As a research analyst, I have been regularly meeting with enterprise architects and project leaders who are concerned about the product strategy roadmaps of the major customer data integration (CDI) and master data management (MDM) vendors. Keeping in spirit with the "CDI-MDM is a journey" adage, I will present my annual CDI-MDM milestones as a series of strategic planning assumptions to assist IT organizations and vendors in coping with the flux and churn of the solutions landscape.

I have identified 12 milestones to be addressed. This column discusses the first six, with my next monthly column discussing the remaining six.

1. Market maturation. During 2007, the CDI-MDM market will continue to shift gears from "early adopter" to "mainstream" as more than 95 percent of financial services, communications services and pharmaceutical/life sciences enterprises actively plan to replace homegrown CDI-MDM solutions. Through 2009, verticalization/horizontalization of CDI-MDM solutions will expand beyond financial reporting and health care into financial services and government. By 2010, the market for MDM solutions will exceed $2 billion.

2. Market momentum. During 2007-08, CDI-MDM software solutions such as IBM, Oracle, SAP and Teradata will monopolize the majority market share in the Global 5000 enterprise, while midmarket solutions will arrive from Microsoft, Nimaya and Oracle plus data quality vendors Pitney Bowes, SAS/DataFlux and Trillium. Concurrently, a niche market will arise for hosted solutions led by early-to-market vendors Alliance Consulting and Unisys. Through 2009, both mega and best-of-breed CDI-MDM vendors will aggrandize the traditional master customer database business of data service providers such as Acxiom, D&B and GUS/Experian as these vendors struggle to deliver on-premise CDI hub solutions. By 2009-2010, every major application and database vendor will provide either native or OEMed CDI-MDM capability.

3. Market consolidation and diversification. During 2007, mega IT vendors will continue mergers and acquisitions-driven research and development gyrations in moving to an enterprise MDM-centric portfolio. By 2008-2009, IBM and Oracle will begin to overcome most of the same architectural/BPM/metadata/platform issues that confounded SAP earlier. Through 2010, IT megavendors will dominate the CDI-MDM market, with niche/best-of-breed vendors thriving in specific industries and horizontal/corporate applications.

4. Budgets and skills. During 2007, the typical Global 5000 enterprise will budget/spend $1 million for CDI-MDM software solutions, with an additional $3 million to $4 million for systems integration services; global service providers will operate under this price floor by applying highly customized, labor-intensive frameworks and related accelerators. Throughout 2008, skill shortages will greatly inflame project costs as demand for data stewards, enterprise data architects and other individuals with strong affinity for data governance will outstrip the market for experienced individuals. Concurrently, systems integrators will fill the void in their classic style by baiting and switching senior veterans for junior rookies. By 2008-2009, the market will have stabilized as enterprises react by training and protecting their own CDI-MDM staff with specific software product and project expertise.

5. Data governance. During 2007, enterprise-level data governance will be mandated as a core deliverable of large-scale CDI-MDM projects delivered via requests for proposal. Through 2008, major systems integrators and CDI-MDM boutiques will focus on productizing their data governance frameworks while most CDI-MDM solution providers will struggle to link business process design with process hub architecture. By 2008-2009, both corporate and line-of-business data stewards will be a common position as Global 5000 enterprises formalize this function amidst increasing de facto and de jure recognition of information as a corporate asset.

6. MDM convergence. During 2007, customer and product data interdependencies will quickly broaden CDI-MDM requirements, i.e., from "customer" to "product" to "vendor;" concurrently, vendor dogma will promote nouveau approaches such as collaborative MDM to assuage the multihub conundrum. Through 2008, select best-of-breed vendors (Kalido, Purisma, Siperian, Stratature) will provide multihub (entity, architecture and brand) connectivity via hierarchy management extensions. By 2008-2009, enterprises without a long-term MDM strategy run the ironic risk of building "MDM silos."

Hopefully, the milestones discussed here will catalyze discussions (and consensus) within your IT organization regarding the roadmap that IT professionals must craft for the next three to five years.

And now I resuscitate a quote from Mark Twain that may inspire (or humor) readers regarding their IT organization's journey to enterprise MDM: "Travel has no longer any charm for me. I have seen all the foreign countries I want to except heaven and hell. And I have only a vague curiosity about one of those."

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