How MDM Solutions are Changing

When Gartner, the analyst firm, today evaluates MDM solutions they measure their strengths within these use cases:

  • MDM of B2C Customer Data, which is about handling master data related to individuals within households acting as buyers (and users) of the products offered by an organisation
  • MDM of B2B Customer Data, which is about handling master data related to other organizations acting as buyers (and users) of the products offered by an organisation.
  • MDM of Buy-Side Product Data, which is about handling product master data as they are received from other organisations.
  • MDM of Sell-Side Product Data, which is about handling product master data as they are provided to other organisations and individuals.
  • Multidomain MDM, where all the above master data are handled in conjunction with other party roles than customer (eg supplier) and further core objects as locations, assets and more.
  • Multivector MDM, where Gartner adds industries, scenarios, structures and styles to the lingo.

QuadrantThe core party and product picture could look like examined in the post An Alternative Multi-Domain MDM Quadrant. Compared to the Gartner Magic Quadrant lingo (and the underlying critical capabilities) this picture is different because:

  • The distinction between B2B and B2C in customer MDM is diminishing and does not today make any significant differentiation between the solutions on the market.
  • Handling customer as one of several party roles will be the norm as told in the post Gravitational Waves in the MDM World.
  • We need (at least) one good MDMish solution to connect the buy-sides and the sell-sides in business ecosystems as pondered in the post Gravitational Collapse in the PIM Space.

6 Decades of the LEGO® Brick and the 2nd Decade of MDM

28th January 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the iconic LEGO® brick.

As I was raised close to the LEGO headquarter in Billund, Denmark, I also remember having a considerable amount of LEGO® bricks to play with as a child back in the 60’s in the first decade of the current LEGO® brick design. At that time the brick was a brick, where you had to combine a few sizes and colours of bricks into resembling a usable thing from the real world. Since then the range of shapes and colours of the pieces from the Lego factory have grown considerably.

MDM BlocksMaster Data Management (MDM) went into the 2nd decade some years ago as reported in the post Happy 10 Years Birthday MDM Solutions. MDM has some basic building blocks, as proposed by former Gartner analyst John Radcliffe  back in 00’s and touched in the post The Need for a MDM Vision.

These blocks indeed look like the original LEGO® bricks.

Through the 2nd decade of MDM and in coming decades we will probably see a lot of specialised blocks in many shapes describing and covering the people, process and technology parts of MDM. Let us hope that they will all stick well together as the LEGO® bricks have done for the past 60 years.

PS: Some if the sticking together is described in the post How MDM, PIM and DAM Stick Together.

Providing a Digital Technology Platform

Gartner, the analyst firm, defines five different types of digital technology platforms:

  • Information system platform — Supports the back office operations such as ERP, CRM, PIM and other core systems with associated middleware and development capabilities.
  • Customer experience platform — Contains the main customer-facing elements, such as customer and citizen portals, multichannel commerce, and customer apps.
  • Analytics and intelligence platform — Contains information management and analytical capabilities. Data management programs and analytical applications fuel data-driven decision making, and algorithms automate discovery and action.
  • IoT platform — Connects physical assets for monitoring, optimization, control and monetization.
  • Business ecosystem platform — Supports the creation of, and connection to, external ecosystems, marketplaces and communities.
Gartner Digital Platforms 2
Source: Gartner

As a vendor of a modern data management platform, you will probably identify yourself primarily within one of these five types.

At Product Data Lake we are first and foremost a business ecosystem platform, being a cloud service for sharing product data in the business ecosystems of manufacturers, distributors, merchants and the end users of product information. As such, we are proud to be a part of the The Rise of Business Ecosystems in Data Management.

Of course, there are ties to the other types of digital technology platforms as well. As explained in the post Adding Things to Product Data Lake, the ecosystem approach is necessary to identify and track physical assets. Analytics will encompass data, as for example product data, in the business ecosystem. Customer experience in multichannel commerce when it comes to completeness of product information will require an effective cross company digital technology platform.

An external focused business ecosystem platform will have to be easily connected to the various internal focused information system platforms at trading partners. In our case, this is What a PIM-2-PIM Solution Looks Like.

 

Can You Keep Track of MDM and PIM Vendors?

If you have the job to shortlist a range of MDM and/or PIM vendors to help you getting a grip on product master data (MDM) and detailed product features (PIM), or have the job to assist a client in doing so, you may have a hard time.

As mentioned in the post Disruptive Forces in MDM Land now Gartner (the analyst firm) only mentions the 11 most expensive MDM vendors. This leaves very little room for taking into account the differences in product specific offerings, geographic presence, industry focus and other parameters.

As a consequence, PIM and Product MDM Consultant Nadim Georges WARDÉ, who runs his business from Geneva in Switzerland, is keeping track of the vendors in his own comprehensive list and have kindly provided the list to be shared here on the blog:

Nadim Warde List

You can access the full spreadsheet here.

