To the Cloud and Beyond

Over at the Informatica blog Joe McKendrick recently wrote about When It’s Time to Give Data Warehouse a Digital Makeover.

In here Joe examines how data warehouses can be modernized to augment architectures supporting data lakes and Mater Data Management and the case for moving data warehouses to the cloud.

In my view, a lot of data management disciplines will eventually move to the cloud as one follows the other. By adding “beyond” I suggest, that cloud solutions will not only be something that is supported company by company. Eventually you will be able to get business outcome by sharing data management burdens within your business ecosystem.

My current venture called Product Data Lake is an example of such a solution. It modernizes the data warehouse thinking within product information sharing by using a data lake concept in the cloud ready-to-use by trading partners within business ecosystems:

  • If you are a provider of product information, typically as a manufacturer of goods, you can harvest your business outcome by using us for Product Data Push
  • If you are a receiver of product information, you can harvest your business outcome by using us for Product Data Pull

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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.

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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.

MDM Will Go Cloud

How cloud is changing MDM (Master Data Management) is a subject examined in a very read worthy article by Julie Hunt published recently. The article is called How Does Technology Enable Effective MDM?

In here Julie says: “Adoption of cloud-based MDM or MDM-as-a-Service is on the rise, opening up new dimensions for how organizations take advantage of MDM and data governance.”

Julie’s article is part 3 of a six part series on the “New Age of Master Data Management”, so I may touch on a dimension that is covered in the upcoming articles. This dimension is how business ecosystems must be a part of your organizations MDM roadmap, and that dimension is, according to Gartner, the analyst firm, covering 8 underlying dimensions as told in the post From Business Ecosystem Strategy to PIM Technology.

Working with MDM in a business ecosystem context does require MDM in the cloud of some sort. Inhouse Mater Data Management and Product Information Management (PIM), which may be on premise or in the cloud or perhaps a hybrid, is only the beginning. Collaboration with business partners in a sophisticated environment will be controlled by a cloud solution.

More on this concept is explained in this piece about Master Data Share.

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MDM as Managed Service

This month I am going to London to attend the Master Data Management Summit Europe 2017.

As a teaser before the conference Aaron Zornes made a post called MDM Market 2017-18: Facts vs. Beliefs (with apologies to current political affairs fans!).

In his article, Aaron Zornes looks at the slow intake of multi-domain MDM, proactive data governance, graph technology and Microsoft stuff ending with stating that MDM as MANAGED SERVICE = HOT:

“Just as business users increasingly gave up on IT to deliver modest CRM in a timely, cost effective fashion (remember all the Siebel CRM debacles), so too are marketing and sales teams especially looking to improve the quality of their customer data… and pay for it as a “service” rather than as a complex, long-time-to-value capital expenditure that IT manages”.

Master Data ShareI second that, having been working with the iDQ™ service years ago, and will add, that the same will be true for product data as well and then eventually also multi-domain MDM.

How that is going to look like is explained here on Master Data Share.

Is blockchain technology useful within MDM?

This question was raised on this blog back in January this year in the post Tough Questions About MDM.

Since then the use of the term blockchain has been used more and more in general and related to Master Data Management (MDM). As you know, we love new fancy terms in our else boring industry.

blockchainHowever, there are good reasons to consider using the blockchain approach when it comes to master data. A blockchain approach can be coined as centralized consensus, which can be seen as opposite to centralized registry. After the MDM discipline has been around for more than a decade, most practitioners agree that the single source of truth is not practically achievable within a given organization of a certain size. Moreover, in the age of business ecosystems, it will be even harder to achieve that between trading partners.

This way of thinking is at the backbone of the MDM venture called Product Data Lake I’m working with right now. Yes, we love buzzwords. As if cloud computing, social network thinking, big data architecture and preparing for Internet of Things wasn’t enough, we can add blockchain approach as a predicate too.

In Product Data Lake this approach is used to establish consensus about the information and digital assets related to a given product and each instance of that product (physical asset or thing) where it makes sense. If you are interested in how that develops, why not follow Product Data Lake on LinkedIn.

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Data Management Platforms for Business Ecosystems

The importance of looking at your enterprise as a part of business ecosystems was recently stressed by Gartner, the analyst firm, as reported in an article with the very long title stating: Gartner Says CIOs Need to Take a Leadership Role in Creating a Business Ecosystem to Drive a Digital Platform Strategy.

In my eyes, this trend will have a huge impact on how data management platforms should be delivered in the future. Until now much of the methodology and technology for data management platforms have been limited to how these things are handled within the corporate walls. We will need a new breed of data management platforms build for business ecosystems.

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Such platforms will have the characteristics of other new approaches to handling data. They will resemble social networks where you request and accept connections. They will embrace data as big data and data lakes, where every purpose of data consumption are not cut in stone before collecting data. These platforms will predominately be based in the cloud.

Right now I am working with putting such a data management service up in the cloud. The aim is to support product data sharing for business ecosystems. I will welcome you, and your trading partners, as subscriber to the service. If you help trading partners with Product Information Management (PIM) there is a place for you as ambassador. Anyway, please start with following Product Data Lake on LinkedIn.

Adding Things to Product Data Lake

Product Data Lake went live last month. Nevertheless, we are already planning the next big things in this cloud service for sharing product data. One of them is exactly things. Let me explain.

Product data is usually data about a product model, for example a certain brand and model of a pair of jeans, a certain brand and model of a drilling machine or a certain brand and model of a refrigerator. Handling product data on the model level within business ecosystems is hard enough and the initial reason of being for Product Data Lake.

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However, we are increasingly required to handle data about each instance of a product model. Some use cases I have come across are:

  • Serialization, which is numbering and tracking of each physical product. We know that from having a serial number on our laptops and another example is how medicine packs now will be required to be serialized to prevent fraud as described in the post Spectre vs James Bond and the Unique Product Identifier.
  • Asset management. Asset is kind of the fourth domain in Master Data Management (MDM) besides party, product and location as touched in the post Where is the Asset. Also Gartner, the analyst firm, usually in theory (and also soon in practice in their magic quadrants) classifies product and asset together as thing opposite to party. Anyway, in asset management you handle each physical instance of the product model.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) is, according to Wikipedia, the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

Fulfilling the promise of IoT, and the connected term Industry 4.0, certainly requires common understood master data from the product model over serialization and asset management as reported in the post Data Quality 3.0 as a stepping-stone on the path to Industry 4.0.

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