Real-World Multidomain MDM Entities

In Master Data Management (MDM) we strive to describe the core entities that are essential to running a business. Most of these entities are something that exists in the real-world. We can organize these entities in various groups as for example parties, things and locations or by their relation to the business buy-side, sell-side and make-side (production).

Multidomain MDM

The challenge in MDM is, as in life in general, that we use the same term for different concepts and different terms for the same concept.

Here are some of the classic issues:

  • An employee is someone who works within an organization. Sometimes this term must be equal to someone who is on the payroll. But sometimes it is also someone who works besides people on the payroll but is contracting and therefore is more like a vendor. Sometimes employees buy stuff from the organization and therefore acts as a customer.
  • Is it called vendor or supplier? The common perception is that a vendor brings the invoice and the supplier brings the goods and/or services. This is often the same legal entity but not too seldom two different legal entities.
  • What is a customer? There are numerous challenges in this question. It is about when a party starts being a customer and when the relationship ends. It is about whether it is a direct or an indirect customer. And also: Is it a business-to-consumer (B2C) customer, a business-to-business (B2B) or a B2B2C customer?
  • Besides employees, vendors and customers (and similar terms) we also care about other parties being business partners. We care about those entities that we must engage with in order to influence our sales. In manufacturing or reselling building materials you for example build relationships with the architects and engineers who choose the materials to be used for a building.
  • Traditionally product master data management has revolved around describing a product model which can be produced and sold in many instances over time. With the rise of intelligent things and individually configured complex products, we increasingly must describe each instance of a product as an asset. This adds to the traditional asset domain, where only a few valuable assets have been handled with focus on the financial value.
  • Each party and each thing have one and most often several relationships with a geographic location (besides digital locations as for example websites).

The relationships within multi-domain MDM was examined further in the post 3 Old and 3 New Multi-Domain MDM Relationship Types.

Data Matching and Real-World Alignment

Data matching is a sub discipline within data quality management. Data matching is about establishing a link between data elements and entities, that does not have the same value, but are referring to the same real-world construct.

The most common scenario for data matching is deduplication of customer data records held across an enterprise. In this case we often see a gap between what we technically try to do and the desired business outcome from deduplication. In my experience, this misalignment has something to do with real-world alignment.

Data Matching and Real World Alignment

What we technically do is basically to find a similarity between data records that typically has been pre-processed with some form of standardization. This is often not enough.

Location Intelligence

Deduplication and other forms of data matching with customer master data revolves around names and addresses.

Standardization and verification of addresses is very common element in data quality / data matching tools. Often such at tool will use a service either from its same brand or a third-party service. Unfortunately, no single service is often enough. This is because:

  • Most services are biased towards a certain geography. They may for example be quite good for addresses in The United States but very poor compared to local services for other geographies. This is especially true for geographies with multiple languages in play as exemplified in the post The Art in Data Matching.
  • There is much more to an address than the postal format. In deduplication it is for example useful to know if the address is a single-family house or a high-rise building, a nursing home, a campus or other building with lots of units.
  • Timeliness of address reference data is underestimated. I recently heard from a leader in the Gartner Quadrant for Data Quality Tools that a quarterly refresh is fine. It is not, as told in the post Location Data Quality for MDM.

Identity Resolution

The overlaps and similarities between data matching and identity resolution was discussed in the post Deduplication vs Identity Resolution.

In summary, the capability to tell if two data records represent the same real-world entity will eventually involve identity resolution. And as this is very poorly supported by data quality tools around, we see that a lot of manual work will be involved if the business processes that relies on the data matching cannot tolerate too may, or in some cases any, false positives – or false negatives.

Hierarchy Management

Even telling that a true positive match is true in all circumstances is hard. The predominant examples of this challenge are:

  • Is a match between what seems to be an individual person and what seems to be the household where the person lives a true match?
  • Is a match between what seems to be a person in a private role and what seems to be the same person in a business role a true match? This is especially tricky with sole proprietors working from home like farmers, dentists, free lance consultants and more.
  • Is a match between two sister companies on the same address a true match? Or two departments within the same company?

We often realize that the answer to the questions are different depending on the business processes where the result of the data matching will be used.

The solution is not simple. The data matching functionality must, if we want automated and broadly usable results, be quite sophisticated in order to take advantage of what is available in the real-world. The data model where we hold the result of the data matching must be quite complex if we want to reflect the real-world.

The latest and hottest trends within MDM

Leading up to the Nordic Midsummer I am pleased to join Informatica and their co-hosts Capgemini and CGI at two morning seminars on how successful organizations can leverage data to drive their digital transformation, the needed data strategy and the urge to have a 360-view of data relationships and interactions.

My presentations will be an independent view on the question: What are the latest and hottest trends within Master Data Management?

