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Orchestra Networks – Connecting Business Users to Master Data

The Hub Designs MDM Think Tank recently had a great briefing with Orchestra Networks.

by Julie Hunt, Editor

The Hub Designs MDM Think Tank met once again with Orchestra Networks to discuss the new 5.4 release of EBX5 and the continuing refinement of Orchestra Networks’ vision for working with multidomain master and reference data. The new release builds on the capabilities that were presented to the MDM Think Tank in 2012.

Christophe Barriolade, President and CEO, has relocated to New York from Paris to lend a hand with growing Orchestra Networks’ presence in North America. Christophe led the discussion, alternating with Conrad Chuang, Director of Product Marketing.

Business in France and much of Europe continues to be strong for Orchestra Networks. North American markets are growing steadily since efforts began in 2011—North America now accounts for more than 50% of Orchestra Networks’ revenue. Other markets on the rise for Orchestra Networks include Brazil, South Africa and Australia. Market expansion efforts are scheduled to get underway in Asia in 2014. A number of well-known companies are now adopting Orchestra Networks for MDM, many of which are listed on their website.

During the past year, Orchestra Networks has achieved expansion into more industries, geographic regions and data domains, as shown by this graphic:

Orchestra Networks Figure 1

Source for all graphics: Orchestra Networks

Business Direction – An Evolving MDM Solution

Orchestra Networks has continued to build on the vision discussed last year: multidomain MDM software, designed for an array of business users. Orchestra Networks has always put the user experience first, with a particular focus on usability by business users. Orchestra Networks understands that business users have important roles in MDM and data governance processes and practices. Orchestra Networks also realizes that creating a positive user experience for business users leads to a better appreciation of the value of MDM initiatives and spurs increased usage of MDM solutions by both business and IT teams.

Tablets are becoming the standard for enterprise computing as they gain more adoption by the changing and highly mobile enterprise workplace. So Orchestra Networks has optimized EBX5 for all tablet brands. Touch screen technology, particularly for mobile devices, has also changed how UIs are constructed. For the 5.4 release of EBX5, Orchestra Networks has adopted minimalist flat design principles for user interfaces. Flat design emphasizes clean and simple displays that only provide the essential elements. Often the applications that exist behind flat design UIs are very focused on the most needed functions.

For the EBX5 platform, a flat design UI means that a lot of elegant heavy lifting is going on behind the scenes to enable the minimalist approach to the UI. The EBX5 UI can be customized so each user or group has a personalized version of the interface.

How Orchestra Networks Sees Evolving MDM Markets

Conrad joined Christophe to talk about the Orchestra Networks position regarding the new directions that MDM solutions are taking. They see increasing demand for master data management—and customers want MDM solutions to work in new ways, with multidomain requirements on the rise.

The diagram below illustrates how Orchestra Networks sees many traditional PIM, CDI and MDM vendors still focused on the “old ways” that primarily target organizations with B2C business models (consumers/retail). The newer demand for MDM comes from the B2B world where cross-domain data management is essential, and where reference data has to come into play.

Orchestra Networks doesn’t position itself against other vendors as being “better” —but considers itself as “different”. Orchestra Networks does see EBX5 as a better solution for complex MDM needs, especially for B2B companies, where flexibility and a single platform are important. Orchestra Networks encounters many of the usual suspects when courting prospects, and has prevailed in many competitive situations.

Orchestra Networks Figure 2

EBX5 – Multidomain MDM and Reference Data Platform

Customer inquiries and projects for Orchestra Networks often include the need to manage three or more data domains. Whether the customer need is for single or multi domain, Orchestra Networks provides a single solution across the master data life cycle, with “everything in a box” — no additional modules need to be purchased for the foundation solution. One platform for master data and reference data management builds a strong basis for information management, to help eliminate data silos and connect the systems and repositories of the enterprise.

Orchestra Networks segments master data into four categories: Parties, Things, Reference Data (data shared between domains), and Relationships – with relationships providing the logical glue for the other categories.

