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6/7/2007
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Microsoft Buys Data Management Vendor Stratature

Microsoft said it would withdraw Stratature's +EDM products from the market, and eventually integrate the technology into its own software.

Microsoft on Thursday said it has acquired master-data management vendor Stratature, and plans to use the company's technology in delivering consistent data across products found within its SQL Server, Business Intelligence, and SharePoint groups.

Microsoft said it would withdraw Stratature's +EDM products from the market, and eventually integrate the technology into its own software. The software maker said it would fulfill existing contracts and support agreements with Stratature customers.

"It is important to keep in mind that most of Stratature's customers are Microsoft customers, and it is our shared aim to provide more value to customers in the end through the acquisition," Microsoft said. Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

In a FAQ posted online, Microsoft said it decided to buy Stratature rather than build its own master-data management, or MDM, system, because Stratature's had just what the larger vendor wanted, a generic MDM product, strong hierarchy management capabilities, flexible data models, granular security models, data stewardship capabilities, and human workflows.

Microsoft did not give any detail on which of its products would be integrated with Stratature's, saying that announcements would be made at a later date. Stratature's products would not replace any Microsoft software.

The company, however, did say that the first delivery of MDM-related technology from Microsoft would focus on analytical hierarchy management, a function that helps business executives get information about departmental operations. The product would also provide developers with a single source of authoritative data to simplify data integration.

Stratature's MDM system is currently implemented using Microsoft's SQL Server database. In the future, the MDM capabilities would be delivered through the Microsoft Office system applications and servers on top of SQL Server. Stratature's product today makes it possible to manage PerformancePoint master data and make it possible to share it with other applications.

MDM systems are used in sharing data across disparate IT systems in order to enable consistent computing across diverse system architectures and business functions. The technology is often used in transactional and business intelligence systems.

Mark Smith, executive VP of research for Ventana Research, said Microsoft only had a database, and needed an MDM system, if it expected to compete against Oracle, SAP and IBM, which have their own. With Office, business intelligence, and ERP systems, Microsoft needed to be able to share consistent data across its portfolio. "You need to have a mechanism where you can define data once, and use it many times," Smith said.

The test over time will be how effectively Microsoft and its rivals can use their MDM systems to solve a major problem faced by many large companies, the ability to define data once and then share across any vendor's business application. The question, Smith said, is "how quickly can they (their systems) mature to interoperate across the enterprise, beyond their own portfolios?"

Stratature, based in Atlanta, Ga., employs 16 full-time employees, who will continue to work either full-time or as a transitional employee for Microsoft for a defined period of time. Besides the United States, Stratature has a small number of sales reps in Britain and Canada.

This article was edited on June 7 to add analyst comments

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