By Dan Power, President and Founder, Hub Solution Designs
There definitely seems to be a trend lately with small companies in the master data management (MDM) and data quality space being purchased (as in the asset acquisition of Exeros by IBM) or partnering with larger firms (such as Silver Creek Systems’ OEM relationship with Oracle).
I think this is a good thing. Using the classic “build, buy or ally” strategy, it isn’t surprising that sometimes companies will conclude that it’s faster and/or cheaper to buy a technology, or partner with another company that has that technology, rather than build it themselves internally.
A lot of companies do tend to suffer from the “not invented here” syndrome, where anything not developed inside their four walls tends to be regarded with disdain. But that tendency leads to a much slower pace of innovation. In very competitive industries like enterprise software, getting there faster is a very definite advantage.
Since I’ve been working with the identity resolution experts at Infoglide, I’ve become much more aware of the role identity resolution technology plays in our daily lives. Every time you get on an airplane, file an insurance claim, apply for a job / mortgage / credit card, or even shop in a retail store or on a web site, your identity is probably being evaluated by an Identity Resolution Engine.
A lot of people in the MDM space refer to this as “matching”, but there’s considerably more to Identity Resolution than the sophisticated pattern matching that most MDM hub platforms use today. The more robust form – Identity Resolution – is mostly used currently for sophisticated applications like terrorist screening and anti-money laundering, where big consequences or big dollar amounts are at stake.
But that technology is gradually filtering down to more routine commercial applications like master data management for customers. The large MDM vendors like Oracle, IBM and SAP – and the smaller vendors like Siperian, Initiate Systems and D&B/Purisma – will follow the “build, buy or ally” pattern, with some opting to create their own more sophisticated Entity Resolution capabilities, some buying smaller firms who already have those advanced products, or perhaps partnering as a middle ground between building and buying.
Either way, this trend is good both for specialized companies like Infoglide and for the general public. We’ll all be a little safer getting on a plane, a little less likely to suffer from identity theft or confusion, and perhaps save a little money through reduced incidence of various types of fraud.
Full-fledged Identity Resolution is a capability that most MDM hubs should plan on adding in the next revision cycle or two, as MDM customers become more discriminating and more demanding of their hub’s ability to identify individuals and businesses from an ever-growing stream of data.
Dan Power is president of Hub Solution Designs, a consulting firm specializing in master data management and data governance. He writes a popular blog and a column for Information Management magazine, speaks frequently at technology conferences, and regularly advises clients on developing & implementing high impact MDM and data governance strategies.