In this session, I will give the audience a quick walk-through visiting some in vogue topics as MDM in the cloud, MDM for big data, embracing Internet of Things (IoT) within MDM, business ecosystem wide MDM and the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on MDM.

The events will take place, and you can register to be there, as follows:

Infa Nordic morning seminars 2019

Data Quality Tools are Vital for Digital Transformation

The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Quality Tools 2019 is out. It will take you 43 minutes to read through, so let me provide a short overview.

Gartner says that “data quality tools are vital for digital business transformation, especially now that many have emerging features like automation, machine learning, business-centric workflows and cloud deployment models.”

The data quality software tools market was at 1.61 billion USD in 2017 which was an increase of 11.6% compared to 2016.

Gartner sees that end-user demand is shifting toward having broader capabilities spanning data management and information governance. Therefore, the data quality tool market continues to interact closely with the markets for data integration tools and for Master Data Management (MDM) products.

Among the capabilities mentioned is multidomain support meaning capabilities covering all the specific data subject areas, such as customer, product, asset and location. Interestingly Gartner continues to focus on customer as the one of several party data domains out there. In my experience, there are the same data quality challenges with vendor and other business partner data as well as with employee data.

According to Gartner, data quality tool vendors are competing to address shifting market requirements by introducing an array of new technologies, such as machine learning, interactive visualization and predictive/prescriptive analytics, all of which they are embedding in data quality tools. They are, according to Gartner, also offering new pricing models, based on open source and subscriptions.

The vendors included in the quadrant are positioned as seen below:

Gartner DQ 2019

If you want a full copy of the report you can, against providing your personal data, get it from Information Builders here.

Data Quality Dimensions in Motion

For the fifth year Dan Myers of DQMatters is making an Annual Dimensions of Data Quality Survey.

There are some very interesting findings when looking at the trend in the previous years surveys as seen in the figure below.

Data Quality Dimensions 2015 to 2018

Among the data quality dimensions included in this survey we see that the use of consistency, validity and not at least completeness has increased significantly over these years.

The possible use of consistency and completeness was examined here on the blog in the post Multi-Domain MDM and Data Quality Dimensions. Another dimension included in this post was uniqueness, which is a frequently addressed data quality dimension for customer master data in the quest of fighting duplicates in databases around.

You can now be part of the 2019 Annual Dimensions of Data Quality Survey here.

Several Sources of Truth about MDM / PIM Solutions

The previous post on this blog was about Forrester vs Gartner on MDM/PIM. This post was about who is recognized as a major Master Data Management (MDM) / Product Information Management (PIM) solution vendor by the analyst firm Forrester versus who is recognized as a major MDM solution provider by the analyst firm Gartner.

MDM Truths

Now, let us have a look into how the individual solution providers are ranked in either the same way or differently by these major analyst firms spiced with my humble take on where this will be going. In the cause of brevity, I will focus on vendors positioned by Forrester as an MDM /PIM leader or strong performer or by Gartner as an MDM leader, visionary or challenger.

Informatica is an MDM leader both with Forrester and Gartner. When it comes to PIM Forrester has Informatica a little behind the leaders and back in the days when Gartner had specific customer MDM and product MDM quadrants, Informatica did better in customer MDM versus product MDM. Informatica has strengthened their grip on customer MDM with the recent AllSight acquisition. Will be interesting to see what moves Informatica will take to catching up on the product MDM / PIM battle ground and thus consolidating their multidomain MDM leadership.

Orchestra Networks who was recently acquired by Tibco is a leader in the eyes of Gartner but a bit less prominent positioned as a strong performer in the eyes of Forrester. The question asked on the market is if Tibco, against how earlier acquisitions turned out, will be able uphold Orchestra’s position as examined in the post Tibco, Orchestra and Netrics.

Reltio is a leader in the Forrester wave but still a niche player in the Gartner quadrant. This may say more about Forrester versus Gartner than about Reltio. Forrester seems to focus more on where the market is going while Gartner emphasizes on where the market has gone.

Riversand is a strong MDM and PIM performer at Forrester and a visionary in the Gartner quadrant. Perhaps Gartner sees a bit more on the vision side and Forrester a bit more on the offering side, but all in all the two analyst firms seems to be in agreement about Riversand. I think Riversand is on a good track.

SAP is a strong performer in the Forrester wave and a strong challenger according to Gartner. A lot of SAP ECC clients have and will choose the SAP MDG offering based on IT landscape simplification considerations. The Forrester PIM wave has SAP trailing the other solutions, which corresponds with my impression, which is that the SAP Hybris offering is struggling with really being a PIM solution.

Semarchy just made a high jump into the Gartner MDM quadrant challenger zone and according to Forrester they have the strongest MDM strategy possible. No doubt about that Semarchy is going in the fast track.

