Representing the webMethods OneData MDM offering were Charlie Greenberg, Senior Manager for Global MDM Product Marketing and Przemek Kulik, Senior Product Manager for MDM. Charlie joined Software AG when Data Foundations was acquired in 2010, while Przemek came on board in 2007 to work with webMethods.
Software AG was founded in 1969 in Darmstadt, Germany. Over the years, Software AG has built out a wide array of software solutions that provide sophisticated management of the “internal enterprise”. Enterprise architecture, business process orchestration, data management and analytics, services-oriented architecture (SOA), and IT management are among the solution areas. According to the Software AG website: “Worldwide, Software AG is one of the 25 largest providers of enterprise software.”
Overall revenue in 2012 was $1.3B (€1.05B) based on a presence in 70 countries. In 2012, the largest business product group was BPE – Business Process Excellence; the webMethods platform is part of this group. Software AG continues to have an innovative focus on internal product development—and prolific activity for a wide range of acquisitions (140+ and counting). Software AG added a consulting group to the mix with the IDS Scheer acquisition.
Customers include Software AG itself (I love it when a software vendor “drinks its own champagne”.) This positions a software vendor to better understand and empathize with customer needs and business objectives, as well as customer-focused usability. Other customers listed on the Software AG website include WellPoint and the UK Ministry of Defence. Charlie and Przemek called out the pharma and insurance industries as targets for OneData MDM.
Along with the multiple standalone MDM deals that Software AG closed in 2013 are two standouts where MDM was the driver:
- A Fortune 25 company where Software AG won against other MDM competitors
- A healthcare company where an overall suite adoption resulted
Platform Approach to MDM – ‘Process-driven MDM’
OneData MDM is a component of the webMethods 9.5 release. Software AG is focusing on MDM as part of a broader solution that includes data integration and data quality—and of course, business process management. OneData offers many of the capabilities you would expect for multidomain MDM, backed up by a strong platform of solutions via webMethods: Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), Business Process Analytics (BPA), Integrated Business Operations (IBO). Extensive cloud computing support is available from Software AG Live. Other platform components include Presto for real-time analytics; and Terracotta in-memory computing, which provides support for cloud services and for data virtualization needs.
OneData MDM has its origins in customer and reference data management via Data Foundations. The MDM solution handles multiple domains including any party, product and hierarchy structure. Relationships between domains are also captured and managed. Reference data continues to be a key area for OneData customers.
With operational and analytical MDM handled in one place, OneData can support any use case, in any kind of enterprise infrastructure. According to Przemek, MDM implementations with OneData are being achieved in weeks, not months.
“Process-driven MDM is Software AG’s business-oriented approach to MDM that supports process optimization or transformation”:
- MDM as a business discipline supporting process optimization or transformation
- Process improvement needs directly drive scope of MDM programs
- MDM investments tied to specific process improvement ROI
A post on the Software AG Reality Check blog highlights different ways Software AG customers can take advantage of the overall offering to embed master data processes and usage throughout the enterprise and in cloud services.
Traditional User Roles for Data Governance and Management
OneData MDM targets traditional roles such as data steward, data architect and data administrator, through persona-based use cases. OneData offers capabilities of interest to business users such as ease-of-use for workflow creation and management, and a web-based UI for ‘anywhere anytime’ access. webMethods provides the means to integrate workflow for OneData MDM processes with the functional systems of interest to business users.
Data residing within OneData can be accessed in read-only mode via Anonymous user access through the Data Steward user interface. Every OneData object can be embedded into other web applications using OneData Anywhere functionality. OneData Anywhere also enables users without access to OneData to make change requests.
Software AG is working on adding data quality capabilities specific to MDM such as cleansing and matching in a near-future release. The webMethods platform currently includes data quality capabilities related to data integration processes. Software AG has data quality solution partnerships with vendors such as Trillium. The webMethods platform also makes it straightforward to connect to any third party services such as DataFlux or Dun & Bradstreet.
With MDM offered as part of the comprehensive webMethods platform, the OneData solution may be more attractive to companies already invested in Software AG’s enterprise infrastructure applications. But organizations that don’t have a Software AG infrastructure will find integration with existing systems is quite robust because of webMethods. In fact, Software AG sees itself as “infrastructure agnostic” and opposed to vendor lock-in for MDM implementations. Organizations are free to use other vendor tools—the webMethods platform provides many connectivity and integration points.
While OneData is friendly to organizations utilizing third party services and applications for anything, Software AG is busy adding more capabilities to OneData MDM to provide a comprehensive solution.
Connecting Customers to Solutions
The briefing with Charlie and Przemek was thorough, quite interactive and well executed. What I have to say next is not a reflection on their briefing.
An MDM / Data Governance initiative is no small undertaking for any organization. The core of MDM and data governance revolves around the need for reliable data to fuel business processes and operations, to help companies achieve successful outcomes. Beyond processes and data, this “core” involves people, practices, culture and politics, with MDM technologies filling a supporting role. So MDM software vendors must make sure that organizations focused on MDM initiatives can take a direct path to what the vendors have to offer.
But Software AG doesn’t make it easy. In visiting their website, it took some digging to find either “master data management” or even the OneData offering. Neither one is listed overtly in the Products navigation. Instead they are tucked into a webMethods overview page. It’s definitely legitimate to consider MDM as part of a broader offering, that MDM is one of many capabilities for the overall webMethods platform. But often this does not mirror how buyers look for MDM solutions. Keep in mind that corporate websites are still a top destination for technology buyers and decision makers researching technology solutions.
Software AG has a tremendous platform with webMethods, and a strong direction for OneData MDM. I’ve “kept tabs on” Software AG for years—I would love for Software AG to do a great job of getting the word out about their offerings, and connecting to customers on their terms.
For more information on webMethods OneData, please visit Software AG’s website.
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.