Orchestra Networks Figure 3

“Relationships make master data multidomain by default” (Orchestra Networks)

Orchestra Networks, along with vendors such as Reltio and Pitney-Bowes, understand how important it is to identify and capture relationships in and between master data domains. In many enterprises, data-related processes need to align with the real world intricacies that companies face, especially in terms of complex relationships and hierarchies with respect to customers and their extended networks. Additionally, location or spatial analytics help reveal relationships, patterns and trends that can prove to be quite valuable.

Orchestra Networks Figure 4

Robust MDM Capabilities – Simply Out of the Box

Orchestra Networks emphasizes the value of one platform, one license, and one single, natively developed code base. EBX5 provides the expected MDM capabilities including:

  • Data Modeling
  • Embedded Data Quality
  • Data Authoring
  • Hierarchy Management
  • Collaborative Workflow
  • Version Control – past, present, future
  • Security & Permissions
  • Integration & Distribution

Deployment options are comprehensive: on-premises, private and public clouds, or hosting by Orchestra Networks on www.smartdatagovernance.com. Each of these deployment options is out-of-the-box and based on the same MDM technology, which enables a seamless user experience no matter the point of access.

Orchestra Networks Figure 5

EBX5 Add-ons

Following on the heels of the 5.4 release of EBX5, Orchestra Networks has several add-ons in General Availability (diagram above) – all internally developed. Add-ons are purchased separately but have seamless integration with the EBX5 platform. The Match & Cleanse add-on provides sophisticated capabilities, but Orchestra Networks leaves country-specific address validation needs to other solutions.

In the next several months, two other significant add-ons will be released. At the high level, all we can say at this time is that one is for metadata management capabilities and the other addresses reporting needs. From the overview that we received, these add-ons should have clear value for EBX5 users.

A Sampling of EBX5 5.4 in Action

Conrad provided a quick look at the 5.4 release, particularly to show us how the new user interface is focused on continuing Orchestra Networks’ commitment to high quality user experiences, whether the user is a technical or business person.

Part of the demo was based on the clever use of a database for research analysts, designed to show how EBX5 can explore and manage the hierarchy and relationships of analysts, content, events, and geographies. Conrad pointed out the complexities of defining who is a customer, and how that can change from the perspective of each functional group in an organization. Understanding hierarchies and relationships adds vital insight to such problems, and requires a flexible MDM solution.

Future Direction

As Orchestra Networks continues to build sophisticated multidomain MDM capabilities “under the hood” of EBX5 while ever simplifying the user experience, learning curves and implementation times are shortening considerably.

The business user emphasis also means that key personnel from business functions are involved from the beginning of MDM projects, which improves the comprehensiveness and success of these MDM undertakings.

By focusing on the business as well as technology teams, Orchestra Networks obviously is adept at listening to different user roles and then taking effective action through enhanced EBX5 capabilities.

Most software companies gain greater success by attending to current and future customer needs, rather than obsessing on other vendors. As Christophe pointed out, Orchestra Networks is different, not necessarily better, than other MDM vendors. If that “difference” enables better business use of master data for improving processes and business outcomes, then vive la difference.

About the Author:

Julie Hunt is the editor of Hub Designs Magazine and co-founder of the Hub Designs MDM Think Tank. Her “day job” is as an independent software industry analyst and consultant to software vendors for customer, solution and go-to-market strategies.

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2 Comments on “Orchestra Networks – Connecting Business Users to Master Data”

  1. Conrad Chuang 11/20/2013 at 3:23 pm #

    Julie, great review – we posted a small reply about some here: http://www.orchestranetworks.com/connecting-to-business-users-is-more-than-software-usability/

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    […] Julie Hunt published her notes from our briefing with the Hub Designs team in an article called: Orchestra Networks – Connecting Business Users to Master Data.   While I recommend reading the entire piece, this paragraph caught my […]

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