but CRM vendors will sell most licenses. We will see.

CDP CRM MDM

10 Years

This blog has now been online for 10 years.

pont_du_gard
Pont du Gard

Looking back at the first blog posts I think the themes touched are still valid.

The first post from June 2009 was about data architecture. 2000 years ago, the roman writer, architect and engineer Marcus Vitruvius Pollio wrote that a structure must exhibit the three qualities of firmitas, utilitas, venustas — that is, it must be strong or durable, useful, and beautiful. This is true today – both in architecture and data architecture – as told in the post Qualities in Data Architecture.

A recurring topic on this blog has been a discussion around the common definition of data quality as being that the data is fit for the intended purpose of use. The opening of this topic as made in the post Fit for what purpose?

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Tower of Babel by Brueghel

Diversity in data quality has been another repeating topic. Several old tales including in the Genesis and the Qur’an have stories about a great tower built by mankind at a time with a single language of all people. Since then mankind was confused by having multiple languages. And indeed, we still are as pondered in the post The Tower of Babel.

Thanks to all who are reading this blog and not least to all who from time to time takes time to make a comment, like and share.

greatbeltbridge
Great Belt Bridge

The Future of Disruptive MDM is in the Cloud

Two recent posts on the Gartner blog is about databases in the cloud. The Future of Database Management Systems Is Cloud by Merv Adrian ponders why cloud is now the default platform for managing data and The Future of Database Management Systems Is Cloud by Donald Feinberg does the same. Well, the two posts are identical.

This will also mean that the default platform for Master Data Management (MDM) will be in the cloud. Add to that, that the other disruptive MDM trends also will work best in the cloud.

Disruptive MDM in the Cloud

  • We increasingly see Extended MDM Platforms that also handles reference data and big data. Both these data types are predominantly external in nature and therefore they are better collected, or even better connected, in the cloud.
  • Services for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Master Data Management (MDM) is delivered by vendors as cloud solutions.
  • Encompassing IoT and MDM means collaboration between many parties and this is, with all the relationships to take care of, only possible with cloud platforms.
  • We will see several other use cases for business ecosystem wide cross company sharing of master data in what Gartner coins as Multienterprise MDM.

Modern Data Management, Paella, Herodotus, Darwin and Einstein

Reltio has a blog series with the tag #moderndatamasters. The posts are interviews with people in the data management world. The other day it was my turn to share my story.

Kate Tickner from Reltio went with me around some serious questions as:

  • How would you define “modern” data management and what does it /should it mean for organisations that adopt it?
  • What are your top 3 tips or resources to share for aspiring modern data masters?
  • Can you tell us a little more about the concepts behind Product Data Lake and your vision for how it could be used in the future?
  • What trends or changes do you predict to the data management arena in the next few years?

You can read the interview here on the Reltio blog.

At the end we touched:

  • What do you like to do outside of work?
  • Which 3 people – living or dead, real or fictional – would you invite to a dinner party and why?
  • What are you cooking?

For the dinner party I would make paella and, based on my interest in history, picked three historical persons, who also have been featured on this blog:

Reltio moderndatamasters

Data Quality and the Climate Issue

The similarities between getting awareness for data quality issues and the climate issue was touched 10 years ago here on this blog in the post Data Quality and Climate Politics.

The challenges are still the same.

There are many examples published where the results of climate change are pictured. A recent one is the image from Greenland showing huskies pulling sleds not over the usual ice, but through water.

Greenland-melting-ice-sheet-0613-01-exlarge-169

(Image taken by Steffen Malskær Olsen, @SteffenMalskaer, here published on CNN)

We also see statistics showing a development towards melting ice masses with rising sea levels as the foreseeable result. However, statistics can always be questioned. Is the ice thickening somewhere else? Has this happened many times before?

These kind of questions shows the layers we must go through getting from data quality to information quality, then decision quality and on top the wisdom in applying the right knowledge whether that is to achieve business outcomes or avoiding climate change.

DIKW data quality