Oracle Master Data Management

a closer look

These days I am reading a white paper on Oracle Master Data Management (MDM). A customer is interested in training on MDM and I wanted to find out what role the Siebel Customer Data Integration (CDI) and Universal Customer Master (UCM) solution and Oracle BI EE (formerly known as Siebel Analytics) play in the Oracle MDM offering.

You can download the technical white paper on the Oracle Master Data Management website.

The paper is in fact helpful to help us define the problem areas of existing IT infrastructures, the half-baked solutions that lack the power to combine operational and analytical data into a single view of the customer. It also defines the ideal information architecture and gives a nice overview of the Oracle products (yes, including Siebel CDI, UCM and Oracle BI EE) available to build or buy an MDM solution.

The N² problem

It starts with the N² (n square) problem that occurs when data synchronization between transactional applications is accomplished with code. IT managers all over the globe experience this on a daily basis.


Enterprise Application Integration

Of course there is a more elegant solution established over the last decade which is usually described as an information bus or hub-and-spoke topology, supported by Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) technology.



Service Oriented Architecture

EAI has recently evolved into serice oriented architecture (SOA) where interfaces can be called from an application's service layer independently of the programming language or software platform. SOA is more than just synchronizing data, it also supports business process orchestration across separate systems.



Data Quality

So when your IT infrastructure has evolved to SOA, you will find that the old saying "garbage in, garbage out" is more true than ever before, because data quality is crucial to successful business process integration. So the paper concludes that an MDM solution that really deserves this name must also embed data quality solutions.

Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence and Reporting

Most companies today have established data warehouses and ETL processing that pulls data from the transactional systems into the DW. And most of them have invested in Business Intelligence tools to analyze the billions of records that they store in the DW in order to drive business decisions.

So far so good.

But the following should make us think twice:

  1. Company A rolls out the new CRM system.
  2. A few years later, the analytical CRM project is started
  3. Shortly after the first pilots, the data quality project is launched.

So the BI system suffers from the poor data quality of the transactional systems. Garbage in, garbage out again.



An ideal information architecture

The paper boldly announces the ideal information architecture which brings the MDM system into play as a central instance which enables metadata and data cleansing and forms the base source system for ETL.



Building an MDM solution using Oracle Products

Today, after uncounted strategic acquisitions, Oracle is able to support the ideal architecture with its software stack. So let's look at the architecture from a software perspective.

  • Oracle 11g with RAC for the Database
  • OWB for ETL and Profiling
  • ODI for ETL and Data Migration
  • Master entity data models
  • ESB for integration
  • BPEL PM for orchestration
  • Portal for the user interface
  • IdM for managing users
  • WS Manager for managing services
  • BI EE for analytics
  • JDeveloper for creating or extending the MDM management application.

Oracle utilizes these technologies to build its MDM Data Hubs. Customers who want to build their own MDM solution should use these components as well.

Summary

MDM can be seen as an approach to solve the common IT problems like ever increasing data volume, poor data quality and lack of business insight.

Oracle offers a variety of products to build a solution and also offers pre-built MDM applications like Oracle Customer Hub and Oracle Product Hub.

Siebel CRM is represented by the Siebel CDI and UCM applications and by Oracle BI EE (formerly known as Siebel Analytics).

So to get full grips to an MDM solution, there is a lot to learn and a lot to gain.

have fun

@lex

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The intention of this blog is to share findings about Siebel CRM and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (Oracle BI EE formerly known as Siebel Analytics) from technical and other (sometimes unprecedented) perspectives.

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