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1/31/2008
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IBM Bows Multi-Domain Master Data Management Server

Pre-build data models address data quality and consistency problems related to customers, products, accounts, suppliers and more.

The leading data integration vendors addressing the emerging master data management (MDM) market are all talking about supporting multiple data domains — customer, product, account, supplier and so on — within a single product. IBM yesterday released a server it claims to be the first product to support a range of such entities "out-of-the-box."

Aimed at the widespread problem of data errors and inconsistencies, the IBM Master Data Management Server is said to include pre-built entity/domain-specific data models that speed implementation.

"For the majority of use cases, deployment will be a matter of customization and connectivity rather than having to build out the data models that apply to each entity," says Paraic Sweeney, vice president, Information Platform & Solutions.

In simpler deployments, the IBM MDM Server provides an integrated view of data in multiple systems by serving as a registry, or reference map, across those systems and managing the creation and update of master data. In more sophisticated deployments the server is integrated into services-oriented architecture, driving operational transaction systems with master data services.

Companies are under pressure to resolve data quality problems as they struggle to meet compliance demands and gain competitive advantages such as cross-sell and up-sell capabilities. The latter requires accurate and consistent information about customers, the products they own and perhaps even the manufacturing plants, distribution channels and sales and service facilities that have served each customer.

While IBM rivals ranging from SAP and Oracle to independents such as Siperian, Initiate and TIBCO are also pursuing multi-domain MDM, analyst Aaron Zornes, chief research officer for the MDM Institute, says IBM is ahead of the pack.

"I don't see other vendors having this multiple-use-case, multiple-domain, multiple-domain-modeling capability," said Zornes. "The majority of the MDM RFPs that we see now are asking for multi-domain capability. A lot of vendors support the notion of multi-domain MDM, but they don't have the same depth in data models and process models. That means the customer has to do a lot more work because [the product] is closer to a tool kit than a roughed out infrastructure."

IBM pre-announced the MDM Server in October and concluded beta testing shortly before yesterday's announcement of general availability. The product is based on technology acquired from DWL nearly two years ago. IBM also announced yesterday that this summer it will release a new version of its IBM WebSphere Product Center, a more focused MDM product focused on retailers, distributors, consumer products companies and consumer electronics manufacturers.

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