The list also has a small section on professional service vendors, vendors that have achieved substantial funding and finally a list of vendors supporting product serialization exchange within the pharma industry – a topic covered on this blog in the post Spectre vs James Bond and the Unique Product Identifier.

 

Why IBM Declined to Participate in The Gartner MDM Magic Quadrant

The latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management Solutions was published a month ago as touched in the post Disruptive Forces in MDM Land.

In the section about IBM, there were this note: “IBM declined to participate in this research and did not supply supplemental information. Gartner’s analysis is therefore based on other credible sources, including previous research input from IBM, customer inquiries, Peer Insights reviews submitted during the period covered by this research and other publicly available information.”

My guess is that Gartner and IBM already had a bad relation around the previous report which led to that this report was delayed a couple of months as told in the post Gartner MDM Magic Quadrant in Overtime.

old-schoolToday Nancy Hensley of IBM published a post called Understanding the new Gartner MDM Magic Quadrant and the IBM position. In here Nancy explains that IBM chose not to participate because IBM has a different point of view on where the MDM marketplace is going. In other words: The Gartner MDM market view is old school.

Perhaps magic quadrants, and analyst reports in general, are old school then. Perhaps the new school is that IBM and all the other vendors explain themselves – and can be reviewed by the (professional) crowd. Well, this is the idea behind The Disruptive MDM List.

Disruptive Forces in MDM Land

MDM 2017 disruptionFor the second time this year there is a Gartner Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management Solutions out. The two leaders, Orchestra Networks and Informatica, have released their free copies here and here.

Now Gartner have stopped having a list of vendors on the market too small to be in the actual quadrant. So, if you are looking for new thinking, you will have to read the section about disruptive forces in the MDM market.

Gartner says that every market experiences disruptive forces that influence its overall shape and trajectory over time, and that inspire innovation, both transformational and incremental. According to Gartner, those most prominent in the MDM market appear diametrically opposed.

The current market is dominated by vendors who have predominantly taken a platform-centric approach involving robust technology stacks categorized as application-neutral hub-based solutions. Thus, the business value of the resulting master data is realized through utilization of that data within business applications or suites, or analytics platforms, external to the MDM solution — such as CRM, ERP and e-commerce systems, and data warehouses.

One disruptive force against that is an increase in business applications or suites with embedded ADM (Application Data Management) capabilities that address organizational needs for data management, including MDM (to varying degrees), while also managing nonmaster data for the pertinent application. Gartner states that application-centric approaches for some organizations can return greater value than platform-centric approaches in the short term and do so at reduced cost.

The opposing disruptive force stems from the emergence of more generalized data management solutions. These provide for unified execution logic on top of what is effectively an integrated technology stack. Vendors envision the primary consumption model to be cloud-based subscription. As such, these solutions will also provide a means for midmarket organizations and SMBs to procure advanced data management capabilities (such as MDM) using this model of consumption. Executed crisply, cloud-based subscriptions to these solutions may even moderate the rise of cloud-based MDM offerings.

Regular readers of this blog may guess, that I see a coming third disruptive force in MDM land, being specialized data management services for business ecosystems as explored in the post Ecosystems are The Future of Digital and MDM.

The Product Data Domain and the 2017 Gartner Data Quality Magic Quadrant

data-quality-magic-quadrant-2017The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Quality Tools 2017 is out. One place to get it for free is at the Informatica site.

As data quality for product data is high on my agenda right now, I did a search for the word product in the report. There are 123 occurrences of the word product, but the far majority is about the data quality tool as a product with a strategy and a roadmap.

The right context saying about the product domain is, as I could distil it based on word mentioning, as follows:

Product data is part of multidomain

Gartner says that the product domain is a part of multidomain support, being packaged capabilities for specific data subject areas, such as customer, product, asset and location.

Some vendors were given thumbs up for including product data in the offering. These were:

  • BackOffice Associates has this strength: Multidomain support across a wide range of use cases: BackOffice Associates’ data quality tools provide good support for all data domains, with particular depth in the product data domain.
  • Information Builders has this strength: Multidomain support and diverse use cases: Deployments by Information Builders’ reference customers indicate a diversity of usage scenarios and data domains, such as customer, product and financial data.
  • SAS (Institute, not the airline) has this strength: Strong knowledge base for the contact and product data domains.

One should of course be aware, that other vendors also may have support for product data, but this is overshadowed by other strengths.

Effect on positioning

Multidomain brings vendors to the top right. Gartner’s metrics means that leaders address all industries, geographies, data domains and use cases. Their products support multidomain and alternative deployment options such as SaaS.

