Interview with FX Nicolas, VP of Products at Semarchy

This site is a presentation of the best available Master Data Management (MDM), Product Information Management (PIM) and Data Quality Management (DQM) solutions. However, behind the technology there are people who is working hard to bring the best tools to live, break into the market and cover new land.

Semarchy was one of the first disruptive MDM solutions to join the list and FX was one of the first employees to join Semarchy.

FX NicolasFX, what was your path into Master Data Management?

It started with Data Integration. Back in 2000, we designed a data integration product called “Sunopsis”. It was the first solution to use an E-LT architecture. In fact, we created that acronym as a “smart data geek” joke, and it is now an established marketing buzzword. The product was acquired by Oracle and is still on the market under the Oracle Data Integrator name. I was Product Manager for Sunopsis and Oracle Data Integrator. As such I was exposed to the challenges of integration (real-time vs. batch, EAI vs. ETL, data quality, performance, etc.). Governance and MDM were not yet trendy terms, but we had the idea of a technical “Active Data Hub”, managed at the integration layer, to share high quality data between systems.

Semarchy was founded in 2011. How did the MDM market look like then?

A vast plain with two large circles of massive monoliths, namely the Customer Data Hub (CDH) and Product Information Management (PIM) verticals. Some of them were ironically sold by the same vendors who had failed to properly manage customer and product data in operational systems (CRMs, ERPs, etc.). When we looked at the market, we realized that there was room for domain-agnostic platforms to support customer, product, and every other domain.

The market was also a graveyard of failed projects. The reasons why so many projects ended up there were suspected (gigantic project scopes with insanely large timeframes, lack of agility and business involvement, etc.) but never clearly stated.

You have been in the forefront of introducing Semarchy. What have been the most difficult challenges in breaking into the market?

Building the platform was a challenge, but education was the hardest part. When you tell people that you know why they have failed or will fail, and you have a solution for a better outcome, they are not really willing to listen. We had to educate people with sound messages: “Yes sir, data quality is part of master data management”, “Start small and grow your initiative”, “Involve the business all along”.

Another challenge was the multiple number of shiny new trends and buzzwords popping up in the data space. Big data, cloud, graph, digital transformation, and now AI? Pick your favorite! Data management, governance, quality or workflows look very dull in comparison. The good thing is good practitioners know that these are prerequisites to get things done correctly.

Now that Semarchy has become an established player on the MDM market, what is the next move?

Since our inception, we’ve always believed in a single platform to solve all master data management issues. This all-in-one solution is still a dream for most companies, who struggle with four or five tools to manage their data. We are now ahead of that with our next move: extending our platform to be the end-to-end Intelligent Data Hub™. This includes new capabilities such as:

  • Data Discovery: Profiling data sources and learning about existing critical data assets.
  • Integration of any applications and leveraging any data source or service to enhance the enterprise data.
  • Governing the data hub by defining and enforcing business terms, processes, rules, policies, etc.
  • Managing data using apps designed for data champions and business users, with built-in data quality, match and merge, workflows, generated from the governance definitions and decisions.
  • Measuring the efficiency of the operations and the relevance of the governance choices using dashboards, KPIs and metrics based on data from the data hub or from external data sources.

Can you tell something more about how the Intelligent Data Hub is extending the MDM concept?

MDM is mainly about managing the domains core data assets (reference, customer, product, etc..) with data quality, match/merge and stewardship workflows. The data hub extends this idea in multiple directions:

  • It extends the scope of data available via the data hub beyond core master data, for example by eventually including transactional data and interactions to provide 360° views.
  • It takes an end-to-end approach for the data management initiative: from data governance, data onboarding with data discovery, profiling and cataloguing, down to the assessment of the value delivered with dashboards and KPIs.
  • It transparently opens the initiative to the whole enterprise. All business users become full members of the initiative via the data governance, data management and measurement channels. In short, the Intelligent Data Hub transforms every stakeholder in the organization into a data champion.

If you should have done something differently in Semarchy’s route to where you are now, what would that have been?

Go to the cloud from the beginning! Our platform is now available on major cloud platforms. If I had to do it again, I would have shipped the first version on premises *and* in the cloud.

Cloud multi-domain MDM as the foundation for Digital Transformation


Upen Varanasi

This guest blog post is an interview by Katie Fabiszak with CEO & Founder Upen Varanasi on the new MDM release from Riversand Technologies.

Riversand is pleased to announce the newest release of our cloud-native suite of Master Data Management solutions. Helping organizations create a data and analytics foundation to drive successful digital transformation was the driving factor behind Riversand’s decision to completely rethink and rebuild a master data platform that would meet the future needs of the digital era. According to Riversand CEO & Founder Upen Varanasi, “We knew we had to make an aggressive move to envision a new kind of data platform that was capable of handling the forces shaping our industry.” Katie Fabiszak, Riversand Global Vice President of Marketing, sat down with Upen to talk about Riversand’s vision of the future and how the bold decisions he had made several years ago led to the company’s own transformational journey and a new MDM solution:

KF:        Where do you think the market is heading?

