Microsoft Buys Stratature to Master Data - InformationWeek

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Software // Information Management
Commentary
6/8/2007
10:30 AM
Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Commentary
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Microsoft Buys Stratature to Master Data

Microsoft has announced its acquisition of Stratature, a master data management (MDM) vendor that supports the definition, sharing and maintenance of reference data. Stratature's technology is used by organizations with analytical master data challenges in which master data changes over time in financial, product and customer hierarchies. Microsoft lacked a solid position and technological approach to MDM and was under competitive pressure to respond.

Microsoft has announced its acquisition of Stratature, a master data management (MDM) vendor that supports the definition, sharing and maintenance of reference data. Stratature's technology is used by organizations with specific analytical master data challenges in which master data changes over time in financial, product and customer hierarchies. Microsoft lacked a solid position and technological approach to MDM and was under competitive pressure to respond.MDM is a required component of Information Management, yet until this acquisition, all Microsoft could offer was little more than white papers that described the problem or that explained how to use Microsoft SQL Server to address the problem.

Ventana's research on Information Management shows that MDM is increasingly important to the success of any organization in improving data consistency and reducing errors. MDM has been evolving to become a more integrated component of an organization's information management blueprint. Microsoft, which until recently had not recognized "information management" as a buying theme for CIOs and IT management, has decided that MDM is not just a good technology to have in its portfolio but also a critical link enabling its BI and performance management products to interoperate. I believe Microsoft has woken up to the fact that the database, Microsoft SQL Server, is not a Swiss Army knife for of all data-related requirements, especially ones that require business involvement.

Stratature is to be integrated as part of the Microsoft Office Business Applications and Server team where it will be independent of SQL Server. MDM is a business and IT management issue and should be part of a data-governance process for data stewardship. It is not a database problem, which is why it is not in the SQL Server team.

I was not surprised by this acquisition as IBM, Oracle and SAP have already defined their MDM strategies and completed their first phases of customer deployment. Stratature's focus on analytical MDM is also delivered by suppliers like Kalido, the latter having focused on the needs of larger enterprises for many years. Operational MDM providers, such as Initiate and Siperian, have expanded to support broader MDM requirements over the last six months, and vendors including Teradata and TIBCO have recently expanded their MDM capabilities through acquisitions.

The challenge for Microsoft will be to update the Stratature product under its own branding as soon as possible, but it's not clear when this will be completed. The product will have to be deployable across Microsoft's BI & Performance Management products as well as its Business Solution group applications. This should not be too difficult as Stratature supported Microsoft SQL Server and already had experience in integrating information requirements in finance and operations.

The purpose of MDM is to define, deploy and manage master data across information technologies enterprisewide. Microsoft is only one provider of those technologies, so it will need to provide a roadmap for supporting heterogeneous environments. All in all, this is an important step forward for Microsoft, but can we trust that it will support the entire enterprise? This will be become clear over the next 12 months as it moves forward with MDM and makes its intentions known.

Mark Smith is CEO And Senior Vice President of Research at Ventana Research. Write to him at [email protected].Microsoft has announced its acquisition of Stratature, a master data management (MDM) vendor that supports the definition, sharing and maintenance of reference data. Stratature's technology is used by organizations with analytical master data challenges in which master data changes over time in financial, product and customer hierarchies. Microsoft lacked a solid position and technological approach to MDM and was under competitive pressure to respond.

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