My last column discussed the first six milestones addressed by The CDI Institute's research team in response to the question: What are the key differentiators of next-generation customer data integration (CDI) solutions for 2006-7? The first six milestones are market maturation, market momentum, market consolidation, budgets/skills, data governance and master data management (MDM) convergence. In this column I shall discuss the final six milestones:

7. Architecture. During 2006-07, Global 5000 enterprises will migrate en masse from custom-built customer data hubs onto commercial CDI/MDM solutions - primarily those of mega vendors IBM, Oracle/Siebel and SAP. Through 2007-08, systems performance will remain problematic as enterprise infrastructure teams hedge between virtual, persisted and composite/hybrid hubs; applying point solutions such as enterprise information integration (EII) middleware will help adjudicate both performance and political stalemates. By 2008-09, both market-leading enterprises and CDI/MDM vendors will have completed their transition from client/server to service-oriented architecture (SOA) by migrating from "data hubs" to "process/policy hubs"; concurrently, CDI/MDM requirements will drive vendors into fourth generation, full-spectrum hubs (support for structured and unstructured info with extreme scalability).

8. Data Models. During 2006-07, mega CDI/MDM vendors will continue to focus significant resources (R&D and marketing) on the industry content aspect of data models, which will force specialist CDI/MDM vendors to stay "data model lite" via specializations such as B2B hierarchy management and distributed CDI/MDM. By 2007-08, sophisticated hierarchy management will become a mainstay feature of all CDI/MDM vendors, yet support for metadata repositories to link the mega vendors' multitude of acquisitions will continue to lag significantly. Not until 2008-09 will the mega CDI/MDM vendors have rewired software to fully support their strategic application infrastructure (Oracle Fusion, SAP NetWeaver, et al). Concurrently, CDI/MDM vendors will migrate from data model-centric architectures to process model centricity.

9. Customer Identification. During 2006-07, independent data quality vendors will struggle to compete against better-funded match/merge and data profiling capabilities increasingly integrated with mega vendor CDI/MDM solution (e.g., IBM Customer Center with WebSphere QualityStage, Oracle Customer Data Hub with Data Librarian). By 2007-08, standalone data quality vendors will evolve into standalone CDI hubs focused on the mid-market while maintaining postal service address cleansing as their forte. Through 2008-09, high-speed probabilistic matching algorithms will dominate over deterministic models despite hybrid solutions providing the best results.

10. Master Data Delivery. During 2006-07, EAI (enterprise application integration), EII (enterprise information integration) and ETL (extract, transform and load) vendors will scurry to either add persistence to their products or align themselves with CDI/MDM vendors as a complementary role by enabling customer data hubs to interweave data from multiple diverse master sources with master data persisted in a central hub. Through 2007-08, these vendors will thrive by providing increased throughput and additional repurposing and publishing capabilities to classical CDI/MDM solutions; such federated/virtual CDI/MDM will be increasingly designated as "dynamic CDI." By 2008-09, EAI/EII/ETL middleware will have been fully assimilated into broader CDI/MDM vendor community via M&A.

11. Analytics. During 2006-07, data marts will continue to function as bridges across the void between operational, historical and analytical data to correlate customer information across multichannels, lines of business and internal trusted sources. Through 2007-08, ongoing evolution of enterprise data warehouse and operational data store to support trickle-feed update will increasingly blur the lines between real-time analytics and dynamic CDI/MDM style aggregation. By 2008-09, inline and real-time analytics derived from CDI-enabled aggregation of both transactional and historical data will have become the major source of sustainable competitive differentiation for Global 5000 enterprises.

12. Business Services/Workflow.  During 2006-07, CDI/MDM vendors will lag their BPM counterparts in providing workflow orchestration to synchronize the trusted sources that comprise a federated master data store. Through 2007-08, the mega CDI/MDM vendors will struggle to provide BPEL-compatible workflows while the specialist CDI/MDM solutions rush distributed CDI/MDM capabilities to market. Without such flexible workflows, organizations are merely rebuilding the same master data files they evolved the past 15 to 20 years with their enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management infrastructures.

Hopefully the milestones presented 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 during the next six months as we evolve these planning assumptions. See you at CDI/MDM SUMMIT 2006 in San Francisco this March 2-3!

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