In my ongoing sessions with enterprise architects and CTOs, I have found that many are concerned about the amount of flux in the nascent customer data integration (CDI) and master data management (MDM) markets. In my May column, I provided insight into the first six of 12 CDI-MDM milestones as a series of strategic planning assumptions to assist IT organizations and vendors in coping with the churn of the CDI-MDM vendor landscape. In this column, I wrap up my overview of these planning assumptions with the remaining six milestones.

Six More Milestones

7. Architecture and data models. During 2007, the market will further evolve as vendors specialize in analytical and operational MDM. During 2008-2009, megavendors (IBM, Oracle, SAP, Teradata) will continue to focus significant R&D and marketing resources on industry content of data models, which will force specialist vendors to remain "data model lite" via specialization in business-to-business/business-to-business-to-consumer hierarchy management and distributed CDI-MDM. Not until 2009-2010 will the CDI-MDM megavendors have rewired their foundational software to fully support their strategic application infrastructure (Oracle Fusion, SAP NetWeaver, et al) and completed transitioning from client/server to service-oriented architecture (SOA); concurrently, Global 5000 business requirements will drive vendors into fourth generation, full-spectrum hubs that support both structured and unstructured info.

8. Customer identification. During 2007, independent data quality vendors will focus on name and address cleansing as their forte as they struggle to compete against better funded match/merge and data profiling capabilities increasingly integrated with megavendor CDI-MDM solutions. By 2008, sophisticated hierarchy management capabilities will include "global IDs" as a mainstay feature for all CDI-MDM vendors to link both legacy and newly built hubs with data service providers' enrichment data; concurrently, support for metadata repositories to link the megavendors' multitude of acquisitions will continue to significantly lag. Through 2009-2010, high-speed probabilistic matching algorithms will dominate over deterministic models despite hybrid solutions providing the best results.

9. Master data delivery. During 2007, enterprise application integration (EAI)/enterprise information integration (EII)/extract, transform and load (ETL) vendors will scurry to either add persistence to their products or align with CDI-MDM vendors in a complementary role by enabling customer data hubs to interweave data from multiple diverse master sources with master data persisted in a central or distributed hub. Through 2008, systems performance will remain problematic as enterprise infrastructure teams hedge between virtual, persisted and composite/hybrid hubs; applying point solutions such as EII middleware will help adjudicate both performance and political stalemates. These middleware vendors will thrive (and be acquired) by providing increased throughput and additional repurposing/publishing capabilities to classical CDI-MDM solutions. By 2009, EAI/EII/ETL middleware will have been fully assimilated into the broader CDI-MDM vendor community via M&A (e.g., Oracle/Sunopsis, SAP/Callixa and TIBCO/Staffware).     

10. Analytics. During 2007, the convergence of CDI-MDM and business intelligence (BI) will accelerate as enterprises leverage CDI-MDM concepts in a BI context. Through 2008-2009,  ongoing evolution of analytical and operational MDM will increasingly benefit enterprises by blending such transactional hubs with a master reference data repository. By 2010, inline and real-time analytics derived from MDM-enabled aggregation of both transactional and historical data will have become the major source of sustainable competitive differentiation for Global 5000 enterprises.

11. Policy hubs and business services. During 2007, CDI-MDM vendors will lag behind their business process management (BPM) counterparts in providing workflow orchestration to synchronize the trusted sources that comprise a federated master data store. Through 2007-2008, the CDI-MDM megavendors will struggle to provide BPEL-compatible workflows while specialist CDI-MDM solutions rush distributed collaborative MDM capabilities to market. By 2009-2010, without such flexible workflows, organizations will merely rebuild the same master data files they evolved over the past 15 to 20 years with their ERP and customer relationship management (CRM) infrastructures.

12. Enterprise search. Through 2007, the unique properties and behavior of master reference data will spawn a series of vertical applications and specialized features within CDI-MDM solutions. During 2008-2009, semantically enabled metadata will enable search for both structured and unstructured info across a variety of applications such as catalog management, deep Web search and enterprise search. By 2009-2010, enterprise semantics and SOA-enabled data services will provide the technology foundation for policy hubs; concurrently, the fourth generation of hubs will innately support analytical, operational, and collaborative and MDM business services.

Hopefully, the milestones discussed here will catalyze discussions (and consensus) within your IT organization regarding the roadmap IT professionals must craft for the next three to five years. I look forward to your emails and phone calls during the next six months as we evolve these planning assumptions. See you at CDI-MDM Summit Fall 2007 in New York City this November 14 to 16 at the New York Hilton!  

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