IBM Information Management

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1 IBM Information Management January 2008 IBM Information Management software Enterprise Information Management, Enterprise Content Management, Master Data Management How Do They Fit Together An IBM Whitepaper Tom Deutsch IBM Information Management

2 Page 2 Table of Contents Executive Summary 2 Intended Audience 3 ECM s Evolution From Silos To Core Information Infrastructure 3 Business Drivers For Change 3 Master Data Management 4 Master Content Management 5 The Intersection Of Master Content Management & Master Data Management 6 MDM + MCM = EIM 7 SOA - A definition 8 SOA & EIM - Entry Points 9 Which Brings Us Back To ECM s Role In All of This 10 Future Evolution of ECM s Role In The Enterprise 11 Executive Summary Enterprise Content Management (ECM) has started to move beyond departmental deployments and into an important competence and infrastructural technology. This is especially true for large and mid-size organizations. There are several reasons to treat ECM as a core infrastructure: the compounding growth of content generated by business users the need to integrate that content within business processes the need to support increasing sophistication for business user content access and interaction the need to maintain governance and control over content to support regulatory compliance and preparedness for legal discovery. Another important driver toward enterprise standardization has emerged: the need to manage and serve integrated and trusted information in a way to unify or relate both structured and unstructured information. Jointly managing structured and unstructured information is known as Enterprise Information Management (EIM). The role of ECM related to EIM is a new and maturing competency for most enterprises, but best practices are emerging. Intended Audience This is the first whitepaper in a series designed to provide an understanding of the role of ECM in EIM and SOA and why it s important to your infrastructure. It can also serve as a foundation for you to begin an internal dialog with your business users and LOB decision makers about the direction of ECM technology and its role in the broader information management segment.

3 Page ECM s Evolution From Silos To Core Information Infrastructure During 2006 and 2007, companies saw the emergence of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) as a core information management infrastructure for large enterprises. ECM deals with managing unstructured information, commonly referred to as content. This content can consist of documents, reports, forms, and images, just to name a few. This content has historically been stored in multiple places, and is typically closely associated with one specific business function or type of task. As a result of this departmental, or task orientation, most content management solutions were built without awareness of the larger business. Further, most content management solutions were built and operated independent from other information management initiatives. This resulted in a proliferation of independent content stores, or repositories, that became silos of information with separate notions of who a customer is and a near total lack of metadata consistency between various parts of the business. Business Drivers For Change As organizations have worked through business optimization exercises, it is common that business users have struggled to gain an accurate view of information in context of their need. And they no longer care where the information is coming from whether it is an message, a document, an image or a transaction. This is the challenge for many organizations today as they ask: How do I pull together an accurate view of that information and deliver it in a trusted manner, ideally as a service? Whether you are dealing with a core business process or a core application, there is never just one information source. It is a combination of information being brought together, and the means to bring it together and deliver it is a service. The advantage of delivering information as a service is that there is one place to go to get the information you need within the key inflection points around the organization. As we have seen with some customers, like Wachovia, having information services available has driven huge increases in utilization. In Wachovia s case, they have seen a 50-fold increase in the number of requests for content, indicating that customers are being better served.1 This pays huge dividends for those organizations moving down the path of service orientation.

4 Page All of the information, whether it is for the customer, partners or employees, needs to be known and available. In order to truly get a 360-degree view of their customers, all their relationships and transactions, including these s, memos and contact notes, needs to be made available, in the proper context. So, we are seeing that as organizations today consider their master data strategies, it is not just operational structured data that should be considered, but also what other information types will be needed to support the organization from a customer service perspective. Master Data Management This takes us into the area of what is known as master data. Master data management (MDM) is about the ability to maintain key referential information for aspects of the business such as customer, product, employee, partner, citizen or government agency and using that to deliver a trusted view of that information which can be used across all the systems for operational and collaborative purposes. Furthermore, it provides the basis of delivering operational Business Intelligence (BI). It is ironic that one of the most commonly defined attributes in master data management is often the most contentious. In the manufacturing sector, for example, a major manufacturing company could have five or more different representations of a part number. For those working in this sector, one of the biggest challenges is often: Give it a part number but which part number? Is this part number from supplier X, who insists that we always deal in their part numbers, or is it the engineering part number or is it the part number that our Kentucky truck plant insists that we use. In the finance sector, the issues often revolve around account numbers or customer identity. Then consider the issue of gaining agreement about what the data actually means. Take an address for example; it wouldn t be surprising if you asked dispatch what customer s XY address was. They might give a different address than what credit control might suggest. This is because a business might have a different address for delivery and another one for invoicing. The challenge is that in trying to say, Well, we are going to have a single customer address, one needs to understand that there might not be a definitive customer address. The important thing is to remember that many commonly used terms often mean very different things to different people within your organization. There is a parallel set of issues for other key entities, such as defining what is the customer. Even within an enterprise, there may be considerable differences. For example, within some large insurance companies, the definition of a customer is different in the retail line than the commercial line. And this is not limited to a pure discussion of the data attributes, but extends to the other forms of relevant information. While this may cover a lot about data from an operational BI perspective, there are also s, documents, and other rich forms such as images and sound.

