IBM Upgrades Master Data Management and Data Quality Products - InformationWeek

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8/18/2008
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IBM Upgrades Master Data Management and Data Quality Products

Product Information Management and Information Server enhancements aimed at getting data right, matching names, standardizing terms and doing business around the globe.

IBM used this week's TDWI World Conference in San Diego as a spring board for key announcements in the information management domain. The headline goes to two significant upgrades of existing software products aimed at extending capabilities and streamlining deployment. In the process, IBM is unifying technologies picked up through multiple acquisitions in recent years.

On the product data quality front, IBM today introduced the InfoSphere Master Data Management Server for Product Information Management (MDM Server for PIM), a product previously known as IBM WebSphere Product Center and based on technology acquired from Trigo. The renaming to MDM Server for PIM aligns the product with the InfoSphere Master Data Management Server (based on DWL technologies), which handles multiple information categories including the routine product data needs required for most business transactions. The PIM server takes product data management deeper, supporting detailed product attributes and specifications typically required for new-product introductions, catalogs and commerce Web sites. The changes to the product are said to go beyond a simple name change.

"Architecturally we've created a family… with Web 2.0-style user interfaces that can be customized by users," says Michael Curry, director of product management and strategy for InfoSphere. "We've redesigned the workflow for easier navigation and we've added a customizable home page that gives users a list of all their tasks."

The individual tasks link directly to the required interfaces so product managers, for example, can build out or approve master attributes related to a new product introduction. The product's application programming interfaces have also been updated to support services-oriented architecture, making it easier to integrate with existing systems and infrastructure such as commerce systems, product lifecycle management systems and ERP platforms.

MDM for PIM can be deployed stand-alone or in concert with IBM's broader MDM Server or with data quality products. IBM's option on the data quality front is the InfoSphere Information Server, which handles standardization and matching and encompasses the Qualitystage and Datastage technologies acquired with Ascential. IBM announced today that the Information Server has been upgraded to broaden support for global data quality initiatives and better manage performance on grid infrastructure.

IBM has added its Global Name Recognition capabilities to the core Information Server to better match names and addresses, standardize abbreviations and enrich global names with likely gender and cultural derivations. These capabilities eliminate redundancies in marketing applications and provide more accurate results for fraud, risk, money laundering and anti-terrorist initiatives. The linguistic-analysis and billion-global-name reference set technology was acquired with IBM's purchase of Language Analytic Systems.

To better support global development teams, Information Server user interfaces, help screens and support documents have been translated into seven additional languages, including German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and two dialects of Chinese. The product was previously available only in English.

Finally, Information Server has also been upgraded for better grid processing support. "Grid is a big area for us as many companies are implementing large farms of low-cost commodity servers," says Curry. Grid management functionality is said to have been improved to ensure adequate service levels and grids and processing demands scale up.

So while the bits and pieces were picked up from the likes of Trigo, DWL, Ascential and Language Analytic Systems, they're finally coming together under the InfoSphere brand with the Information Server, two complementary MDM products and a more unified architecture and user experience.

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