UV:       Well, we are truly in the digital era. The markets are rewarding companies that are leaders in this digital landscape. This is forcing all companies to truly embrace digital transformation. A key aspect of this transformation is the role of data. Data is the new “fuel” of digital transformation. What matters is how enterprises can leverage data and unlock its power to create better and faster business outcomes. Turning data into insights is a key factor. Another important aspect is to understand the complexities of the information supply chain. Simplifying the flow of data is critical to drive better and faster business outcomes. Let’s take an example from the retail/CPG space: Enterprises want to better understand their customers (utilizing customer insights through AI), create/sell products and services that meet and exceed customer expectations (product positioning through AI), meet their customers across all touch points (channel management), secure their customer’s information (privacy), and interact with trading partners to creating cutting edge product differentiation (cloud and AI).

KF:        Why did Riversand decide to shift gears and embark on what became a 2+ year transformational journey for the company?

UV:       At Riversand, we understood the need to envision a new kind of platform to handle the trends occurring in our industry. We focused on creating a data-driven multi-domain Master Data Management System that has the following properties:

  • A contextual master data modeling environment.
  • A platform that can handle scale, velocity and variety of data, built to handle master data as well as transaction and interaction data.
  • Embedded AI to drive better insights and outcomes.
  • Built on cloud, with the ability to integrate data and processes across hybrid clouds.
  • A highly business-friendly user experience.
  • Apps built on the platform that can solve the “final mile” problem for business users. PIM and customer domain solutions are each apps built on this same platform.

Our goal was to create a platform and solutions that can be quick to implement, provide insights and recommended actions to business users, and automates many of the more mundane data management and stewardship functions. We believe we can provide Enterprises with the critical capabilities from the Master Data Management and Product Information Management space to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

KF:        What are the core values of Riversand?

UV:       Our core values are innovation, commitment & integrity. We have consistently strived to bring leading edge innovation to the market. We have dared to step back at times in order to take a bigger leap forward. What helps is that we have had a long-term view of our company and the industry we play in. We have been in business for 18 years and have been committed to this space and to our customers all along the way. Integrity in everything we do is key in dealing with our stakeholders – employees, customers and partners – and has been our focus since inception. We might not get things right all the time to begin with, but we will always make it right with our stakeholders over time.

KF:        What do you see as Riversand’s biggest strength?

UV:       Our people, our passion for this space and our long-term thinking give us an incredible edge against our competition. We are blessed to have a team who have shaped this company over many years and who are invested deeply in the company and this market space.

Riversand picKF:        What would you say sets Riversand apart?  How is our technology and approach different than the other MDM and PIM vendors in the market?

UV:       The path we have chosen provides clear benefits for our customers with respect to our competition. Some key points of differentiation are:

  • We provide a single platform to help implement MDM and PIM initiatives. No need to create further silos of data and processes.
  • We future-proof both business users and IT users with a platform that is flexible and future enabled.
  • We are built for the cloud and SaaS eras: Upgrades are easy and done by us, and customers can scale with pay as you go models.
  • Our AI engine is built on a big data stack to drive insights and actions for better business outcomes.
  • With our big data technology stack, enterprises have the ability to scale with data and handle both its variety and velocity.
  • A completely new and extremely business friendly user interface and experience that people love to use!
  • The app building toolkit (SDK) to help customers and partners build their own apps so that they can solve their final mile problems: This is in addition to the core apps we are actively building.

KF:        Where is Riversand today along this journey that we began over 2 years ago?

UV:       Our new solutions were introduced as a kind of soft launch with a select few customers over the past year. The feedback and insights we received during this year were extremely useful in becoming enterprise-ready. We are now in a position to launch our platform to the broader market. Over the next two quarters, we will be further enhancing our offerings including: the analytics/AI platform, app SDK for partners and customers, launching additional SaaS appsnd entering additional vertical markets. We also look forward to creating robust partner ecosystems for these vertical markets.

KF:        What’s next for Riversand – what do you envision for the future?

UV:       We are really excited about the potential of our new master data platform and we look forward to working with our current customers as well as new customers to help them with their digital transformation journey. We are disruptors in our space and we will continue to establish ourselves as a larger, bolder and leading global brand.

We hope you enjoyed the interview!  You can check out additional information by reading the press announcement here.

Katie Fabiszak oversees and directs global marketing efforts at Riversand.  She is an accomplished executive with more than 20 years of success in global marketing for high tech companies. She is responsible for leading the strategic evolution of the company’s branding and marketing strategy.  With proven success developing effective marketing strategies to drive revenue, Katie’s extensive career includes marketing leadership positions at Informatica, StrikeIron and DataFlux (a SAS company).