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Reltio – For a Data-driven Business World

Originally published at Hub Designs Magazine


Following our inaugural briefing with Reltio in 2013, the Hub Designs MDM Think Tankrecently sat down with Manish Sood, CEO and Founder, for an update on current and future directions. Reltio’s new VP of Marketing, Ramon Chen and Vasu Vallurupalli, VP of Alliances, joined the briefing as well. Reltio has been drawing on professionals who are very experienced in data management to fill roles in the expanding company.

The Reltio customer base has continued to grow, including several Fortune 500 companies. Industries targeted include life sciences, health care, and consumer packaged goods. Reltio is purposefully building out a partner ecosystem, to extend its reach globally. The vibrant partner program includes High Point Solutions, Dun & Bradstreet and Cognizant.

Forward-looking Vision for a Data-Driven Business World

Ramon presented a brief overview of how companies can put data to work, to better support how businesses actually function. Reltio aims to give business users the equivalent of consumer apps that provide information and analytics results quickly and easily. The evolutionary path to data-driven applications, as Reltio puts it, moves organizations beyond today’s persistent black holes of segregated data sources and business processes to a single platform for “data convergence and collaborative curation”.

This platform can help achieve enterprise engagement via data-driven applications for every function: supply chain, ERP, CRM, compliance, marketing, and so on.

Reltio sees great value in industry-specific applications that take organizations beyond building an MDM infrastructure to applications that work for the goals and functions of the business. Data-driven applications connect the value of an MDM infrastructure to desired business outcomes and needs, and eventually to how these applications impact customers and revenue. One of the objectives of data-driven applications is to uncover business opportunities and trends that often are overlooked by traditional data management and other legacy systems.

Solution Platform – The Reltio Cloud

At the heart of the Reltio Cloud platform is the Reltio Commercial Graph (our 2013 Reltio briefing article covers the graph database technology). The graph database provides a hybrid multi-dimensional structure to more expansively handle relationships across all data types as well as master data.

Other capabilities of the Reltio Cloud platform include:

  • Core MDM capabilities for cleansing, matching / merging data
  • Data-as-a-Service to enable the frictionless onboarding of third party data from premium and open datasets, freeing IT from much of the burden of data integration
  • High scalability for “always on” data management services
  • Support for multiple data provider and customer tenants

Reltio doesn’t require data modeling; instead data from any and all sources is converged or comingled into a schema-less, multi-dimensional graph. Data relationships are also mapped out in the graph database. For handling identity, Reltio reconciles different ways the same person or entity is represented in different source systems.

Using the graph database structure at the metadata level, Reltio draws ‘clues’ from logical schema, data attributes, and data relationships. To make all of this happen, Reltio provides numerous built-in algorithms, and uses fine-tuning through business rules created by users to identify and relate data.

The end result of this convergence of data with context and relevance is a new way to derive insight from all the data that impacts a business.

Reltio provides many of the sophisticated capabilities that would be expected in a ‘consumer app’ approach to data-driven applications: REST APIs, faceted search, robust filtering and business rule creation, and role-based access. And Reltio includes the must-haves of master data management such as comprehensive data views, data remediation, transactional histories, and data lineages.

With data feeds from non-traditional sources and third party data services, Reltio makes available capabilities for data enrichment and augmentation.

Life Sciences Application

Manish stepped in to give us a live look at the Reltio Cloud in action, using real world imperatives from the Life Sciences industry as his case study. For example, managing affiliations in life sciences is often complex and not handled very well by most CRM systems. Business users want the data rolled up into key account information at their fingertips. This type of sophisticated data processing can be expensive to set up using traditional MDM solutions.

With its graph database, the Reltio Cloud handles relationships and hierarchies quickly and precisely.

Manish pointed out that Reltio is continuously improving usability for business and IT users, by putting more of the work “under the covers” to promote the ease of use and beneficial utility of the platform and applications. Reltio is also ramping up dashboards and data visualizations to help users quickly assess key activities. Reltio not only provides capabilities to improve the quality and reliability of data, but automates data flows from many of the sources via cloud technology.

Another complex Life Sciences business need pertains to the management of clinical trials data and related activities. Manish noted that managing clinical trials is a master data type of problem but is not solved well by most MDM solutions. For example, Reltio has been put to work to help identify and manage papers on the subject of certain clinical trials, in order to pinpoint other professionals for potential collaboration and participation.

In an example based on sales efforts by a pharmaceuticals company, Reltio helps reveal significant information that improves the success of promoting drugs to individual healthcare organizations. Such information includes:

  • Which insurance companies or payers accepted by the healthcare organization actually cover the drugs
  • And for those payers, which insurance plans provide coverage
  • What contracts for the pharmaceuticals company are already in place
  • What other sales teams in the same company are already promoting to the healthcare organization
  • Other important influence and decision-making factors

Running through such an analysis before approaching a healthcare organization helps the sales team determine if any business opportunities exist, and reveals better ways to approach contacts in the organization.

Shifting the Relevance of MDM from the Backend to the Front Office

Reltio is developing its data-driven enterprise solutions very quickly, learning a great deal from its current industry applications to refine how well the apps work and to look for repeatability in other industries. Reltio has found that its cloud-based approach for data-driven applications costs less and takes less time to deploy than more traditional MDM solutions.

Reltio seems genuinely interested in making its approach to data management more business user accessible, which comes with many challenges. It will be interesting to see how successful the company is in this area. Manish talked about providing more pre-built features and templates to streamline implementation and usage, but it’s likely that the current platform still requires technical expertise to make sure everything is working properly.

The business need for faster insights continues to grow – and more businesses want this strategic capability. Master data is an important base for reliable analytics, but businesses also need applications that work the way they work. This business-oriented approach is valuable  but a heavy responsibility falls to the vendor to ensure that the internal technology works right, produces accurate results, and keeps business users out of trouble. This requires a partnership with IT to ensure the best outcomes to business user access to data-driven applications.

Business users can no longer stay arm’s length from data and analytics. The cost of creating, maintaining and utilizing trustworthy and consistent data, whether you call it ‘master data’ or ‘our business data’ has to be reduced so more businesses can take advantage of it. The same applies to implementation and maintenance requirements. Reltio is on the right track for solving the big problem of quickly putting analytics results in the hands of business people, to be used in new and innovative ways.

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 B2B software vendors for customer, solution and go-to-market strategies.

About Hub Designs 

Hub Designs is a boutique management & technology consulting firm, with clients in the US, Europe and Africa. The firm focuses on strategy development, solution delivery and thought leadership for master data management (MDM) and information governance. 

Founded by Dan Power in 2007, Hub Designs’ consultants are trusted advisors and thought leaders who speak and publish frequently on MDM and data governance. They average 20+ years of experience and have deep expertise in industries such as financial services, software & high tech, life sciences, telecom, and information services.

The company is vendor agnostic, and has partnerships with most leading MDM hub, data governance and data quality software providers. Hub Designs’ Thought Leadership practice has written white papers and guest articles, conducted webinars, and provided keynote speakers for many of those vendors.