Friday, 31 December 2010

Master Data Management from a primary focuses on creating a consistent view of the data across the organization or a company and manage the data change also consistently. To get to this consistent view, the data needs to be deciphered and siphoned from various data sources. However one of the major issues in deciphering this data is that almost 80% of this enterprise information is in unstructured.

What is unstructured data?
Unstructured data is any data like the blog that you are reading now which cannot be typically stored in a database in a row/column format. It will be done in the form of a BLOB (binary large object). With the boom of the internet and the World Wide Web this data is growing at a mind boggling speed. A lot of government and financial organization still has a document oriented systems wherein there will be different forms that will be filled and maintained.

Being able to pull the content and the data together to create a single view is the biggest challenge. Master content of an MDM solution can be effectively managed by integrating with an intelligent tool which can manage the content intelligently and optimize all business process. IBM Enterprise Content Management is a product which can do all these. Integrating this with an MDM solution will give a complete 360 degree view of the data and the content to effectively manage and analyze any business.

Take an example of an insurance company which has considerable amount of content in terms of insurance policies and their terms and agreement. As mentioned earlier lot of this unstructured information is also captured as feedbacks and blogs from customers which is also very important for the company’s satisfaction metrics. The same company now wants to implement an MDM Solution to give him a unified view of its customers to effectively manage his business. It would be difficult to move the content based unstructured data into an MDM solution. The company would not want to loose these feedbacks and would definitely want to have these views whenever it is looking at a specific customer profile.

MCB (Master Content Bridge) is aimed at providing this unified view by integrating IBM Enterprise Content Management and InfoSphere Master Data Management Server. It would enable the following:-

1. Mapping document and their attributes to corresponding MDM parties and attributes

2. Capture document creation and change events as they occur
– Synchronize master content metadata into MDM server
– Create linkage between MDM parties and documents

3. Initial load and linkage of existing documents in ECM in bulk

4. User interfaces and applications consuming MDM services have access to structured and unstructured data.

MCB would thus help in bringing to the table a complete true value of MDM solution for a customer and providing the power of enterprise content to single view.

More information at the link-

Monday, 25 October 2010

Smarter HealthCare Solution

Recently was attending a Conference in Atlanta and one of the panel discussion that I attended was on Smarter Health Care Solution. A very interesting set of panelists from Google, Symantec, Intuit and Microsoft participated in it. Indeed in US it is a hot topic because of the highly expensive healthcare system. The point of discussion was how do we make the healthcare system much smarter and worth the amount that is spent on it by an individual. Everybody agreed in the panel that in order to create a smarter healthcare solution one of the biggest steps was to create an electronic health record. This record can be something that can be shared easily between hospitals and doctors that a patient needs to consult. Considering that one of the studies shows that in 5 years 30% of the world's data would be around health record, it definitely makes more sense.

An electronic health record idea is great but currently there is lack of a standard format to create and share this record. Companies like Symantec and Google have solutions to create electronic healthcare record but each of them have their own standards and they are completely non-interoperable. So for example consider that there are two hospitals that provides and maintain an electronic health record. A patient from the first hospital has to consult a doctor from the second hospital. Can the same electronic record be used in the second hospital? Currently it is not possible. So the solution needs to be standardized and then only it makes sense to do that, otherwise the patient will land up carrying more printed data which are anyway questionable in terms of security.

Once an electronic health record is created the next thing is about the security and integrity of the record. Most of this data is very sensitive and needs to be carefully shared so it is very important to provide access structure around this record. At the same time the integrity and the uniqueness of the data also needs to be maintained as an error in health record can actually cause very severe outcomes. IBM's recent acquisition Initiate provides a high quality data integration solution. Initiate has a very strong matching engine where key criteria for matching is:-

  • Bringing together a complete set of information even if the individual is known as J Krishnamurthy in one system and Jay Krishnamurthy in another and so on.
  • Also another criteria is avoiding mixing information from two distinct patients
    who live in same city like Rahul Sharma and Raul Sharma.

