SOA and MDM: Two Integration Solutions That Go Great Together?

Loraine Lawson

I just happened to receive notice today in my inbox of a Webinar on master data management (MDM) and SOA. Normally, I save these announcements for Friday's integration news round-up, but the event is scheduled for this Thursday, March 20, at 11 a.m. ET.


This event caught my eye for a couple of reasons.


First -- though perhaps not the best reason -- it's like a meeting of the products on opposite sides of the "peak of inflated expectations" on the famous Gartner hype cycle: Master data management is on its way up and SOA ... well, I suspect SOA may be headed for the trough of disillusionment. I know I'm feeling pretty disillusioned since I learned people can't even agree on a definition for the "service" in SOA. But I won't go there ... for now.


Second, both SOA and MDM involve, in one way or another, integration -- so I can't help but wonder what happens when you marry the two, which is precisely what the event promises to discuss.


Third, MDM is all about the data and, as regular readers know, SOA has data "issues," whether you're talking data integration or data services. So, it'll be interesting to see how the two even fit together. The promo e-mail entices with this bit of marketing:

"More than just the latest three-letter acronym, SOA case studies demonstrate that in order to be successful, you must spend time on the data contents of all those messages flying around your ESB or EAI infrastructure (hint: it's not just web services!). Conversely, MDM isn't just the latest trend. ... Combined, MDM and SOA provide the best of best worlds and increase your chance of succeeding with an enterprise-wide future data architecture."

Marty Moseley, the CTO of Initiate Systems, is the presenter in this event, which is the latest in an ongoing vendor-sponsored MDM University Webinar Sessions. You'll need to select the presentation and fill out a basic form to preregister. After submitting the form, you'll gain access to the previous presentations, which are available for on-demand viewing.

One thing that SOA and MDM do have in common: Neither are supposed to be tied to specific technologies or vendors. While that's well-publicized with SOA, it's perhaps not so often said about MDM.

If you're just starting an MDM initiative, you might want to check out my February interview with Rob Karel, a Forrester Research principal analyst specializing in master data management (MDM) and data integration.

Karel explains what you need to know about MDM and what you should do before you talk to vendors about specific solutions, including this list of questions you should answer before you talk to vendors:

  • Do I have sufficient business sponsorship and participation in the MDM effort?
  • Am I solving for operational MDM, analytical MDM, or both?
  • What sources and targets do I need to integrate my MDM solution with?
  • What data integration solution should I leverage (ETL, SOA, EII, EAI, etc.)?
  • Am I looking for a single vendor solution or best of breed to build out my MDM ecosystem?
  • Have I scoped our MDM strategy appropriately?

Karel also walks through the MDM adoption steps you should take - assuming you want a solution that fits your needs, rather than just buying what a vendor offers. Given that Thursday's MDM/SOA Webinar is vendor-sponsored, the Q&A with Karel might be a useful pre-event read.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
May 23, 2008 1:12 PM A. Almeida A. Almeida  says:
A MDM solution should be created for a specific business domain. For example a "product" could be used by different departments of the same company for different purposes. Therefore each of department would have need different information about the asset. Furthermore some common attributes of the asset can be interpreted differently by each department. For example if the asset has a attribute location, to the security department it could mean the physical location of the asset but to shipping team it could be the delivery destination of the asset and to finance department it could be the specific office details of the customer. In an SOA environment the information being passed between different services or departments needs to be syndicated and intepreted appropriately.PS: The views expressed above are my own and may not reflect that of my employer. Reply

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