Master Data Management Merger Tardis & the Future of MDM

The landscape for the Master Data Management software market changed dramatically in the span of about 2 years between 2008 and 2010. During this time, many of the leading independent vendors such as Siperian (my former company), DWL, Purisma, Initiate Systems and others were all gobbled up in an acquisition frenzy which saw each selling to the likes of IBM (DWL, Initiate), Informatica (Siperian) and oddly enough D&B (Purisma).

Stepping into Dr. Who's Tardis and going back to March 2010 we can see that not only was the pace of consolidation of the main players frenetic, but also several match and cleanse technologies which were OEMed and licensed by each were also gobbled up.

 A Graph of MDM Acquisitions circa 2010

A Graph of MDM Acquisitions circa 2010

It was an interesting time back then. Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen who at the time was a Practice Manager at Omikron Data Quality  was kind enough to send me these LinkedIn statistics on the location and employees of other match and DQ vendors who were still out there and waiting for “the call." Henrik is a guy that has been an MDM and DQ expert for a number of years, check out his Liliendahl on Data Quality blog here. True to history and how we would have seen it as we stepped out of the Tardis I am posting the list as it was back then in 2010.

I completed the list with the remaining significant MDM providers at that time (Bold and CAPS are the 2015 updates):

I then speculated out loud as listed below, with actual significant activity post March 2010 in CAPs:

  • D&B (Happy with Purisma?)
  • EMC (Focused more on unstructured w/Documentum?)
  • HP (Bigger fishing in other software ponds)
  • IBM (Always shopping)
  • Informatica (All holes plugged after Siperian buy?) - ACQUIRED HEILER SOFTWARE and DATA SCOUT
  • Microsoft (No action since Zoomix way back in 2008)
  • Oracle (Waiting in the weeds and about to make a Mega move?)
  • Pitney Bowes (May be acquired themselves by Mega Mega Vendor?)  
  • Progress Software (Has all the integration tools and database technology, natural fit to get in the MDM game?)
  • QAD (No activity since Fulltilt buy. Content to be in Product MDM land?)
  • SAP (No more activity since Business Objects?) 
  • SAS Institute (Like to build their own?)
  • Software AG (Rumor has it they are shopping?) - ACQUIRED DATA FOUNDATIONS
  • Trillium Harte-Hanks (May be acquired themselves by Mega Mega Vendor?)
  • Tibco (Netrics just the start?)

It was also around this time that I had moved on from master data management and into the world of big data and NoSQL databases. I spent the next 4 years marketing and managing product against traditional relational technology, as Hadoop and other open source projects emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the enterprise.

Re-emerging from the Tardis to present day, many of the major acquirers from that time have continued to license and sell the same on-premises, relational database master data management solutions. While some new players have emerged, the times to deploy, and business value have largely remained a concern. With big data getting all the buzz and elastic cloud computing offering unlimited flexibility and scale, these worlds are colliding.

I've had the pleasure of exploring this topic with friends and colleagues at MDM European Summit's in London (hence the Tardis reference). In a three hour workshop (you can download the slides here) we made sense of it all and discussed how we should be approaching modern, not just master data management. We had a hearty discussion around the following agenda:

  • How did it all begin?
    • The multi-domain debate 
    • Match, link and merge styles
    • Relational database loyalties
  • Where are we today?  
    • Consumerization of IT and democratization of data
    • Social Mobile Analytics Cloud (SMAC)
    • Graph databases and Big Data
    • Enterprise data-driven applications
  • What does the future hold?
    • Internet of Things (IoT)
    • Machine Learning & Cognitive computing
    • Industry Cloud & Data Monetization

Everyone agreed that the focus should be more on how we can take advantage of this seemingly golden time in data management.

Check out the latest Forrester Wave to see the leaders in MDM today. Next time we might take the Tardis forward 10 years to get a glimpse of where we will ultimately end up.