RESEARCH & RESOURCES

TIBCO Updates Flagship Master Data Management Suite

TIBCO says its newest MDM release is also its most compelling MDM release to date

Last week, TIBCO Software Inc. unveiled the latest version of TIBCO Collaborative Information Manager (CIM), its flagship master data management (MDM) product offering.

MDM is one of several still-percolating Next Big Things, and TIBCO officials believe the company’s application integration expertise will help give it a leg up in a teeming MDM marketplace, where TIBCO is already a recognized leader.

CIM 7.has a lot to recommend it: support for cross-catalog search across master data sets, caching, performance, and scaling across MDM hubs, embedded search capabilities, and—finally—a bevy of user interface improvements (including graphical and wizard-based configuration and admin features). No wonder officials say TIBCO’s newest CIM 7.0 release is its best release to date.

Analysts are less prone to such hyperbole. Consider James Kobielus, a principal analyst for data management with consultancy Current Analysis. While there’s a lot to like in TIBCO’s revamped CIM 7.0 release, Kobielus says, its features and enhancements—while important—mostly comprise an incremental upgrade over its predecessor.

Fierce Competition

Moreover, Kobielus points out, in spite of its sizeable installed base (and demonstrable EAI chops), TIBCO is one of several MDM vendors that champions multi-domain, multi-hub, multi-application MDM deployment capabilities. A host of players—including IBM Corp., Oracle Corp., SAS Institute Inc., Teradata (a division of NCR Corp.), Kalido, and others—claim to do more or less the same thing. Like TIBCO, many of these vendors also tout integrated data quality, flexible deployment, cross-catalog hierarchy management, prepackaged domain data models, visual tooling, SOA focuses, and scalable architectures.

"TIBCO CIM 7.0 is primarily an incremental release that supports further productivity improvements among IT staff who are involved in the deployment, administration, optimization, and governance of distributed … MDM deployments," he writes.

Kobielus doesn’t dismiss TIBCO as an MDM market force: "TIBCO is already an acknowledged MDM market leader in supporting such complex distributed environments, and this latest release simply deepens its platform’s considerable value proposition in this regard."

Instead of packing CIM 7.0 with incremental enhancements, TIBCO should continue to flesh out its MDM application stack, Kobielus maintains.

"TIBCO needs to focus more on rolling out new MDM applications for its platform, not simply additional enhancements to the underlying infrastructure and tooling," he argues. "With the CIM 7.0 announcement, TIBCO has not introduced new pre-built horizontal or vertical MDM domain models, nor has it implemented relationship-centric domain models."

Solid Evolution

The irony, he points out, is that TIBCO already has a sizeable collection of MDM domain models (or accelerators) engineered for particular verticals or applications. Nevertheless, Kobielus claims, there’s a marketplace perception that TIBCO does not, in fact, offer MDM solution accelerators. The company should think about rebutting this perception in forthcoming releases, he counsels.

In the final analysis, TIBCO’s newest CIM revision—while not revolutionary—comprises a solid evolutionary improvement over its predecessor. One upshot of this, Kobielus predicts, is that CIM will continue to be an MDM market leader.

"[TIBCO] will continue to enhance and extend its MDM platform to address the complex, multi-domain, multi-hub environments where it already shines," he suggests. In all likelihood, TIBCO’s rivals will downplay its best-of-breed feature set, playing up their own multi-hub, multi-domain MDM capabilities.

What’s more, Kobielus argues, TIBCO’s new CIM search enhancements are market-changing. In this respect, he advises, competitors would do well to emulate its example.

"[R]ivals should follow the lead set by TIBCO and Initiate Systems, both of which rolled out search enhancements to their respective MDM solutions this week," he says. "Though many MDM vendors integrate some search features into their solutions to support the upfront data discovery/profiling in the DQ process, some leading-edge vendors have recognized the growing importance of intelligent MDM-integrated search in the data governance … process."

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