5 Page The issue is that so many different applications manage their own portion of their siloed master data. If we start to integrate those applications into end-to-end processes, the question is where to pull the master data from, how to keep it consistent when it needs to change, and how to avoid the issue of a continuing decrease in the quality of master data as these inconsistencies perpetuate. And while these inconsistencies across multiple systems may impact the business, the bigger issues revolve about gaining a consolidated view of this customer s relationship across all the business and data silos. It is about knowing the entire relationship that the customer has with the business, how many products the customer is using, how many interactions the customer has had with the business and what the nature of these were. Master Data Management lies at the core of solving this problem from an operational standpoint (consistent management of the data during the process), from an analytic standpoint (insight into customer) and from a collaborative standpoint (consistent communication with the customer). What is really being talked about here is informational transformation, and not just data. It is about addressing information requirements on a higher level in terms of embracing different forms of information, enriching the quality of it and using that output to help orchestrate decisions within the organization. Master Content Management The last several years have seen the enterprise focus on ECM moving from traditional departmental and silo deployments to becoming a core infrastructure component and enterprise asset. Four key forces are driving organizations to adopt a strategic, enterprise-level approach to planning and deploying content systems. These forces include: the compounding growth of content generated by business users the need to integrate that content within business processes the need to support increasing sophistication for business user content access and interaction the need to maintain governance and control over content to support regulatory compliance and preparedness for legal discovery.

6 Page Treating ECM as a core enterprise infrastructure does not immediately dispel the need to deal with the disparate content sources typical of legacy departmental ECM implementations. We have seen content federation presented as the solution to that challenge, but unfortunately most of the industry today equates federation with search. Search and retrieval, while useful, is not the management of the content. As organizations have moved to a service orientation for the reasons outlined above, it has become even clearer that the management of the unstructured information not just the retrieval of it is needed to deliver the required information integrity. Just as in structured information systems, normalization of metadata is required when delivering unstructured information in a service orientation, and that is not possible when federation is constrained to a search model. For example, in order to deliver both an order history and view of a customer s interactions and satisfaction with their orders, you need to be able to relate all of their activity together. As with master data management, it is often the most basic attributes that will be the most contentious. It is common that each part of the business will have separate correspondence, business processes resulting from customer and supplier interaction and business policies that govern how unstructured information is handled. Master Content Manager (MCM) is required to unify all of those representations into a trusted information source that can deliver all the information necessary as a service to the people and applications that need the context.

7 Page MDM + MCM = EIM It is a given that information is one of the most valuable, if not the most valuable, asset in an organization. The importance of effective information management is only growing, and for many organizations, it has been the key source of their competitive differentiation. The challenge that most organizations are facing is that there has been no linkage between the structured and unstructured worlds of information management. Since the evolution of the database, data mining and ERP, CRM systems have largely been separate from the ECM market and there is little established framework or roadmap on how to go from silos based on information type to a an all-encompassing information architecture. IBM believes that to gain the benefits of increased agility, better operational insights, lower long-term TCO, server consolidation and greater IT flexibility, enterprises will have to ensure consistency of their information across business units and information types. In order words, they will need to get serious about Enterprise Information Management (EIM). The intersection of MDM and MCM is the first real step toward EIM. Using SOA services, the intersection of Master Data Management and Master Content Management can deliver contextual and consistent information services to delivery business insight and better decision making, as well as enable entirely new sets of applications.

8 Page 8 Gartner defines EIM as an integrative discipline for structuring, describing and governing information assets regardless of organizational and technological boundaries in order to improve operational efficiency, promote transparency and enable business insight. [1] EIM, done properly, requires breaking down the silos between structured and unstructured information. Doing that requires that Master Data Management and Master Content Manager intersect. Making the intersection of MDM and MCM actionable requires an SOA approach to information architecture. Consumers of information wishing to create or update the information, use a standard set of SOA business services, thus guaranteeing the integrity of the information between the systems under MDM and MCM control. The integration layer synchronizes the changes between the MDM and MCM systems and the underlying line-of-business systems. SOA - A definition A service-oriented architecture is a style of multi-tier computing that helps organizations share logic and data among multiple applications and usage modes. Roy Schulte, Gartner Group, April 1996 The primary goal of SOA is to more closely align business and IT in a way to make them both more effective. Technology now permits integration to take place at the level of business processes rather than down at the technical implementation level. SOA is expected to gradually replace monolithic architecture as the premier design approach for new business applications. Rather than hard-coding connections between applications, a services-oriented architecture exploits more flexible mechanisms such as Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Web services to exchange data. The advantage for businesses with this approach is that changes to an individual software module can be made without causing problems downstream. Service components can be developed using any programming language, implementation protocol or platform. This mode of development facilitates the delivery of business applications as a service accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere, using any platform. Several key principles of service-orientation provide a unique approach as to how this separation is performed and have become commonly accepted in the SOA industry. [1] (Gartner, Key Issues for Enterprise Information Management 2007)

