Although I am no longer with Kalido I do like to keep up with events there, and the developer’s party for Kalido MDM 8.3 was last night in London. This release, announced on February 20th, started shipping this week and is a major version. Effectively it is “version 3” for MDM. The MDM vendor landscape is pretty confused, with every rinky dink data quality tool now claiming itself to be an “MDM product”, presumably in the hope that someone might actually buy their product if it has a catchy label. Mostly these claims are Powerpoint-deep only, but with 56 vendors now reckoning they play as “MDM” tools the potential for confusion is high.
One useful way of distinguishing things is to think about whether the tool is primarily about operational data or analytical data. A CDI hub (like Oracle’s) is very much about taking customer data from various sources, rationalising it and spitting it out to other operational systems. Performance and the ability to deal with high volume are important here, as you are in an operational world.
Products like Kalido MDM instead worry about master data for analytical purposes, and indeed can co-exist happily with hubs. Kalido MDM assumes that there is no one single, clean, authoritative source for master data (which is the case in just about every company) and provides workflow capability for assessing the master data sources and allowing business users to view, verify update and improve master data in a controlled way, ending up with “golden copy” master data at the enterprise level. Ambitious customers can link the master data repository that results back to operational systems via EAI tools if they wish, driving master data changes back to the operational systems. Even customers religiously committed to SAP or Oracle will have to deal with master data that is from other sources, whether that be legacy systems or indeed external data from their business partners. This is where Kalido MDM can play an effective role.
In 8 Release 3 there were three major areas of improvement. The workflow capability in Kalido MDM was significantly enhanced, allowing greater customer flexibility in configuring workflow. Indeed this greater flexibility has been taken further with (finally) a complete API to the MDM product, which allows customers to slot in business-specific funcionality if they wish e.g. as a web service. New reporting tables allow customers who don’t have Kalido’s data warehouse product to better query the master data repository.
The second major improvement has been in user interface, which was always something of a weakness in KALIDO MDM. In this release over 100 customer suggestions for user interface improvements have been implemented, and from what I have heard the beta customers have been very pleased with these changes.
Finally the new release has major scale and performance improvements. Of course performance is a slippery thing, but functions such as loading and validating data and the user interface itself have speeded up by an average of two to five times (in some cases more, in some cases less) while the underlying product is capable of realistically handling five times the volume of the previous release.
These enhancements should be welcome news to existing customers like Unilever, BP, GAFRI, Labatt and Nationwide Insurance. It is never easy being a pioneer, and early customers inevitably encounter issues with early software. However from what I can tell this version of MDM really starts to deliver on the early promise (KALIDO MDM has been around since 2003), and should allow Kalido to better tackle the increasing number of MDM competitors who have recently come to the market.