This is the kind of post I would like to see more of on SDN, business scenarios presented as a demonstration point that we are, in many cases, no longer selling just application products or tools but rather business process strategies. In many ways I hate the term “business process” because I just think we have used it to death, but I have to also admit that for what the vast majority of businesses are dealing with in their day-to-day operations there is no better term than business process. MDM is an incredibly important product for SAP because it cuts to the core of what we do as a company, manage master data, but it is also representative of a competitive flash point in that SAP’s MDM product encapsulates a fundamentally different strategy for dealing with master data than Oracle’s data hubs. Therefore, if you are buying into what we are offering you are implicitly buying into our strategy for managing your master data.
I asked Kosin Huang, who works for me and has done extensive work in this MDM area to comment on the differences in ideology. Here are her comments:
SAPâ€™s MDM approach is to primarily synchronize and harmonize data, letting BPP or SAP solution modules retain their individual master data persistence. This is different from Oracleâ€™s DH approach, which dictates DHs as the only master data storage. It does not allow EBS modules to retain master data persistence. In this way, Oracle had ambitions to control all master data in an organization, regardless of what systems they had, SAP or otherwise. This centralized hub and spoke model however, is highly inflexible and has its weaknesses. Oracle realized this and recently changed its product plans to shift all DH technology to the Siebel platform. This move improves upon Oracleâ€™s DH offering because Siebel lends a federated or distributed master data management approach, where any installation can be a master and any installation can be a slave. This approach is more similar to SAPâ€™s as it allows flexibility in adapting data management to whatever business process flow the customer wants.
If the customer wants its CRM system to be the single source of creation for customer master and the one that retains all customer records, then that is easily enabled. The rules for data mapping, data distribution, and data validation for source and destination systems are easily defined as processes for managing data. The customer would not have to continually ping the hub for master data any time updates or changes need to be made. While these are Oracleâ€™s future DH plans, currently the DH product is still based on old Oracle technology. Oracle will likely maintain the old DH product as it develops the new Siebel-based product.
Another really good blog to read on MDM topics is Andy Hayler.
In the part 1 of this series, I have given emphasis on differentiating between global and local data definitions for a Master Data Process. The new process should follow certain norms as â€˜best business practiceâ€™ as well certain features that are made available by latest MDM tools.