I came across an interesting new MDM vendor recently called Amalto, a start-up from Paris (though they already have a California office). They have only been selling their software for less than a year, but already have a good set of early customers, such as Rio Tinto, Total, SNCF and BNP Paribas. Their Xtentis product offers a generic MDM repository with data movement (EAI like) functionality, and they make heavy use of standards (Eclipse, Ajax etc). Unusually, they use an XML database rather than a relational database as their underlying storage mechanism. Given the relatively low data volumes typical in MDM applications, this approach seems interesting, since XML databases are strong at handling data with complex structures (e.g. variable depth hierarchies) that one often encounters in master data. In case you think XML databases are unproven, Berkeley DB is probably the most widely deployed DBMS in the world, being embedded in many mobile phones, for example, and most phone users don’t have deep DBA skills. On a parochial note, it is nice to see a European software company emerging for a change (another MDM vendor is Orchestra Networks, also French).
Though an early stage company, Amalto is making good progress in the French market and in 2008 will start to expand to the USA. If they can firm up their positioning (confusingly, they also have a product for B2B exchanges, a quite different market, resold by Ariba) and develop good systems integration partnerships in the US then they should be an interesting addition to the MDM space. Their technology is innovative and their early customer stories sound promising.