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Reltio sets new course for master data management strategy

The founder of data management firm Reltio provides insight into the evolving nature of master data management, as organizations look to get a more complete view of their data.

With data residing in many different places, a key challenge is how to master it all -- which is what a master data management strategy is all about.

With master data management (MDM) there is a "master" record of data that an organization can use for operations and analysis. Cloud software vendor Reltio in Redwood City, Calif., got its start in the MDM space in 2011 and since developed a broader view of data management with its Reltio Connected Customer 360 platform.

On Tuesday, Reltio marked the next phase of its business growth by announcing the transition of founder and CEO Manish Sood to the role of CTO. Chris Hylen, previously CEO of security firm Imperva, will become CEO at Reltio.

In this Q&A, Sood provides insight into how the MDM market has changed during the last decade and what challenges organizations face for enterprise data management.

Why are you now moving out of the CEO role ?

Manish Sood, CTO, ReltioManish Sood

Manish Sood: We started the company back in 2011 and started taking our products into the market right around the late 2014 time frame. Since then, the growth has been really good for us. We felt that this was the right point in time for us to make the transition, so that over the course of the next 18 to 24 months, we can not only drive acceleration of the revenue trajectory but also think about the longer-term value that we are building.

From a practical standpoint, it doesn't change a whole lot for me except for the allocation of my time, as I will be able to spend more time on the product side.

What have you seen as the impact of COVID-19 on Reltio's business?

Sood: We have seen a mix, but in large part it has accelerated the demand. The reason I say that is that the current pandemic and the economic situation has really highlighted the need for enterprise customers to accelerate their digital transformation and customer experience types of investments.

Let's take retail as an example: In-store sales have obviously been severely impacted, and every retailer has to figure a method of doing things online. So that's driving digital adoption. There are certain verticals where things have slowed down, but they are already starting to think about how are they going to come out stronger.

How do you define the source of truth, sometimes referred to as the "golden record" for a master data management strategy?

The current pandemic and the economic situation has really highlighted the need for enterprise customers to accelerate their digital transformation.
Manish SoodCTO, Reltio

Sood: Prior to starting Reltio, I worked at Siperian, which was acquired by Informatica in 2010. Siperian was a pioneer in the master data management space, and we knew some of the friction points. One of them was every time you add more data sources, the master model needs to evolve.

One of the core inventions of the Reltio platform is that customers never have to think about the physical data model. They simply have to describe the logical construct from a metadata perspective.

The other part we looked at was the notion of the best version of the truth, or the golden record.The concept that we applied was that you aggregate from multiple sources, but you consume the best version based on the audience that is trying to look at the information. So we have evolved this into the concept of multiple best versions of the truth.

If you're in compliance, then you want to look across all the sources that can be aggregated and you want to look at the combined view. But if, for example, somebody comes in from sales or marketing, they can look at the narrow slice of information that is most relevant to them. It's the same aggregate set of information under the covers, but the consumer of the information is driving the context of the best version of the truth.

What's next for the master data management market?

Sood: The need for master data management hasn't gone away, but it has evolved into a broader need. The larger trend that we see is this evolution to have a 360-degree view of the data that matters most for any business.

The direction that we see this industry evolving in is going beyond the notion of master data management as we knew it before. This is a critical part of the equation, given the application sprawl that has already taken place, and there is no single application where this type of a unified view exists.

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