9 Page These principles are as follows: Services share a formal contract Services are loosely coupled Services abstract underlying logic (are encapsulated) Services are composable (are modular) Services are reusable Services are autonomous Services are stateless Services are discoverable SOA & EIM - Entry Points IBM believes that there are four SOA entry points: People deliver role-based interaction and collaboration service Process Achieve business process innovation through treating tasks as modular services Information Provide trusted information in business context by treating it as a service Reuse Service-enable existing assets and fill portfolio gaps with new reusable services The first three entry points, People, Process and Information, are best approached from a holistic business perspective, where business processes are defined and implemented from the top-down. On the other hand, Reuse and Connectivity, employ a bottoms-up approach, where existing applications or resources are service-enabled. In the past few years, most SOA efforts have been largely focused in this area, essentially getting business-critical services available and published so they can be leveraged cross-functionally. This allows information to be freed up from the silos that have housed it. It allows the business user, the applications and business processes to get contextually correct information when and where it is needed. In other words, an SOA approach is an excellent fit with EIM and is enabled by the intersection of MDM and MCM.

10 Page 10 Which Brings Us Back To ECM s Role In All of This SOA is here to stay and will, when combined with EIM principles, transform how ECM is managed and consumed by enterprises. This diagram shows how ECM fits in to the SOA runtime environment where MDM and MCM concepts have been implemented. Starting at the bottom with the operational systems layer, we see the applications and information assets in the engine room of your environment. This layer forms the core of reuse. And when we say reuse, we re speaking of reusable elements of applications, content and data. Information and metadata about these reusable assets can be stored and managed in a registry. Moving up a layer, we see the services which can be combinations of application and information elements as well as services offered by external providers. The services provide the well-defined interfaces for the operational systems below them. That way, services can be mixed and matched into meaningful combinations without concern for what systems are actually performing the work.

11 Page 11 Above this, we have the business layer, which is primarily concerned with the business processes that comprise the day-to-day activities of the company. For example, a business process at a manufacturing facility could be incoming material inspection. This is an important intersection between SOA and ECM. Content-centric business process management now becomes the key tool for orchestrating the underlying set of services in combinations to meet the unique requirements of the business. Content is incorporated into many long-standing processes, particularly those that involve human decision making. Ultimately, the system needs to present information (structured and unstructured content) in the context of the business process in multiple, dynamic interfaces dictated by the roles and responsibilities of the users consuming the service. This could be a portal, a composite application, office productivity tool such as Microsoft Office, Lotus Notes, an LOB application, CRM or ERP application. Conclusion: Evolution of ECM s Role In The Enterprise Today AIIM defines ECM as; Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the technologies used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization s unstructured information, wherever that information exists. [2] What is not included in that definition is the role, or fit, of ECM into a broader information management architecture. The lack of broader context is consistent with the evolution of ECM technologies. ECM solutions started as purpose-built solutions, typically targeted at highly specific business problems that were contained operations. An EIM approach, enabled by a SOA-realized master data/content management capability, changes ECM s role in the enterprise. Properly linked to MDM, and service enabled by a SOA approach to information infrastructure, ECM working in concert with MDM can provide the first complete information infrastructure that combines data with its supporting new and historic content. An example of this would be purchase orders combined with all relevant content customer contracts, orderspecific and supply chain transactional data. This combined information set is delivered in the specific context a user or process requires, based on security access, role, history, and the task being executed. Since businesses need a single version of the truth, regardless of where information is stored or what format it is in, the key is that the information is timely, complete, accurate and in context. Establishing a single version of the truth is one essential element in delivering information on demand. The next level of business value and flexibility is achieved by applying analytic techniques that enable predictions to ongoing business needs. Further analysis can provide a series of recommendations or a prescription for actions that users or business [2] AIIM -

12 processes should take. This is the power of accurate, integrated information insight that enables appropriate and timely action. While ECM solutions can be impactful as they are, ultimately IBM believes that they need to be treated as core information infrastructure and related to the rest of the information assets being managed. Copyright IBM Corporation 2008 IBM Corporation 3565 Harbor Boulevard Costa Mesa, CA USA Printed in the USA All Rights Reserved. IBM and the IBM logo are trademarks of IBM Corporation in the United States, other countries or both. All other company or product names are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective companies. For more information, visit ibm.com/software/data/ecm [3] Wachovia improves business effectiveness with enterprise content integration solution, July 28, portfolio&cty=en_us

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