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Customer data integration/master data management market trends and expert forecasts for 2008

The customer data integration and master data management market continued to mature in 2007. Industry experts weigh in with what to expect in 2008.

The  customer data integration (CDI) and master data management (MDM) markets continued to mature in 2007. Experts tell the big question now is not 'what are CDI and MDM?', but 'how do I sell them to management and how do I get started?' Here, CDI/MDM experts share more about the answers to these questions and reveal their forecasts for the year ahead.

Aaron Zornes 
Founder and chief research officer for the San Francisco-based analyst firm CDI Institute and chairman of the CDI-MDM summit conferences.

  • The master data management (MDM) market will continue to shift gears from "early adopter" to "mainstream" as 95%+ of financial services, communications services, high tech and pharmaceutical/life sciences enterprises actively explore to replace homegrown MDM solutions.
  • Mega-IT vendors (IBM, Oracle, SAP) will continue merger and acquisition-driven research and development gyrations in moving to an enterprise MDM-centric portfolio, with Oracle and SAP challenged additionally in moving from siloed application architectures into service-oriented architecture-based architectures.
  • Most enterprises will struggle with cross-enterprise data governance scope as they initially focus on customer, vendor and product. Enterprise-level data governance that includes entire master data lifecycle (creation, promotion, archiving, etc.) will be mandated as a core deliverable of large-scale MDM projects.
  • Party and product data interdependencies will quickly broaden MDM requirements (i.e., from "customer" to "product" to "vendor"). Concurrently, vendor dogma will promote nouveau approaches such as collaborative MDM to assuage multi-entity conundrum.
  • Vendors will expose MDM capabilities as "always on" services in loosely-coupled architectures. Enterprises will begin establishing central, business-side led data management teams with embedded data quality and external data update services in flow of core business processes.

James Kobielus 
Principal analyst of data management at Washington, D.C.-based Current Analysis.

  • MDM vendors will consolidate. Vendors will -- through strategic acquisitions, partnerships, and internal development -- assemble MDM solution portfolios that encompass best-of-breed solution elements in data integration, data quality, data warehouses and more. Expect to see such leading MDM pure-plays as Siperian, Initiate Systems and Kalido be acquired by larger vendors looking to build up their MDM portfolios.  
  • MDM vendors converge their platforms. Recent industry consolidations have brought together former rivals, each with its own MDM offerings that now need to be combined into a common platform. IBM, which acquired two MDM vendors in the past few years, has already announced a converged new MDM solution available in the first quarter of 2008. Oracle, which acquired Hyperion's financial data-hub MDM solution in 2007, is likely to converge that offering with its pre-existing CDI and product information management (PIM) MDM offerings on the Fusion middleware platform in 2008. Likewise, we expect to see SAP begin to bring some important MDM-enabling Business Objects technology -- especially strong data profiling and cleansing -- into its established NetWeaver MDM offering.
  • MDM deployments will become more decentralized and virtualized. Traditionally, MDM has been deployed in a centralized fashion around the enterprise data warehouse. However, 2007 saw more and more vendors stress more decentralized, virtualized deployment models for MDM, such as IBM with its focus on "multi-style, multi-form, multidomain" deployments. We expect this trend [to] accelerate in 2008, as vendors respond to users' demands for life-cycle management of master data sets across federated environments. Increasingly, users require flexible MDM environments that allow them to deploy master data sets in centralized or federated topologies, while retaining unified, SOA-based data governance across their enterprise service bus.

John Radcliffe 
Research vice president at Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Gartner, Inc..


  • If you look at the business press, you can't help but notice that a lot of people are forecasting an economic slowdown in 2008. If there's also a reduction in IT spending, then there could be a question mark over MDM growth in 2008. Indeed, you'll probably see a slight reduction in the level of growth of MDM, as some pieces are just nice to have. But there are many other pieces of MDM -- like compliance, risk management, cost reduction -- that aren't nice to have, but are essential even if the economic climate is poor. We should see growth in these areas of MDM. They still need to get done and they actually help people during an economic slowdown.
  • In contrast to CRM five years ago, we haven't seen a lot of talk of failure in the press. We're not seeing very public figures with MDM, and these are big expensive projects. Consider that 30% of all IT projects fail. This partly due to a lack of metrics and objective measures as to what success is going to be and whether they got there or not. It becomes very subjective if you don't have these measurements. I would expect statistically to see more public failures in 2008, but at the same time expect to see people developing more of a business-oriented approach to MDM to ensure there's a set of metrics around an MDM strategy and that all stakeholders are on board so success can be measured.
  • People will move to more holistic ways to approach MDM. Instead of jumping in and saying, "Hey, what technologies shall I buy," and then have IT run around looking for a problem to solve with MDM technology, it needs to be driven by a business vision. We expect more people to take this type of approach.
  • As for the market, I would expect a degree of continuing consolidation, but nothing massive. We're at that stage in the market where the bigger vendors are buying smaller ones to fill technology gaps and we'd expect more of that in 2008. We haven't reached the stage where it's a market share consolidation like you see in the business intelligence (BI) space.
  • A lot of the focus to date has been on operational side of MDM. 2008 should see a lot more interest in the analytical side. People can only get their arms around so much at once. MDM is reaching the stage where some of the leading people are getting the hang of operational MDM and are ready to move on to analytical MDM, and then figuring out how to fit them together. On a related note, by the end of 2008, you should start to see Microsoft, which has been relatively quiet when it comes to MDM, have an initial impact mostly in the analytical MDM market.

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