The next thing after ensuring the correct accurate data is building analytics on top of it so that research and predictions can be done around them. India is becoming a hub of high standard healthcare at very affordable cost. Hospitals are equipped with instruments and doctors who can do the most complicated surgery at reasonable costs. So a smarter healthcare system should definitely be the journey that the companies especially in India should start investing in, so that the there is economic growth and the society also progresses.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Telecoms Boom in India and MDM Story

Telecom market is undergoing a boom. Mobiles industry have completely revolutionized the Telecom market . Especially for a country like India wherein a significant percent of population do not have stable home, the landlines are becoming misnomers. The Indian story of telecoms is quite different from the world. Specific difference between mobile users in India and other developed countries are:-

  • The high end phones are not much in demand but instead the cheaper ones which suffice the purpose are more in demand. The Nokia 3000 series is still the most used series of mobile easily available in 1000-1500 Rs. This is the usual rate which significant person of the population prefers and there is a variety of choice available from vendors like Samsung, Nokia, Micromax and others in this range. School going to Road sweepers dangle this piece of electronics like proud

  • The rates per minute had gone down to as low as 30 paisa /per minute. In our age also at least there is something that comes in paise . This is lesser than the landlines rate of BSNL.

  • The pre-paid customers can recharge their mobiles with amounts as low as 5 Rs.Wow!!. That is less than the amount that we pay for an ice-cream also.

  • A significant person of the population uses pre-paid packages, so the vendors need to be quite competitive in coming up with offers that could attract the customers to use their services. The case wherein the recharge can be done for as low rates as 5 Rs. is an example of that.

One of the mobile vendors came out with a wonderful advertisement wherein people are recognized by their mobile numbers in villages since it has become so affordable and easy to use. Remember Abhishek Bachchan grinning on the exclamation “Wah kya idea hai Sirji”. Looks like a huge competition to the UID project.

So what does it mean?

Countries like India and China are redefining lot of sectors and domain because of their size and population. The Telecom sectors especially in India would require the capability of a good MDM implementation involving multi-domain MDM capabilities to bring more profit and value to the customers and the vendors. A good MDM solution can provide capabilities like:-

  • Multi domain capabilities to bring Customer, Vendor and Product
  • Account and Terms and Agreement capabilities between Customer, Vendor and Product
  • Fraud Management
  • Up-Sale and Cross-Sales of Products
  • Understand the Customer Value Chain
  • Campaign Management
  • Rounded view of customer
  • Product Bundles and Variants

These are some of the Use Case where in an MDM Solution can directly make an impact and create a smarter Telecom sector.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

MDM Implementation Styles

Implementation Styles of MDM Server as defined by Gartner Group

Consolidated – For reporting analytics and centralized reference
Registry – Mainly for real-time central reference
Coexistence – For harmonization across databases and central reference
Transaction – Acts as a system of record to support transactional activity

The common aspects of these architectural styles are:-
All have a requirement to create/define a central store or database for the master data
2. All have requirements for the solution to have a data quality foundation
3. All have requirements to act as the master source of data despite how many multiple sources
of data are being accessed

The architectural styles differ by:
1. The level of physical instantiations of the master data versus virtual or metadata
2. To what degree the solution can perform transactionally with other operational systems
3. How and where the creation of the master data takes place
4 The level of neutrality to connect with transactional and analytical applications

Some of the misconceptions about the architectural styles:-
1. A solution offering addresses only one architectural style.
2. Organizations have to adhere to one approach for the lifespan of the project.

So basically any of the Master Data Management products could be used to implement solutions following any of the implementation styles. Let us consider some products in terms of their suitability for different implementation styles:-

1.InfoSphere MDM Server – It can be implemented in all different styles. However if used for Registry style, their might not be effective usage of the rich set of services provided by the product. Highly useful for a transaction style of implementation. Most of the MDM-Server customers are financial sector as they want to implement the transaction style of MDM implementation. The other reason also being that they want to own the master record.