Profisee just moved up from niche player to challenger in the latest Gartner MDM quadrant. However, they were not included in the Forrester MDM wave. In my eyes, Profisee belongs among the major MDM solution providers.

Stibo Sytems is a challenger in the Gartner MDM quadrant. Forrester has Stibo Systems as a PIM leader but less prominent as an MDM contender. Stibo Systems has been on the same track as Riversand going from being a PIM vendor to become a multidomain MDM vendor. Perhaps because they are self-funded, versus Riversand being funded from outside, their tracks seem different.

IBM hangs on as a challenger in the Gartner MDM quadrant. Forrester only have IBM as a contender both for MDM and PIM. Nevertheless, large companies, not at least in the financial sector, will continue to rely on IBM also when it comes to MDM.

EnterWorks is a PIM leader and also an MDM leader according to Forrester. According to Gartner they are still a niche player in MDM. Recently EnterWorks joined forces with WinShuttle as told in the post The Recent Coupling on the MDM Market. It is not unlikely, that the Forrester view and the Gartner view will be aligned in the future.

Pitney Bowes is a strong performer in the latest Forrester wave sliding a bit from being a leader two years ago. They are not included in the Gartner quadrant. Pitney Bowes need to promote themselves as an MDM vendor and come up with new stuff to remain a major player on the MDM market.

Magnitude Software, who’s MDM solution was formerly known as Kalido, has moved up from contender to be a strong performer in the Forrester Wave. They are not included in the Gartner quadrant. Will be exciting to see if Magnitude Software can reignite the momentum Kalido had back in the first MDM years. Agility Multichannel is a part of Magnitude Software and a strong PIM performer at Forrester – and in my eyes too.

Contentserv is a PIM leader on the Forrester wave. Contentserv is also an MDM niche player on the Gartner quadrant. inRiver and Salsify are strong PIM performers on the Forrester wave but not big enough (and perhaps not MDM focussed enough) to be on the Gartner MDM quadrant.

PS: You can learn more about many of solutions mentioned here – and some more – on The Disruptive Master Data Management Solutions List.

Forrester vs Gartner on MDM/PIM

Both Forrester and Gartner have recently published reports with rankings of the vendors on the Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) market.

Below is an overview of who is in (and who is out) in these reports:

Forrester vs Gartner

Forrester MDM Wave 2019Forrester’s Master Data Management report (the Wave) came out this week as reported in the post Toward the Third Generation of MDM. This report focusses on MDM capabilities. The included vendors follow in some extent the same vendors recognized by Gartner with Profisee as a surprising omission. Instead Forrester has included Pitney Bowes, Backoffice Associates and Magnitude Software (the solution formerly known as Kalido).

2018-Forrester-PIM-WaveLast June Forrester published their Product Information Management Wave as told in the post There is no PIM quadrant, but there is a PIM wave. This report included some PIM vendors not included by Gartner. These were Agility Multichannel (part of Magnitude Software), inRiver and Salsify.

MDM MQ 2018The Gartner report (the Magic Quadrant) came out in December as mentioned in the post Movements in the Gartner MDM Magic Quadrant 2018. Gartner began some years ago only publishing a multidomain MDM view instead of their previous separate customer MDM and product MDM quadrants. Gartner has, opposite to Forrester, included Ataccama and Via Medici.

PS: If you want to know about some more interesting vendors on the MDM/PIM market, you can have a look at The Disruptive Master Data Management Solutions List.

Toward the Third Generation of MDM

The Forrester Wave™: Master Data Management, Q1 2019 is out. The subtitle of the report is “Toward the Third Generation of Master Data Management.”

This resonates very well with my view as for example expressed is the post Three Stages of MDM Maturity.

The Forrester Report has this saying on that theme: “The internet of things has led to systems of automation and systems of design, which introduce new MDM usage scenarios to support co-design and the exchange of information on customers, products, and assets within ecosystems”.

Else, the report of course ranks the best selling MDM solutions as seen below:

Forrester MDM Wave 2019

You can get a free copy of the report from Riversand here or from Reltio here.

The Disruptive Movement on the MDM/PIM Market

Back in December when the latest Gartner Magic MDM Quadrant came out a post here on the blog asked the question: Who Will Make the Next Disruption on the MDM Market? Since then a couple of things has taken place on the market as reported in post The Recent Coupling on the MDM Market.

As part of following the market and working with the Master Data Share concept (and firm) I manage a list of Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) solutions called The Disruptive Master Data Management Solutions List.

Some of the listed solutions here, Enterworks and AllSight, has been affected by the recent M&A activity on the market as Enterworks is being merged with WinShuttle and AllSight has become a part of Informatica.

Will be exciting to see if anything more will happen on the market in terms of disruptiveness. More M&As? More disruptive announcements from current players? New or hidden disruptive players?

Disruptive MDM M and A