Earlier this week, I saw a demo of Initiate’s new Composer product, and was impressed. Composer, announced in March and scheduled for release in June, will be available to all existing Initiate customers.
Initiate Composer is a framework for building MDM-powered solutions on top of the company’s MDM hub, which is called Initiate Master Data Service. Typically, an MDM hub is populated with data from monolithic enterprise systems like front office suites such as customer relationship management (CRM) applications and back office suites such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications.
Essentially, these data sources offer the best of both worlds. By pulling the data into a robust MDM hub, you create a “single view of the customer” rather than having multiple views within different silos across the enterprise. Then by building a new, easy-to-use application on top of that trustworthy data, you’ve found a way to quickly deliver value from the MDM initiative back into the business.
Of course, in the real world it’s never quite that easy. But one of the most common things we see clients wanting to do with their newly-built MDM hub is to make the information in it widely available to the enterprise – for search, for reference, for additional data entry, for automation of manual processes, and for viewing corporate hierarchies and other relationships.
Based on the demo I saw, Initiate fulfills this need with Composer. Customer teams can now quickly create production-ready user interfaces that are pre-integrated with the Initiate Master Data Service.
Composer creates Adobe Flex applications, which are cross-platform rich Internet applications. This is helpful because they will run on a variety of clients inside only a browser.
It was impressive to see the degree to which business analysts could quickly be productive writing simple MDM applications, even if they were prototypes that would need to be finished up by a developer. A lot of times, there’s a big gap between design documents and working code. It’s a lot easier for a power user or a business analyst to work with a tool like Composer to “show you what I want” than to just describe it verbally, in writing or on a white board.
With Composer, teams can more easily and more productively build a variety of different user interfaces on top of Initiate’s MDM hub. IBM thought highly enough of Initiate Systems back in February to acquire the company. While I’m sure that Composer was only a small part of why that happened, I’m sure it didn’t hurt.
Initiate has always been a company I’ve followed closely and with whom Hub Designs has partnered, and we look forward to continuing that as they become part of the IBM universe.