Rahul Kamath from Oracle kindly did an analyst briefing recently for Hub Designs, to fill us in on the details and progress of Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management, or DRM as it’s widely called.
Rahul is the Director of Product Management at Oracle for DRM. I’ve known him for several years, since my days at D&B managing its strategic alliance with Oracle.
Oracle’s Hyperion DRM product evolved from Oracle’s acquisition of Hyperion, and in turn from a product called Razza that Hyperion acquired in 2005. Hyperion DRM manages and streamlines the process of synchronizing master data changes among complex hierarchical structures across enterprise systems.
It is primarily used in “financial master data management” (MDM) and “analytical MDM”. Oracle’s target customer for DRM is the largest, most complex companies.
Hyperion DRM is particularly useful when a company has to manage multiple financial systems. I talked to a potential client today that was using DRM to bring together, map and consolidate 20 different general ledger systems. They went live in May 2010, and were able to reduce the number of different GLs from 35 down to 20, which significantly streamlined their financial processes and dramatically reduced the amount of manual work involved in consolidating their results every month.
One thing that was interesting, according to Rahul, is that 40% of DRM’s customer base is in the financial services industry, with large customers such as Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo.
Also, 30% of DRM customers have some SAP financials in their enterprise architectures.
Another big industry vertical is oil & gas, with customers such as Halliburton and Baker Hughes. This shouldn’t be surprising, I suppose, as the oil & gas industry has some of the most complex reporting requirements I have ever come across in my career.
DRM can be used for more than just financial hierarchy management, too. Lockheed Martin is using it as an enterprise-wide Supplier Hub, so that all new suppliers that are onboarded are brought on through DRM.
In the high tech industry, companies like Dell, Google, NetApp, Symantec, Logitech and Xerox are all customers as well. Overall, Oracle has over 230 customers for DRM worldwide across all industries.
Oracle released a new version in May 2010 that is now browser-based and can run in-memory on the server, dramatically increasing performance. It handles Unicode and multi-byte characters, and runs in 64 bits, allowing essentially unlimited size models.
The MDM data model provides for inheritance and derived attribution, and has a strong versioning model, including “what if” analysis for potential changes.
Oracle’s customers seem to be using Hyperion DRM to react to an increasingly complex business environment, where they have to integrate and management dozens of general ledgers and other financial systems with corporate consolidation tools, business intelligence platforms, data warehouses, budgeting systems, multi-dimensional databases, allocation systems, etc.
DRM allows them to manage hierarchies, dimensions, business rules, mappings, and validations, and it enforces referential integrity across all subscribing systems and hierarchies, while maintaining historical versions for comparative reporting and analysis, and tracking all hierarchy and attribute changes with a full-featured audit log.
I understand from talking with several Oracle MDM salespeople in the field that Hyperion DRM is proving to be very popular with customers, and that there is a lot of interest in it from companies with heterogeneous IT environments as a way to “bring order to chaos”. In a way, it has been a bit of a sleeper product within Oracle’s MDM portfolio, but it looks like it’s finally being recognized as the solid piece of technology that it really is. And in Rahul Kamath, Oracle has put one of their best product managers on the job of managing its future.
Oracle showed a funny video today in Thomas Kurian’s keynote address on Day 2 of Oracle OpenWorld.
Using a fictional company with lots of systems and applications issues, Thomas walked everyone through how Oracle would solve a lot of those problems.
There were some great customer cameos from companies like Ingersoll-Rand and Office Depot. It was a little on the sales-y side, as Oracle keynotes can sometimes be, but it was well done and wasn’t over the top.
This session was a good reminder of the breadth and depth of Oracle’s offerings in the technology and applications space, and frankly it made my head hurt. I’m glad that Hub Designs specializes in master data management – the Oracle universe has gotten so big, it’s a little overwhelming for most people.
I’ll write more later today on the MDM track sessions.
Editor’s Note: Another great guest post by Joan Lawson, a talented enterprise architect who worked for one of my clients in the software industry in 2003. For more information on Joan, please see her LinkedIn profile — Dan Power
Master Data Management (MDM) may be one more Three Letter Acronym (TLA), but it’s a central point in the practice of Enterprise Architecture. Together with SOA-based applications and a robust middleware platform, an ideal architecture is readily achievable.
Let’s take an example using party data including customers and prospects. Party data may have a “system of initial record” in any of the many ERP or CRM applications that a company may have.
A message with new party data can be written to the integration platform from the CRM application. Based on business rules, a Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) system can orchestrate the data management services in the MDM hub, write the clean party data into the MDM hub, and then message the clean data to the other ERP and CRM applications.
Ditto with product master data.
In this example, customer and product dimensions in the data warehouse are managed by the “source of truth” – the MDM hub. And the fact data for the warehouse (such as quotes, orders, and service events) can be sourced from the OLTP applications.
For those interested in real time monitoring of transactional data, consider placing that data on the integration platform as well. A Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) platform taps into that data to monitor it against KPIs. And once again, the MDM hub provides the “source of truth” for the master data.
The end result? Clean, consistent master data, whether used in the business applications, the data warehouse and business intelligence platform, or in real time business activity monitoring.
Please let us know by commenting here or on the MDM Community if you’re using MDM as part of your enterprise architecture.
