Oracle Enterprise Data Quality: Ever Integration-ready

It is closing in on a year now since Oracle’s acquisition of Datanomic, and the addition of Oracle Enterprise Data Quality (EDQ) to the Oracle software family. The big move has caused some big shifts in emphasis and some very encouraging excitement from the field.  To give an illustration, combined with a shameless promotion of how EDQ can help to give quick insights into your data, I did a quick Phrase Profile of the subject field of emails to the Global EDQ mailing list since it was set up last September. The results revealed a very clear theme:

 

Integration, Integration, Integration!

As well as the important Siebel and Oracle Data Integrator (ODI) integrations, we have been asked about integration with a huge variety of Oracle applications, including EBS, Peoplesoft, CRM on Demand, Fusion, DRM, Endeca, RightNow, and more - and we have not stood still! While it would not have been possible to develop specific pre-integrations with all of the above within a year, we have developed a package of feature-rich out-of-the-box web services and batch processes that can be plugged into any application or middleware technology with ease. And with Siebel, they work out of the box.

Oracle Enterprise Data Quality version 9.0.4 includes the Customer Data Services (CDS) pack – a ready set of standard processes with standard interfaces, to provide integrated:

  • Address verification and cleansing
  •  Individual matching
  • Organization matching

The services can are suitable for either Batch or Real-Time processing, and are enabled for international data, with simple configuration options driving the set of locale-specific dictionaries that are used. For example, large dictionaries are provided to support international name transcription and variant matching, including highly specialized handling for Arabic, Japanese, Chinese and Korean data. In total across all locales, CDS includes well over a million dictionary entries.

 

Excerpt from EDQ’s CDS Individual Name Standardization Dictionary

CDS has been developed to replace the OEM of Informatica Identity Resolution (IIR) for attached Data Quality on the Oracle price list, but does this in a way that creates a ‘best of both worlds’ situation for customers, who can harness not only the out-of-the-box functionality of pre-packaged matching and standardization services, but also the flexibility of OEDQ if they want to customize the interfaces or the process logic, without having to learn more than one product. From a competitive point of view, we believe this stands us in good stead against our key competitors, including Informatica, who have separate ‘Identity Resolution’ and general DQ products, and IBM, who provide limited out-of-the-box capabilities (with a steep learning curve) in both their QualityStage data quality and Initiate matching products.

Here is a brief guide to the main services provided in the pack:

Address Verification and Standardization

EDQ’s CDS Address Cleaning Process

The Address Verification and Standardization service uses EDQ Address Verification (an OEM of Loqate software) to verify and clean addresses in either real-time or batch. The Address Verification processor is wrapped in an EDQ process – this adds significant capabilities over calling the underlying Address Verification API directly, specifically:

  • Country-specific thresholds to determine when to accept the verification result (and therefore to change the input address) based on the confidence level of the API
  • Optimization of address verification by pre-standardizing data where required
  • Formatting of output addresses into the input address fields normally used by applications
  • Adding descriptions of the address verification and geocoding return codes

The process can then be used to provide real-time and batch address cleansing in any application; such as a simple web page calling address cleaning and geocoding as part of a check on individual data.

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Duplicate Prevention

Unlike Informatica Identity Resolution (IIR), EDQ uses stateless services for duplicate prevention to avoid issues caused by complex replication and synchronization of large volume customer data. When a record is added or updated in an application, the EDQ Cluster Key Generation service is called, and returns a number of key values. These are used to select other records (‘candidates’) that may match in the application data (which has been pre-seeded with keys using the same service). The ‘driving record’ (the new or updated record) is then presented along with all selected candidates to the EDQ Matching Service, which decides which of the candidates are a good match with the driving record, and scores them according to the strength of match. In this model, complex multi-locale EDQ techniques can be used to generate the keys and ensure that the right balance between performance and matching effectiveness is maintained, while ensuring that the application retains control of data integrity and transactional commits.

The process is explained below:

EDQ Duplicate Prevention Architecture

Note that where the integration is with a hub, there may be an additional call to the Cluster Key Generation service if the master record has changed due to merges with other records (and therefore needs to have new key values generated before commit).

Batch Matching

In order to allow customers to use different match rules in batch to real-time, separate matching templates are provided for batch matching. For example, some customers want to minimize intervention in key user flows (such as adding new customers) in front end applications, but to conduct a more exhaustive match on a regular basis in the back office. The batch matching jobs are also used when migrating data between systems, and in this case normally a more precise (and automated) type of matching is required, in order to minimize the review work performed by Data Stewards.  In batch matching, data is captured into EDQ using its standard interfaces, and records are standardized, clustered and matched in an EDQ job before matches are written out. As with all EDQ jobs, batch matching may be called from Oracle Data Integrator (ODI) if required.

When working with Siebel CRM (or master data in Siebel UCM), Siebel’s Data Quality Manager is used to instigate batch jobs, and a shared staging database is used to write records for matching and to consume match results. The CDS batch matching processes automatically adjust to Siebel’s ‘Full Match’ (match all records against each other) and ‘Incremental Match’ (match a subset of records against all of their selected candidates) modes.

The Future

The Customer Data Services Pack is an important part of the Oracle strategy for EDQ, offering a clear path to making Data Quality Assurance an integral part of enterprise applications, and providing a strong value proposition for adopting EDQ. We are planning various additions and improvements, including:

  • An out-of-the-box Data Quality Dashboard
  • Even more comprehensive international data handling
  • Address search (suggesting multiple results)
  • Integrated address matching

The EDQ Customer Data Services Pack is part of the Enterprise Data Quality Media Pack, available for download at http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/middleware/oedq/downloads/index.html.

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