In a major step toward creating an internal global data infrastructure, Microsoft has selected Initiate Systems' customer data integration (CDI) software for its Microsoft Individuals and Organizations (MIO) project. This decision advances implementation of Microsoft's vision to create a single, consistent source of information within the company for its complex data on organizations and individuals. It will enable MIO to deliver composite views of all organizational data relating to customers, partners and suppliers, including advanced business-to-business (B2B) hierarchy management. In the first phase of the project, some 28 million data records for U.S. and Canadian organizations drawn from a number of external master data sources have been matched with excellent hardware throughput performance. The project involved using Initiates' Identity Hub software to provide composite views of the data. At the same time, Initiate also developed a new B2B stewardship tool to support data stewards who manage this data across the business. Initiate plans to release this tool, which provides visual hierarchy management and navigation, for general sale in the autumn.
This announcement highlights a requirement shared by many global businesses: to tackle the problem of integrating external and internal data into a single, trusted source. Although the current implementation is quite limited in domain scope (it focuses only on customers), in developing this tool to support data stewardship, Initiate is one of the first vendors to begin to converge and link operational master data management (MDM), which synchronizes master data at the operational systems level, and analytic MDM, which supports business intelligence and analytic requirements. Ventana Research believes this is a move in the right direction. To take hold, however, it will have to be extended to other related master data domains, such as product, vendor, people, and time and calendar. And we wonder whether this project foreshadows a future focus by Microsoft on MDM.
Ventana Research recommends that customers who have a strong need to manage customer and organization data in both operational and analytic MDM consider this approach from Initiate Software. Organizations that seek a more comprehensive approach to master data management should survey the wider market before making a final decision.
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