Boiling the Ocean
By David Butler on May 17, 2011
When MDM comes up in conversations around the planning table, it is not uncommon for someone to raise the objection that they aren’t interested in trying to “boil the ocean”. What they are saying is that solving all the data quality issues across the enterprise is a job so big, that it has little chance for success. The fear is that anyone who takes on such a project is doomed to fail. To overcome this objection, MDM proponents must point out that the best practice is to start small to solve a specific Data Quality (DQ) issue. Then, use the ROI to fund additional MDM projects - growing into a full information architecture over time.
It might interest you to know that we have the same discussions inside development. Ten years ago, suggesting that we invest in MDM to solve the worlds DQ problems was met with the exact same “boiling the ocean” objection. And as it is with MDM deployments, so it is with MDM development. Oracle started on a long term strategic initiative that started with key products focused on tangible realizable goals.
Home Grown Beginning
Oracle’s phased approach started with a customer data quality problem inside our own E-Business Suite of applications. We built a program called Oracle Customers Online to manage the data in our customer model. Another early initiative was to create a program to standardize product data in the E-Business Suite item master. Its first release was called Oracle Advanced Product Catalog. Adding data quality, source system management, and application integration capabilities, these two products grew into the Oracle Customer Data Hub and the Oracle Product Hub.
The Acquisition Phase
Oracle took a large step in its march to MDM market leadership with the Siebel acquisition. Their Universal Customer Master brought Oracle a business to consumer orientation with significant MDM capabilities. These included key support of customer facing business processes such as ‘Customer Loyalty’ and ‘Customer Privacy’. The second major MDM acquisition was Hyperion Data Relationship Management (DRM). This gave Oracle a powerful analytical MDM capability as well as the ability to manage master financial reference data.
The expansion Phase
With a solid foundation for customer, product, and financial data MDM, Oracle entered its MDM expansion phase with significant growth along multiple dimensions. The depth of functionality in each existing hub was increased. Industry specific versions were introduced for Comms, Retail, and Higher Education. New MDM hubs were released with the Site Hub and Supplier Hub. Application integration was substantially enhanced by leveraging Oracle’s Fusion Middleware offerings for SOA and Data Integration. SOA enabled ‘MDM Aware’ applications and Data Integration provided maps into Oracle Business Intelligence (OBI) applications. And Data Governance was addressed with the Data Governance Manager.
Fusion Master Data Management
Oracle is now on a path to create Fusion Application versions of all our MDM hubs. The Fusion Product Hub and the Fusion Customer Hub are already available. With recent data quality acquisitions providing the full range of DQ capabilities needed across MDM dimensions being consolidated into the Fusion Middleware platform for all MDM hubs, Oracle will possess the world’s only truly multi-dimensional MDM suite on a single least cost of ownership platform.
The Oracle MDM investment has been significant and sustained over time because of the benefits MDM brings to our customers. We can solve the enterprise data quality problem. We boiled the ocean.