Gartner’s MDM Magic Quadrant Report

    Earlier this week, I talked about how master data management is still evolving, but for a more detailed look at what’s going on with MDM, check out Gartner newest Magic Quadrant for master data management of customer data.

    It was actually released last month — but, as usual, it’s just now available for free viewing online, thanks to some of the vendors who made the cut.

    You may wonder why it’s focused on customer data, rather than just MDM, or multi-domain MDM. That’s because Gartner is holding firm in its position that multi-domain MDM is still too immature to merit a magic quadrant. MDM needs are very diverse, the report notes, and organizations still tend to look for tools for specific master data domains, suggesting there’s less interest in multi-domain MDM.

    Of course, the downside of that is you can get silos of MDM. Also, some vendors have told me that while companies tend to start with one type of master data, as they expand MDM initiatives, they do look for tools that can support more than one domain.

    At any rate, Gartner’s focus for this report is customer data, which is the most common type of MDM deployment anyway.

    There aren’t a lot of surprises in the Magic Quadrant. IBM (both InfosSphere Advanced and Standard editions), Oracle (CDH and Siebel UCM) and Informatica all fill out the leader’s quadrant. SAP (both solutions), SAS DataFlux, Visionware and Orchestra Networks took the niche quadrant, while Tibco Software ranked as the lone visionary.

    A couple of things did stand out to me, though. First, I’m surprised by how few MDM implementations there actually are. The report includes an estimate of each vendor’s customer base, and we’re talking 210 for InfoSphere MDM Advanced edition and 300 for the Standard. Informatica has a customer base estimated at 195. Oracle actually has the most in the leader’s quadrant, with 345 licenses, although the report notes that growth has slowed significantly for that product in recent years.

    SAP has an estimated 770 licenses to manage customer data, which makes sense when you consider that organizations want to master all that ERP data.

    Even at that, Gartner believes IBM is the market share leader, followed by Oracle, Informatica, SAP and then Tibco. Gartner estimates these five companies control 80 percent of the MDM customer data solutions market.

    Second, Gartner offers an explanation of the four implementation styles for MDM, and why you might choose one over another. I’m just summarizing the highlights here:

    The consolidation style. A central hub manages a golden-copy of the record, but the source data remains the same. Pros: Good for BI, quick. Cons: Not used in operational systems and if you want to use the data for other applications, you need to remember the source data hasn’t been fixed.

    The registry style. A virtual approach that creates a central index. “Different versions of the truth are held in the index and, at runtime, the system assembles a point-in-time composite view,” Gartner writes. Pros: Requires less governance, non-invasive. Con: Gartner doesn’t mention one, but obviously, the data isn’t being fixed at source, so if that’s what you need, keep looking.

    The centralized style. This is the heavy-hitting version of MDM, where everything is brought to the central hub and then the applications get the master data from the hub. Pros: Good when you need automated integration between your source systems and MDM. Cons: Gartner categorizes it as “the most invasive style, due to changes in the application and information architecture.”

    The coexistence style. A more hybrid approach, that Gartner describes as more complex than others. “The coexistence style recognizes that master data may be authored and stored in different systems across a heterogeneous and distributed environment,” the report explains. Pros: Greater consistency and data quality across systems, plus faster access to that single version of the records. Cons: Again, the report doesn’t specify, but complexity would certainly be one of the challenges.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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