An update from Semarchy on Convergence for MDM Release 2.1
It’s been over a year since the MDM Think Tank met with French software vendor Semarchy and took a look at the 1.2 version of Convergence for MDM. This month we met with François-Xavier Nicolas, VP of Products & Marketing (better known as “FX”) for an overview of the newly released version 2.1.
Before Semarchy, FX worked at Sunopsis for several years. Sunopsis is the data integration software vendor that introduced the “E-LT” approach to ETL processes (E-LT: extract from source, then load and transform in the target database). FX transitioned to Oracle when it acquired Sunopsis in 2006, as product manager for Oracle Data Integrator (ODI), which is based on Sunopsis.
Besides FX, Semarchy has a well-experienced group of founders and top managers, most of whom are veterans of Sunopsis:
- CEO Salah Kamel was co-founder of Sunopsis and served as CTO
- COO Gauthier Vasseur has a strong background in BI and EIM solutions
- VP of Sales-EMEA Pascal Blanchard was a co-founder of Sunopsis
- Arnaud Mergey and Seb Arod are Co-Heads of Product Development and served as senior developers for Sunopsis and then for ODI
Semarchy has the distinction of being bootstrapped, co-owned by the employees and currently profitable. The company has very aggressive goals for gaining customers and for quickly growing revenue. Currently Semarchy does not have a particular industry focus, and is pursuing any and all customer types.
From its founding in 2011, Semarchy has moved rapidly through initial development cycles. The first downloadable product was available in late 2011. Right now, current implementations focus primarily on customer data, address validation, and products. Customers include ARaymond, industrial components; Oakley, retail; and Volkswagen-France.
Semarchy calls its approach to MDM “Evolutionary Master Data Management”:
Products designed around Evolutionary MDM principles expect change in the breadth, shape and content of the MDM requirements. This small, but fundamentally important principle, results in products that make initial projects easier to define and implement; and subsequent projects, or changes in existing projects, less time consuming and costly to complete. Evolutionary MDM differs from traditional MDM because it is designed from the outset to expect the MDM requirements of the organization to change and evolve over time.
There are three design principles behind Evolutionary MDM:
- Completely non-intrusive – customers don’t have to change how they work just to adopt Semarchy’s Convergence for MDM platform to support master data initiatives
- Accelerated project evolution – faster accommodation of new domains, changing requirements and data model versions
- Controlled data evolution – management of data changes, lineage, auditing, and versioning to always know where master data came from, how it has been used, and how it has changed
FX commented that Semarchy considers the above concepts as a distinct mandate that sets Convergence for MDM apart from other MDM solutions and opens a new direction for MDM.
Semarchy Convergence for MDM
Overall Convergence features and functions include:
- Comprehensive logical modeling
- Automated data certification framework
- Authoring and duplicate management workflows
- MDM applications for data governance
- Built-in data and metadata versioning
- Non-intrusive convergence hub
- Open and scalable architecture
The 2.1 release introduced these new capabilities:
- Improved experience for data authoring and stewardship
- Automated IDs
- Error management in workflows
- In-workflow data validation
- Retention policies & scheduled purges
- Enhanced Excel/CSV import/export
Semarchy Convergence is suitable for multidomain MDM requirements and works with any MDM implementation style such as consolidation, registry, centralized, or co-existence. (Gartner analysts John Radcliffe and Bill O’Kane cover MDM implementation styles in the 2012 Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management for Customer Data.)
FX commented on the convergence of such styles when tackling real business needs, since individual business problems may require more than one style.
Semarchy Convergence for MDM has a scalable and open architecture. APIs are available for customer development to extend and customize the Convergence platform. Additional features include:
- Zero-client installation
- Enterprise-class security
- Optimized data storage
- Open data format
- Open plug-in architecture
Convergence can be set up as a traditional on premises deployment. Semarchy also supports deployments for cloud and high availability, to provide additional performance and scalability options. Convergence only works with the Oracle database, which can be leveraged to handle certain data management tasks related to MDM processes. Convergence does not write purged records to an archive database, but can use the Oracle DBMS to take care of archiving.
Semarchy considers the three principles of Evolutionary MDM as top differentiators for the Convergence platform. I would agree that Semarchy has distinctive ideas about making MDM solutions faster and easier to implement and – very importantly – to become much more responsive to changes experienced by the enterprise. But very rapidly, these ideas may become table stakes as more MDM vendors follow the same path in the near future.
Semarchy Convergence offers other important differentiation:
- A data management platform where IT and Business can work together. IT can now respond faster to business needs and perform technology-related work that aligns with corporate goals.
- Strong emphasis on the software sales function handled primarily through channel partners, such as systems integrators and solution providers. Semarchy is undoubtedly also leveraging Sunopsis contacts for sales efforts.
- Lower cost for software implementations. Pricing is still a top competitive differentiator for most software solutions and frequently the key deciding factor for most buyers. According to the pricing information shared by FX, Convergence can be a cost-effective choice for MDM needs.
Future Direction for Semarchy
Semarchy has started a very interesting journey for improving software technology in support of master data initiatives. It looks like part of that journey will include developments of multidomain MDM capabilities. While FX showed the MDM Think Tank many new capabilities for soon-to-be-released versions of Semarchy Convergence, some can’t be shared at this time. If Semarchy delivers on its future vision, practitioners and solution providers should look for substantial technology growth from this software vendor as it moves forward.
Unfortunately, FX didn’t have time to provide a demo of Semarchy Convergence so the MDM Think Tank could see the software in action. If we schedule a demo in the near future, we’ll be sure to publish an update to this briefing article.
Julie Hunt is the editor of Hub Designs Magazine and co-founder of the MDM Think Tank. Her “day job” is as an independent software industry analyst and consultant to software vendors for customer, solutions and go-to-market strategies.