Experts Predict Integrated BPM, Data Quality Capabilities as MDM Matures

Loraine Lawson

Software AG, with its recent acquisition of Data Foundations' MDM solution, is leading the way in its focus of integrating master data management and business process management. And if it focuses on that, it could give the company a major edge, given that TIBCO is the only comparable competitor, according to Forrester's Rob Karel.


But while Software AG is poised to lead this trend, you can bet that more vendors will be talking about and integrating BPM with master data solutions, probably within the next year, according to Sandy Kemsley, a BPM expert and consultant who blogs at Columm 2.0.


Kemsley spoke with me last week about the connection between BPM and MDM. In light of the recent Software AG acquisition, with its focus on BPM, I asked how close we are to actually seeing this level of integration between the two technologies. Kemsley said.

When I spoke with the vendors about this, either they're saying, 'Oh, that's a good idea,' like they're really thinking about it or they're already thinking about it. We're probably going to see this kind of stuff coming (from the big vendors), I would hope, within the next year.

In a recent blog post on the Software AG acquisition, Karel writes that MDM vendors will also look at adding in-house data quality to their solutions. Now, several MDM vendors partner with Trillium Software for that best-of-breed data quality capabilities, but Karl believes the smart money is on bringing it in-house:

We expect to see other MDM vendors, most notably Oracle, continue to partner with Trillium as well to deliver best-of-breed data quality capabilities. We've blogged this recommendation often to Oracle, and will provide the same advice to Software AG and TIBCO: Bring data quality and matching capabilities in-house to support your MDM strategies. It's too important a component of MDM to rely solely on a third-party partner.

While Karel says Software AG is headed in the right direction, he doesn't anticipate the recent acquisition of Data Foundations will have an immediate impact on the market. Still, he explains, it's a smart move in the MDM market because it's critical that business process management be connected with master data.


Forrester calls this integrated capability "process data management," and says it's the only way master data can really affect the business where it needs to-by reducing risks and costs and increasing revenue and operational efficiency. Karel even goes so far to say the two "cannot live independently," warning that both BPM and MDM vendors will "need to address this relationship sooner rather than later."


Thus far, he adds, even big vendors with both capabilities in-house have done little to integrate these two capabilities. The post is definitely worth reading, especially since he outlines what each vendor offers in these areas-including, if you read the full readers' comments, SAP-as well as his take on their shortcomings.


He also explains the value of integrating MDM with BPM:

In our first report on process data management, we highlighted the inherent risks faced by both MDM and BPM teams when process improvement and data quality are disconnected. Our research uncovered that BPM teams face a vicious cycle of 'process data failure' if they don't invest time to uncover how processes leverage master data from the outset. And on the flip-side, MDM teams must continuously prove their value to the organization when data quality is not connected to business context.

He also expects we'll hear more about integrating data quality, data and metadata management, as well as data and process modeling into the master data and business process management suites as MDM matures. Forrester predicts MDM's maturity will be one of the top 15 trends in IT over the next three years.

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