Software AG briefs the Hub Designs MDM Think TankThe Hub Designs MDM Think Tank met up with Charlie Greenberg and Przemek Kulik from Software AG for a lively session exploring what’s new in the webMethods OneData MDM offering. Both of these professionals are quite knowledgeable about data and process management, with specific expertise in MDM. Charlie is the Senior Manager of Global MDM Product Marketing and Przemek is the Senior Manager for Global MDM Product Management. Our last briefing was in early 2014.
The new briefing covered both the current 9.8 release and the 9.9 release that is available October 13, 2015.
The high-level messaging for OneData MDM continues to emphasize two main areas: Five Solutions in a Single Data Management Platform and Process-Driven MDM. Charlie commented that these conceptual approaches still resonate with prospects and customers. Software AG’s strong positon in business infrastructure middleware, including enterprise architecture and business process management, makes master data management a natural fit in the Software AG ‘universe’.
Charlie explained that within the five solutions, customer data management is called out specifically because Software AG has a full-bodied CDI solution that offers very specific data management capabilities.
And reference data solutions continue to be a strong area for the company.
The OneData MDM offering can interoperate with MDM solutions provided by other vendors. For example, OneData hierarchy management can be found in customer implementations of Informatica MDM. The OneData MDM offering can leverage the webMethods platform and other Software AG products as needed.
OneData MDM Architecture and Functional Capabilities
webMethods OneData comprises a component of the Software AG ‘Digital Business Platform’. The Software AG approach shows an understanding that solving business problems and meeting business needs almost always involves multiple data and process systems that run across an organization, and beyond.
Dr. Wolfram Jost, Chief Technology Officer at Software AG, offers more detail on what is meant by the ‘Digital Business Platform’:
Digitization is effecting radical changes in all organizations, and conventional applications cannot keep pace. By choosing the name “Digital Business Platform”, we are clearly communicating that Software AG delivers exactly what digital enterprises need: a new kind of middleware. Our integrated product portfolio enables companies to develop new and flexible—or adaptive—apps.
webMethods and other software products of the Digital Business Platform can be seen as core components of a business infrastructure management platform, as well as an advanced development platform that includes many sophisticated out-of-the-box services, such as an in-memory database, a complex event processing (CEP) engine, an integration engine, a process engine, and so on.
MDM sits nestled in the extensive webMethods platform as a data quality component of Software AG’s Integration Platform.
The Software AG Terracotta in-memory processing platform adds power to OneData MDM. An example: at a food processing company, in-memory processing is needed for complex product data and related hierarchies, where product data is comprised of complex recipes or formulas for each product (multiple and diverse ingredients). Such product data is also complicated by high volume of MDM transactions for business purposes. Constant and fast updates are needed to reflect business changes, continuous updates to a multitude of formulas, customization for the company’s customers and locations, and so on.
Terracotta enhances MDM through:
- Centrally managed virtually distributed data across enterprise
- High performance, low latency and on-demand data delivery
- Fast data access through a RESTful web service
- Virtual data managed by webMethods OneData in memory
- Consistent Master Data anytime, anywhere with zero time lag
Multidomain and Multivector
Software AG positions OneData MDM as not only multidomain but also built for multivector MDM implementations. Multivector is like multidomain on steroids: ready to handle multiple domains and architectures, as well as the ability to work across multiple industries, business cases, and organizational structures. Multivector MDM also gives rise to advanced comprehensive capabilities for data governance, data modeling, data integration and so on, along with business process / workflow, security, scalability and other functional must-haves.
During the multidomain / multivector discussion, Dan Power of Hub Designs asked if OneData MDM supported multi-tenant architectures (classic SaaS model). For example, customer data for a particular company could reside in a single repository but with partitions for each individual client organization. Przemek responded that OneData MDM could deploy multiple repositories (one for each client organization) or could create one repository segregated by line-of-business (or for separate customer categories). Also noted was the capability of using a single instance of OneData MDM for multiple deployments.
Workflow and Orchestration
Based on the Software AG expertise in business process management, expectations should be high for what OneData MDM brings to workflow capabilities. OneData interoperates with other workflow technologies such as SAP, enabling the flow of data from all sources as well as enrichment processes.
For many of its customers, OneData is often the orchestrator for complex systems integration. And OneData MDM is often found in stacks comprised of multiple data management solutions implemented by a particular organization.
Software AG made service layer improvements to the webMethods OneData platform to bring flexibility to align well with the many ways that different organizations work, use business processes and data, and build out their systems architecture.
Data Governance Capabilities
In general, data management software vendors that provide data governance tools or capabilities can have greatly varying ideas of what is useful for assisting this important function. webMethods OneData provides the means to build out data governance technology support, particularly around workflow and business process, but does not provide all of the data governance pieces out-of-the-box per se.
Several Software AG products can be used for data governance, such as: ARIS for business process analysis and modeling; webMethods BPM for creating data governance processes across business roles in the organization and for overall understanding of business processes across the organization; and webMethods for functions such as ESB, data and application integration, and API management.
Dan commented that data quality is a core piece of data governance, and asked Przemek and Charlie to talk about where and how data quality functions are handled in OneData MDM. OneData MDM has a certain level of data quality capabilities built in for cleansing and match/merge. OneData Similarity utilizes numerous standard algorithms to quickly evaluate data quality. webMethods Integration Server also provides matching functions.
webMethods OneData MDM provides a platform for building data quality processes and supports a “pluggable” data quality architecture. Software AG continues to partner with Trillium for data quality services, and easily connects to other third party technologies for data quality. OneData MDM uses an OEM version of Loqate for address and geo-coding, renamed webMethods Locate.
OneData MDM continues to expand capabilities for data stewards. User interfaces are evolving to cover more data stewardship use cases. UIs are also localized, as is metadata. Software AG has an extensive internationalization team for UIs, with multiple languages currently available. With this permanent team, requests from customers for other languages can be quickly handled. However for MDM purposes, Software AG does not yet provide multiple language versions for master records.
Near Future Outlook
Przemek outlined work being done to redo the OneData MDM user interface. Currently the UI involves over 200 screens, and now has a somewhat dated look and feel. The OneData MDM team has been releasing changes to the UI on an incremental basis to gain customer and prospect feedback. More role-based access and usability are being introduced to improve user experiences, and UI improvements will continue to include more data steward use cases.
Software AG is also constructing a “Google-like” search for all of OneData.
Moving into 2016, Software AG has set several goals to accomplish:
- Cloud enablement
- MySQL support
- Suite integration
- Keeping pace with market demands and customer requests
- Support for DevOps
- New public API functions
- Further work on new UI for the data steward function
Dan asked Charlie and Przemek what the OneData MDM plans are for processing big data for MDM purposes. Currently OneData MDM does provide some capabilities for working with big data but there isn’t full-bodied functionality yet. Future support for Hadoop is planned for 2017.
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.