When IT Business Edge's Loraine Lawson last spoke with Ravi Shankar, Siperian was a pure-play master data management company. It's been six months since Informatica acquired Siperian and Shankar became the Senior Director of MDM Product Marketing. Shankar shared what's changed since the deal, including two new trends in MDM capabilities.
Lawson: How's life under Informatica? Has anything changed in terms of the solution you're offering or perhaps how Informatica customers are reacting to the MDM solution?
Shankar: The solution coming from Siperian, we continue to keep that independent, but two things need to be updated. Number one, the product itself is evolving. We have very exciting functionality coming up. There is this concept of what is called an MDM-aware application, which is an application that is aware of the MDM concepts and provides that reliable data to the business users within their own applications like CRM applications. We will probably be one of the first to deliver MDM-aware applications this fall. I'll be happy to get into a little bit more detail in the MDM-aware applications.
"There is this concept of what is called an MDM-aware application, which is an application that is aware of the MDM concepts and provides that reliable data to the business users within their own applications like CRM applications."
The second one is we are treating MDM as part of a broader technology stack, including data integration and data quality and data services and other technologies. So at Informatica, given the other technologies that we have, we see a lot of synergy, a very good fit of MDM within that technology stack and we are seeing deal acceleration for MDM.
Lawson: Let's talk about the MDM-aware applications first. Is that something that's coming out of the union of Informatica's technology with Siperian's MDM solution? Or is that something developed independent of the acquisition?
Shankar: It is coming as part of the Siperian product stack and what it means is -- let me give you Salesforce.com as an example. A sales rep is entering a new account, so they go meet a prospect and they enter that company -- let's say they enter GE. Now Salesforce.com doesn't know that, you know, there is already an account called General Electric sitting within the database, but it will accept the GE and this was the problem with all CRM applications.
Now, with MDM-aware, the Salesforce.com is connected to the Siperian, now Informatica, MDM product. When Salesforce enters GE, it will immediately flag saying, "Here is another account called General Electric." That is because we have what is called pro-active data governance, where we stop right at the source of any impure data being created and we say, "Here's another account, would you like to use that?" And the sales rep has the option to say, "That's the General Electric I want to use," or "No, this is a different branch of General Electric, I'm trying to enter it like a GE Healthcare," for example, and they can create a new account. So that's the first thing they kind of stop through pro-active data governance.
The second is, General Electric, as you know, has so many different businesses. It has GE Healthcare, GE Aviation, GE Energy, GE Money and so on. I want to see the legal hierarchy of all the different businesses within General Electric. Once I enter "General Electric" in the search, it will show me General Electric and all of the subsidiaries within that, and it can go beyond that and show me the contacts within those. It can map me to the employees and show me who is the best person within the company that can help me make this particular contact.
All of this is coming out of Salesforce.com, and to the sales rep they don't even know if it's actually coming from the MDM application. That's why we call it MDM-aware. We will enable Salesforce.com, Seibel CRM, SAP CRM and so on to be able to have this pro-active data governance and for us to see the relationships, the history of all the data changes.
What are the benefits? They don't need to build a separate application to see this information. There's no training involved. They don't need to learn this new system. They are using it within their own context. For the data steward, there's pro-active data governance and instead of the sales rep creating a "GE" account and the data steward looking at GE and General Electric and resolving that to a single version of the truth, it is being done automatically upstream. Overall, there's a lot of benefits to MDM-aware applications.
Now, there's a lot more definitions that have been given about MDM-aware applications, but this is a starting point and we'll be first to roll that out. Usually what will happen is the data from the MDM systems, the IT people have the right code to integrate it back to the CRM system or the ERP system, but with our capability they will be able to readily see that within that application itself.
Lawson: The second thing you were talking about is the MDM being part of a broader technology stack. You said you're seeing that in the market now or as a coming trend. What does that mean?
Shankar: For MDM to work, it requires data integration, because you need to move the data from the source systems into the MDM system; it needs a data quality (tool) because the data quality does the completeness - if there is a Zip code is missing, it's only data quality technology that adds that missing Zip code in there because it has address validation.
The MDM system identifies the duplicates and dissolves them to a golden record, and then once the golden record is inside the hub, you have two options. One is, you can put it back into these applications that had the inconsistent data, which again requires the data integration technology - so they can take the data from the MDM system into a data warehouse for analytical purposes. For that, you need data integration technology. Or you can display the golden record along with the transaction data in a portal. An example would be you are a customer service rep in the bank, you want to see for a particular customer the last 10 ATM transactions they did. The unique customer information comes from the MDM system, but the 10 ATM transactions they did comes from their account opening systems.
MDM as a product handles the de-duplication and creating the golden record, but MDM as a project requires data integration, data quality, the MDM product and data services to take the data out of the system to other systems. That is what the customers are looking for.
Clearly there is a trend and in the recent deals, we have actually sold them all together because they would prefer that it comes from a single vendor and Informatica is kind of unique in that we already have existing integrations, even prior to the acquisition. More than 50 percent of Siperian customers used Informatica Power Center, which is a flagship data integration product for moving the data. We have integrations with Informatica Data Quality and we have customers using that. We have integration with the AddressDoctor. And within the MDM system itself, the Siperian MDM system, the core matching technology comes from Informatica Identity Resolution.
So now, even without doing anything more, it's a very good value proposition to sell this to the customers. Clearly we have a unique advantage and a really good value proposition for our customers.