IBM has added a ready-to-run application for reference data management to its InfoSphere Master Data Management (MDM) platform. The so-called InfoSphere MDM Reference Data Management Hub v10 has been beta tested by banks including DNB Nord in Europe and was released by IBM as an electronic upgrade last week.
The application offers centralised reference data management, an interface that allows business users to define and manage reference data with little IT intervention and services supported by the MDM platform including security, data quality and audit. The platform is based on Java technology and works with most vendor relational databases including Oracle and IBM’s DB2.
Essentially, the solution is a new master data domain built on the InfoSphere MDM platform with its own data model, services and user interface for the management of enterprise reference data. It has been designed for users to ensure quick implementation and minimise IT involvement, and is aimed at helping organisations reduce business risk, improve enterprise data quality and enhance operational efficiency.
David Corrigan, director of strategy, IBM Information Management, explains: “Across the master data management market there are generic platforms, but customers then have to build models to manage particular data. IBM has built a reference data engineering capability, the only purpose built reference data hub in the market. Other vendors offer empty products with tools to build a model for reference data, but a pre-built solution is quicker and cheaper to implement. The IBM model includes tables that can be used to build or change reference data models. Its foundation is productised, but it can be customised.”
Features of the Reference Data Management Hub include: import and export of reference data in multiple formats; versioning and lifecycle management for reference data sets and mappings; role-based user interfaces for review, approval and publishing of reference data changes; centralised audit and security; reference data defined and managed as an enterprise standard; and transcoding services that support mapping and transformation of data from one application representation to another.
Exemplifying IBM’s approach to centralised data management and distribution of reference data to different systems in an organisation, Corrigan describes the management of Nomenclature des Activités Économiques dans la Communauté Européenne, or NACE, codes that group organisations’ according to business activities.
He explains: “Banks with operations in multiple countries must manage individual national NACE code sets and reconcile the differences across countries. The InfoSphere Reference Data Management Hub allows different versions of the NACE codes to be managed from a central point, simplifying the creation of mappings among different versions and supporting transcoding values across the data sets.”
Commenting on the role of the MDM in holding master data copies that can be accessed and distributed in near real time if required, he adds: “The MDM is a centralised domain that serves many applications, so it holds one version of the truth, but there are many different views of that truth depending on the applications using the data.”