Dell Boomi is the third company to unveil a cloud-based MDM solution. Experts say Orchestra Network’s cloud solution is primarily used as a cheaper way to run a proof-of-concept before investing and Informatica’s Cloud MDM is really only for Salesforce prospect data. So is Dell Boomi’s MDM solution the real thing? Chris McNabb makes the company’s case for seeing this as the first, true, cloud-based MDM solution.
Lawson: Gartner doesn’t recognize cloud-based MDM as a mature field. One of the issues is that vendors have claimed MDM in the cloud, when the solution actually just dealt with one type of data. So what kind of data can you master? Are you limited in any way in terms of what you have the capacity to master?
McNabb: Dell Boomi is announcing the launch of its next-generation MDM suite, bringing together master data management, data integration and data quality services in a solution from a single vendor. By combining the benefits of cloud, as well as community-driven innovation, we believe we’ve produced an affordable MDM solution poised to disrupt what we see as an underserved mid-market.
We looked at a piece of research from TDWI by Phillip Russom, who did a really nice job of saying MDM is solving some problems for people, but it really needs to evolve to a next generation and you need these 10 features to do that. We really looked at those and said, “Boy, if our product had those features, we could really address the problems of the mid-market in a very different way.” So we designed and developed with a lot of those in mind.
Right now, and through our early adopters, we have been able to handle all customer data, product data, and basically vendor data or commercial company data. Those are the three that we’ve worked through so far and we have all three of those in a single repository, in a single product. So you go into one product and you have all of those available to you right now. That’s the work we’ve done to date.
We do believe we could add other domains to that as well.
Lawson: Where is the data being mastered? Do organizations have to move their data into your cloud service for it to be mastered?
McNabb: Yes, we can share master data with resources or applications that are in the cloud, that are on-premise or somewhere else up and down your supply chain. Location to us is an easy thing to leverage, particularly in use of our integration platform. All of those systems can be sources and can be connected to the master data management hub of the customer. It’s just the case that our MDM application is a cloud application, so the master data actually does reside in the cloud. When you have customer MDM, the actual golden records for that is in our cloud.
Lawson: OK, so if they decide to go to an on-premise solution, then what happens with their master data?
McNabb: Well, if they started out with us, then we would hand that master data over to them for putting that into whatever their new MDM of choice is.
Lawson: Would you describe it as a hub or registry style?
McNabb: This is a hub style. We actually have the information in the hub as opposed to saying, “Go here for this information,” and, “Go here for that information.”
With the integration capabilities of the Boomi platform, basically what happens is we have asynchronous, real-time communication capabilities, which means somebody out there in Salesforce makes a change to any customer data that you care about, then that event gets delivered to us in real-time. On its way in, it gets validated, cleansed and enriched, maybe by some of the data quality services that you want to embed into the suite, handed off to the MDM. The MDM goes through its matching rules and says, “Is this a new change or a new record and/or change to an existing record?” It then looks at it and makes the change in the MDM golden record.
Once that change occurs, it goes through its list and sees you have 10 other sources out here that care about any changes to customer data, so it then makes a publish and subscribe mechanism in real time, hands that change off and makes the necessary API calls, database calls or whatever it needs to do to update all of the subsequent applications that care about that change in real time.
Lawson: How customizable is this in in terms of connecting with on-premise systems, legacy systems?
McNabb: The MDM from Dell Boomi can be purchased separately. Obviously it’s our strong preference that you're an owner of the integration capabilities, as well as the MDM/data quality — we feel like they work best that way. Because of the reach and breadth of our integration capabilities, we can conduct all kinds of application integration, ETL batch integration, as well as real time.
Our cloud integration platform gives us a reach into any cloud asset that you really want, any customer or any partner sort of integration that you want to be able to conduct, and any other item in your enterprise. We really have that kind of reach. We have big general technology connectors. I can connect to any ODBC- or JDBC-compliant database. I can connect or create a connector to any kind of API that might exist. So if you have a unique sort of order entry system, we can with our connector SDK create a connector for that and get that to be a part of the MDM system. So we have ways to, in a very broad, robust way, connect to anything that you have.
Lawson: What about data quality issues? Beyond what MDM does, is that customizable at all?
McNabb: When we looked at data quality services, one of the things that we recognized was that that market and that category of offering was very broad. Boy, there are just lots and lots and lots of companies doing it. They're tailoring their offerings in lots of different ways.
We started walking through them and saying, “OK, how do different people—what sort of data quality services do they need?” And you know, we were initially going down a path much like a lot of the market leaders and going to acquire a data quality service in Dell, but we went a different direction. The different direction we went in was to say we need data quality of choice. Customer data in a health care system, those customers are called patients and they may have very different data quality requirements than people in a financial services area where there are customers as opposed to higher education where those customers are called students. And what you're looking to verify and ensure for those may be different.
So we came up with a technology -- basically another form of an SDK -- that allows you to embed the data quality services products of your choice. As long as they're publically available over the Internet, we can embed them into our application. You can install them in line and say I’d like to do this one, then this one, then this one when this kind of information comes in or else I’d like to do this one, and so on.
We’re dealing with a prospect today that’s a major credit reporting company and they’ve created their own data quality services. They said, “Hey, listen, nobody’s better than mine. Can’t I use mine and embed that into your MDM?” Absolutely you can.
So we have a data quality services approach that allows you to one, embed it in our application as though it was built in there, right, and two, you can choose whatever it is that you want and in whatever order you want them to be able to be activated.