2.Initiate Systems – It is highly useful for registry style since it has a very strong capability of linking to source master record. It has services for view, search and matching capabilities. Initiate finds its market in the Health Care domain where only a subset of the data is viewable and searchable. The purpose is to link to the master record which might reside on some other physical MDM.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

The database compatibility layer

The new database compatibility layer offered by DB2 makes migration much more simpler and easier. Read more at

Thursday, 17 June 2010

IBM MDM Portfolio

IBM has multiple products currently which form the basis of its MDM Platform and Solutions portfolio. The IBM MDM platform it its current form have been a result of IBM’s acquisitions of other companies over course of time. The products which form the basis of this platform are currently are:-

• Initiate

MDMPIM, which was earlier called TPC, became a part of IBM when IBM acquired Trigo. IBM added another strong contender of MDM Solutions in the form of InforSphere MDM Server earlier called CDI when it acquired DWL. The latest addition to the same platform has been Initiate Systems which has made strong mark in health care and public systems.

Each of these products provides different flavors of master data management solution and caters to different styles of MDM implementation. They also differ in terms of various MDM Server domain supports that they provide. MDMPIM provides very strong Product domain capabilities for managing Product Category, hierarchies, packaging and other product related features. A banking company would prefer a Customer centric MDM solution like InfoSphere MDM Server which has multi-domain support and helps to create links between customer, accounts and products using the same product. It is also a more strategic product because of its multi-domain capabilities to manage party, product, account and also in terms of a very strong data model and business services to support these domains. Initiate Systems on the other hand has a strong hold on Health Care Solutions because of it high data integrity and matching process. Initiate's technology enables users (e.g., analysts, doctors, sales reps) to gain a unified perspective of a customer, patient, or entity across multiple fragmented data sources, in real time.

Thus by having such a strong MDM portfolio, IBM has ensured that it has a strong MDM presence and solutions catering to all the different market verticals and implementation. The acquired products also benefit because of their synergies with other IBM Information Management products related to Business Intelligence, Data Governance, Performance tools, Entity Matching and Industry Models. With all these acquisitions and Integrations in place the future of Master Data Management looks well for IBM.

Comments invited. !!!!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Lately reading a lot on the UID project. It is considered as one of the biggest and the costliest project in the history of the Software with an estimated cost of roughly 6 billion US $. With the project being handled by Nandan Nilkani, there is lot of expectations from that. Currently the ids issued by government like PAN numbers , Election Voting cards, Driving License , Bank Accounts are all for different purpose which have resulted in bribery, loss of income and inefficient services. The goal of UID is to unite all these under a single umbrella. The purpose is there but would it achieve its objective is the biggest question? Or will it become another project like Election Voting Card which could not be implemented completely because of the government irregularity and casual attitude. Whatever votibg cards were provided had a high percentage of erroneous or incomplete data. Hopefully Not.

UID project would create the largest databse of biometric data of around 1 billion people. So which componies have the capability to do that are bidding for the same. Definately the three big Indian IT companies TCS, Infosys and Wipro are hopeful of getting some chunk of work because of their strong Indian presence and the huge workforce. IBM is also a strong contender for this project since it has a strong technical background and expertise in this domain. As already observed multiple companies are bidding for it including the biggies like Yahoo, Google and Cisco as even a small share of the project would be beneficial and profitable because of the shear size of the project.

Sincerely hope this becomes a success and we as Indians take this giant step towards finding and saving our own identity through this Unique identification Number ...:-) All the best to Mr. Nilkani and us!!!..

Thursday, 10 June 2010

My first post to my own personal blog. And I would like to add something about myself here. I am a healthy, social, friendly person with a jest of life. One of my favourite past times is music and guess what gardening. Reading is something I would like to do more but somehow most of it now happens on the net only. Gone are the days when you could sit with a thick novel or a book and finish it within a day. But I sincerely hope I get the time to do that soon.

I have recently got into this social networking and blogging way of communication and I am loving it. The first and the formost thing I like here is :-

1. You dont have to worry much about the English that you write . Thank God for that.

2. It is almost like writing a diary but ofcourse with a word of caution. Nevertheless the experince is similar

Hope I can continue to keep my blog active. !!!