Product data focus can make a vendor a challenger. Gartner tells that challengers may not have the same breadth of offering as Leaders, and/or in some areas they may not demonstrate as much thought-leadership and innovation. For example, they may focus on a limited number of data domains (customer, product and location data, for example). This also means, that missing product data focus keeps vendors away from the top right positioning, which seems to be hitting Pitney Bowes and Experian Data Quality.

Product data will become more important, but is currently behind other domains

Gartner emphasizes that data and analytics leaders including Chief Data Officers and CIOs must, to achieve CEOs’ business priorities, ensure that the quality of their data about customers, employees, products, suppliers and assets is “fit for purpose” and trusted by users.

Organizations are increasingly curating external data to enrich and augment their internal data. Finally, they are expanding their data quality domains from traditional party domains (such as customer and organization data) to other domains (such as product, location and financial data).

According to Gartner, data quality initiatives address a wide variety of data domains. However, party data (for existing customers, prospective customers, citizens or patients, for example) remains the No. 1 priority: 80% of reference customers considered it the top priority among their three most important domains. Transactional data came second highest, with 45% of reference customers naming it among their top three. Financial/quantitative data was third, with 39% of reference customers naming it. The figure for product data was 34%.

In my view, the 34% figure is because not all organizations have high numbers of product data and have major business pains related to product data. But those who have are looking at data quality tool and service vendors for suitable solutions.

MDM, Reltio, Gartner and Business Outcome

A recent well commented blog post by Andrew White of Gartner, the analyst firm, debates What’s Happening in Master Data Management (MDM) Land?

The post is an answer to a much liked and commented LinkedIn status post by Ramon Chen, Chief Product Officer of Reltio.

In his post Andrew connects the classic dots: How does technology lead to business outcome? Especially the use of cloud solutions and the multi-tenant aspect is in the focus. Andrew asks: What do you see “out there”?

My view is that multi-tenant is not just about offering the same subscription based cloud solutions to a range of clients. It is about making clients sharing the same business ecosystem work in the same MDM realm. This is the platform described in Master Data Share.

Gartner Digital Platforms 2
Source: Gartner

Oh, and what does that have to do with business outcome? A lot. Organizations will not win the future the race by optimizing there inhouse MDM capabilities alone. With the rise of digitalization, they need to connect with and understand their customers, which I believe is something Reltio is good at. Furthermore, organisations need to be much better at working with their business partners in a modern way, including at the master data level. The business outcome of this is:

  • Having complete, accurate and timely data assets needed for understanding and connecting with customers. You will sell more.
  • Having a fast and seamless flow of data assets, not at least product information, to and from your trading partners. You will reduce costs.
  • Having a holistic view of internal and external data needed for decision making. You will mitigate risks.

Betting on the Next Gartner MDM Magic Quadrant

The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management Solutions 2016 came out early in 2017 as reported in the post Who will become Future Leaders in the Gartner Multidomain MDM Magic Quadrant?

So, it may be about time to take some bets on the next one.

First question will naturally be if Gartner is able to get the report out this year? Last year it was scheduled for November 2016 but was two months late into the next year, maybe due to some struggling with the vendors, who also are clients at Gartner, based on the form of a single MDM quadrant opposite to earlier years multiple MDM quadrants for customer and product MDM.

The scheduled date on the Gartner website is 10/31/17, which to none US people reads at the 10th day in the 31st month in year 17.

MDM BrandsNext question is if there are new entries or vendors dropping off? Another market report from Information Difference had a somewhat different crowd as examined in the post Varying Views on the MDM Market 2017.

In the comments to this post readers have posted questions about Magnitude Software, TIBCO Software and Riversand Technologies. Are they in danger? And who might be new entries?

Finally, of course we can have a guess on who will be able to brag about being the leaders. Will Informatica and Orchestra Networks be followed by other ones? Riversand was close last year in that visionaries space. Stibo Systems moves in from the challengers room.

Feel free to have your bet, or set the odds, in the comments below.

Master Data: The Frontier of Infonomics

Still, the term infonomics does not run unmarked through my English spellchecker. But I think one day it will.

Infonomics BookInfonomics is first and foremost connected to Gartner analyst Doug Laney, who recently told a bit about his upcoming book on the subject in the post Why a Book on Infonomics?

In his preview Doug Laney writes: “Perhaps the book brings about a revolution of sorts, leading to the recognition of information as an accounting asset, and subject to the same legal treatment as other forms of property.

This resonates very well with me, as I think Master Data Management (MDM) is the new bookkeeping. One example of why it should be so, is examined in a nearly 10-year-old post about a financial scandal in Denmark, that would have been avoided if the auditors had spent 10 minutes on the company’s master data. Read more in Master Data Audit.

Master data is only one form of information. However, in my eyes it is the one with the best chance of making sense as an accounting asset.

As business ecosystems and related digital ecosystems are becoming increasingly important in information management I also think that exchange of master data will be worth accounting for as pondered in the post Infonomics and Second Party Data.