• Christophe Barriolade

MDM worlds collide! Customer is the product and product is the customer

Updated: Jun 13, 2018

Gartner just released its two updated Magic Quadrants for Master Data Management:

For a second year in a row, we're proud to be positioned in both MQs. As Gartner points out we're in both customer and product MQs with the same software solution. It seems obvious, but if you're following the MDM market and Gartner research, you've probably noticed that the market is characterized by many technologies that are purpose-built for specific domains. It's not unusual to see a vendor offering unique MDM solutions for customer, product and reference data, or even multiple software products for the same domain.

We already discussed many times why relying on multiple MDM platforms is an issue (one word: relationships), so in this post I would like to focus on an interesting finding at our large enterprise customers.

What we've noticed is that for many companies, especially those with a predominantly B2B business model, the difference between product and customer data hardly exists.

A good example comes from our customers in engineering and construction. Those companies design and manufacture very large projects such as bridges, onshore or offshore oil and gas platforms or plants. If you are in this business, you manage your customer and product master data in the context of "projects." A multi-year, multi-billion dollar program requires governance for a wide set of master data, which includes customer and project details: materials, internal and external staff, reporting hierarchies and suppliers. Managing those master data sets in different software solutions makes no sense since all those objects are linked together and require a consistent and unified governance.

We see the same type of blurred line between product and customer in the media and entertainmentindustry, where Orchestra Networks is active. For example, in a studio, master data/metadata follows a film from development through release over the value chain from content creation, sales and distribution, service and fulfilment to financial tracking.

Source: Bloore, Pete, Re-defining the Independent Film Value Chain, British Film Institute, 2009

M&E master data would include titles (with metadata), agreements, parties, media assets, financial hierarchies and reference data. What appears to be, superficially, a product catalog is in reality a complex, network of master data entities and hierarchies. Take sales and distribution, studios must manage hierarchies of different release adaptations (aka the "versionitis" issue) by geography, language, distribution channel or format/bit rate. For a full understanding of ROI studios must financially track projects from development through actual releases. Again, because of the highly networked nature of M&E master data, managing each data domain in separate solutions makes things much more challenging.

And the list doesn't end here. We see this trend in many industries such as financial services, logistics and transportation, education and research or manufacturing, automotive and consumer packaged goods to name a few. What is happening is that the MDM market is becoming broader and new requirements are appearing. For an industry that initially focused on either consumer databases or retail product catalogs, the MDM market now includes requirements from large companies with B2B business models and complex offerings… and situations where the customer is the product and the product is the customer!

For many incumbents in the MDM industry, it must feel like worlds are colliding:

But, we think Orchestra Networks is ideally positioned for these new networked MDM requirements (aka multidomain) by providing our customers a single, comprehensive model-driven solution that can absorb, manage and govern a wide range of master and reference data as well as complex relationships.

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