As Published In
Oracle Magazine
May/June 2009

AT ORACLE: Interview


A Clean View of Data

By Caroline Kvitka

Oracle delivers a comprehensive solution for master data management.

A single source of truth for data offers organizational benefits ranging from IT agility to optimized business processes—and master data management (MDM) promises to deliver that truth. Caroline Kvitka, Oracle Magazine senior managing editor, talked with Pascal Laik, Oracle’s vice president of MDM products, about Oracle’s solutions for MDM. The following is an excerpt from that interview. Download the full podcast at oracle.com/magcasts.

Oracle Magazine: What is MDM, and why is it important?

Laik: MDM is an application whose purpose is to supply clean master data to the enterprise by consolidating multiple siloed sources of data, cleansing and deduplicating this information, and sharing it throughout the enterprise.

MDM supplies a unique, consistent, and reliable cleansed source of data, which is used as a single point of truth by both operational and analytical applications. MDM is foundational to service-oriented architecture projects by providing access to clean data as a service. Without a single view of master data, enterprises struggle with inefficient operational processes and unusable analytics where data needs to be reconciled manually.

Oracle Magazine: What MDM solutions does Oracle offer?

Laik: Oracle’s MDM suite includes four key products. First, Oracle Customer Hub is a customer data integration solution that enables organizations to centralize information from heterogeneous systems, creating a single view of customers, suppliers, and employees. Similarly, Oracle Product Hub enables organizations to master products, catalogs, bills of materials, and all related information. Third, Oracle Site Hub enables organizations to master information about sites, locations, stores, and trade areas. Last, Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management is a data model-agnostic MDM solution for financial and analytical mastering needs. In addition, we recently released an Oracle Application Integration Architecture MDM solution that provides out-of-the-box integration of Oracle MDM hubs with Oracle’s Siebel Customer Relationship Management and Oracle E-Business Suite, making these applications "MDM aware.“ The composite application user interface of this release enables legacy and Web applications to connect to the MDM hubs.

Oracle Magazine: What’s the relationship of MDM to data integration?

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Laik: Data integration helps move data from point A to point B. An MDM application is a repository of the master data, offering Web services to access it. Most MDM implementations have a data integration element—that integration is required to load the MDM application from its source systems. Data integration can also be used to feed the master data from the MDM application to the business intelligence layer. While Oracle’s MDM solutions are agnostic to data integration technologies, we have been strengthening our links with Oracle Data Integrator and positioning it to feed the hubs.

Oracle Magazine: How do Oracle’s MDM products address data quality routine requirements?

Laik: In some instances, we meet the requirement to execute data quality routines as part of the migration/load process in order to seed the master application with clean data from its start. The alternative is to seed the master with raw information and clean it afterward in order to trace the history of data operations. In any case, data quality routines such as address validation, matching, and merging are required for the ongoing operations of the hub to enable keeping the data clean and preventing decay. Oracle has embedded best-in-class data quality software into its MDM products to cover deep customer data and product data quality requirements.

Oracle Magazine: How can Oracle customers best prioritize their MDM projects?

Laik: We recommend that our customers plan their MDM deployment in short yet impactful phases based on maximizing return on investment [ROI]. We have developed an MDM ROI model capturing the parameters and typical returns delivered in live MDM projects. This tool has been instrumental in helping customers and prospects justify MDM investments.
 



Caroline Kvitka
is senior managing editor of Oracle Magazine and Profit: The Executive’s Guide to Oracle Applications.


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