Data matching is a critical component to many master data management (MDM) implementations. Where a major goal of MDM is to provide a single view of trusted data, data matching identifies and sorts disparate versions of duplicate data. But all too often, a data matching strategy involves continually writing and refining rules.
Last month TIBCO Software Inc. acquired Netrix, a privately owned data matching vendor, for an undisclosed sum. Through this purchase, TIBCO will bring in house a matching engine it had already embedded in its Collaborative Information Manager MDM product through an OEM agreement inked last June. What it hadn't integrated was Netrix's human decision logic.
"It is not just an automated engine. It can be improved over time when humans and brains are making decisions on matches," said Forrester Research analyst Rob Karel. While TIBCO's strengths in MDM have leaned towards process integration and BPM, Karel said, the Netrix acquisition addresses the lack of strong integration of data quality and advanced matching.
This acquisition is part of TIBCO's move to encompass the major elements of an in-memory, events-based architecture, said Inderjeet Singh, VP and GM of emerging technologies at TIBCO. Aside from its unique pattern matching engine, he indicated the Netrix engine was a prime target because it is an in-memory application.
The engine itself will likely take a lot of the toil out of data matching for TIBCO users, said Singh."The usual approach is to write rules upon rules and try to make it accurate over time," said Singh. "That creates a lot of cost and a lot of inaccuracy as well."
TIBCO plans to integrate Netrix technology into its in-memory distributed data grid where events and data reside after an enterprise service bus pulls them from source applications, said Singh. The Netrix component, he said, will enable more intelligent searching of data and events at that layer.
The broader spectrum of MDM offerings on the market is fairly diverse.
"Right now there are all different types of vendors from all different perspectives all with different products based on what they see MDM to be," said Karel. While offerings are growing more comparable, he said the MDM market can be a confusing place for enterprises.
In some cases, enterprises have been using basic data quality technology to enable their MDM capability. This can be effective and inexpensive for companies just looking for basic reconciliation of data from disparate sources, Karel said. A more advanced MDM product comes into play when an enterprise wants to take that basic reconciled data and then leverage it in the context of important business processes and decisions.
As far as the vendors go, many have products focused on either operational (data source) or process (complex BPM) uses for MDM.