For more information on Joan, please see her LinkedIn profile — Dan Power
Let’s not allow Master Data Management (MDM) to become just another silo of data! MDM and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) together, create a strong partnership in your enterprise architecture.
1. Data Quality = Add Quality to SOA
SOA enables business functionality as a service. However, it does not guarantee quality of the data on which it’s operating. That’s a serious gap, which is filled by including MDM in a service-oriented architecture. True business value is realized as services start leveraging the high quality data in the MDM hub and the services which surround it.
2. Data Management Services Offered by the MDM Hub
MDM abstracts the governance of data by consolidating it into a central data model; conducting all data cleansing, augmentation, cleansing, and standardization; and creating a ‘gold standard’ source. These data management functions are centralized in the data hub and are hidden from the consumers of the cleansed data. Maximize the value of these services by consuming them from other applications that need to perform data quality processing external to the data hub.
3. Data Offered by the MDM Hub
Data services allow the consuming application to access and manipulate hub data from a service layer as a supported data source. Layering data services on the MDM hub hides the implementation of federated queries that gather the data requested by the consumer.
4. SOA, MDM, and middleware
SOA, integration middleware (Enterprise Service Bus or ESB), and MDM together can manage the detection of data changes in the source applications and propagate them from the source applications to the MDM – or from the MDM back to the consumers. With the addition of Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) and a business rules engine, a data change detected in a source can be captured, cause the data quality business rules to be executed on the data, and place the data back on the ESB to be consumed.
Are there other use cases for how MDM and SOA, together, add strength to the enterprise architecture? Please add your thoughts by commenting here or on the MDM Community.
Most IT organizations have to support a wide variety of enterprise software. The legacy applications have proven their reliability over time, in spite of some performance or support issues. The new breed of Java or .Net applications can be complex to code, mostly because their business rules are not well-documented.
The end result is that to support a single business process like “Order to Cash”, multiple applications spread across multiple operating systems and databases are a reality for most IT organizations.
These applications can talk to each other either through point-to-point (tightly coupled) integration or through an Application-to-Application (A2A) (loosely coupled) integration. The latter is emerging as a new trend and is gaining ground among many leading IT shops.
Business Process Engineering Language (BPEL) enables an IT organization to build a single business process, spanning multiple applications thru A2A integration and maintaining the state of each business process instance. This is accompanied by a tool called Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), where one can monitor each activity for a given business process.
To connect BPEL to multiple applications, several approaches can be used. One is to use web services, another is simple file transfer, and a third approach is to use message queues to exchange XML messages. For connectivity to popular CRM and ERP systems, the leading BPEL vendors have come out with “adapters” that can connect their BPEL server to some popular platforms (like SAP, Oracle E-Business Suite, Siebel CRM, JD Edwards, etc.).
In any case, these servers provide tools to convert a native message into an XML message as well as perform transformations on XML messages.
The logic related to the business process resides in the BPEL server. If the business requires frequent changes to the logic, some BPEL vendors provide integration to a separate rules engine. The idea is that the business user must be able to change these rules in the rules engine using a simple interface. The changes then take effect directly in the BPEL engine. For working with external organizations, BPEL vendors are continually providing support for EDI, HIPAA and other standard formats.
The availability of Business Process Execution Language technology and its aggressive pricing has a huge implication for MDM adoption. It dramatically reduces the cost to integrate a new MDM hub with existing source systems.
Complex logic based on the source systems can now reside in the BPEL server and an entire business process (such as creating a new customer across multiple applications) can now be visible to the Data Stewardship organization. This is an exciting event! Please comment here about what other implications BPEL might have on MDM and its adoption.
In this article, we’ll give some perspective on the current state of the Master Data Management (MDM) market.
Well-meaning skeptics have raised doubts about whether MDM initiatives have long-term viability, sufficient ROI or in fact, are just another system. This skepticism is, of course, understandable.
Every major new type of enterprise technology, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) goes through an adoption cycle, with early enthusiasm leading to the “Trough of Disillusionment” and eventually, the “Plateau of Productivity”. For more information, see Gartner’s definition of Hype Cycles.
And if you look at the history of MDM solutions over the past few years, the space was very fragmented, initially populated mainly by data quality and matching vendors.
But more recently, some innovations have come together in the MDM space so that it’s starting to offer real value to mainstream companies, not just early adopters.
There have been several innovations on the IT architecture front, such as Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), plus new analytics capabilities, improved tools to facilitate data stewardship and more mature MDM hub platforms. All this adds up to a fast-changing landscape.
To add to the momentum, the top enterprise software players (like Oracle, IBM and SAP) have jumped feet first onto the MDM bandwagon, joining the best-of-breed players (like Purisma, Siperian and Initiate Systems) who helped launch the space, giving rise to a whole new ecosystem of system integrators, data service providers and an increasing trend toward global solutions beyond North America.
This growing ecosystem is driving significant growth for the MDM industry as a whole. There are exciting frontiers ahead.
For example, we’re already seeing some business process outsourcing relating to the creation and maintenance of an organization’s master data to an external provider.
At Hub Solution Designs, we’re excited to be part of the MDM wave of adoption from the very beginning. We see more growth, better solutions, and more organizations succeeding with MDM every day.
Please use the Comment button to let us know what you think about the trend towards outsourced data stewardship.