Data solutions provider Innovative Systems has been pursuing an aggressive plan to grow and expand the role its technology offerings can play in the enterprise. Synchronos® Master Data Management (MDM), for one thing, is moving along on its journey to become the base of all the vendor’s product lines. “Think of it as the platform that houses our Data Quality, MDM, and compliance [solutions],” says Michael Ott, SVP at the company.
Already, Innovative Systems’ FinScan Risk & Compliance product for anti-money laundering resides on the platform, and Enlighten, its Data Quality tools, are heading in the same direction. That way clients can get benefits in combination, depending on what they need, Ott says, while noting that the systems still will be available for individual purchase, as well. Customers will be issued license keys that let them turn on the different product capabilities as needed.
Building on the Core
At the same time, the company has been growing Synchronos’ MDM features-set. As Ott explains it, Innovative is making it possible for groups in enterprises to leverage Master Data Management beyond being an investment in centralizing information to drive certain big picture business functions, such as better customer lifecycle management. That’s big, of course, but there’s also opportunity to extend MDM functionality for end users in various departments to do their day-to-day jobs. “We’re extending the platform to make sure that end users redoing their business processes have a functional way to do that,” he says. “In addition to having clean and trusted data.”
FinScan is the first example of that. The product came about as a result of clients using the company’s Data Quality tools and adapting them to fulfill specific screening needs against external watch lists (sanctions, for instance). “So the idea of pushing our products out further to end users is something we’ve done before,” Ott says.
Now, in the financial sector, it is extending the Synchronos platform to support specific needs around Risk Management. So, in addition to gaining better centralized data, employees working in the industry can also gain better aggregated data at the customer, household or other levels that’s required to inform the calculations they must make when doing risk models for their processes. Innovative clearly has a firm footing in the risk and compliance field with FinScan, and its expertise in Risk and Data Management together intersect within its Synchronos Risk 360 system to support application needs to use the highest quality data to automate operations and build accurate reports fast while complying with regulations resulting from Dodd-Frank, Solvency, Basel, and others.
Similarly, the company offers Synchronos Marketing 360 for processes to enable more accurate and informed marketing organization analytics; Synchronos Sales 360 for being able to work with a clean, consolidated, accurate, and synchronized view of customers, prospects, and others to avoid relying on faulty data for sales-related workflows; and, Synchronos ERP 360 for keeping Data Quality and Data Management at the forefront of these initiatives, which rely on multiple sources of information rather than a centralized master repository.
In one example of a call center marketing operation doing list integration to sell others’ products, there is the challenge of making sure incoming list data is clean and not duplicative of names already purchased – but marketing users also need the functionality to do analytics to produce dashboards and reports for the call center to fuel sales. “That’s an example of functionality beyond Master Data Management and one that is meant to put in the hands of business end users,” Ott says. While IT could develop such a solution for those users, that’s time consuming. Another option might be to buy a solution that incorporates such a capability along with a host of other functions marketing doesn’t need – but generally that leads to paying too much for more than is required.
“It’s more cost effective to say that you have the data and your end users just need five screens to display the information this way, to query it and get certain information and reports,” Ott comments. “It’s a more efficient way to provide end users functionality versus the other alternatives so they can get their jobs done.”
The four areas mentioned, “Are the ones we are focusing on more because they seem to bubbling to the surface as the most in demand,” Ott says. It’s a growth area with opportunities ahead. “Often MDM deals with particular parts of organizations that some end users are not in touch with,” he says. “As we fan out more in organizations and they come to understand these capabilities, we can be more efficiently put in place.”
Putting Master Data Management to Work
The Synchronos platform also will be a beneficiary of the work Innovative Systems has been putting into Enlighten. This suite of tools in its latest release, due mid-year, has gained the ability to deal with a wider array of structured and unstructured data across a variety of different domains, Ott notes. Enlighten’s roots are in a product formerly called i/Lytics, a line with a large knowledge base set that has come about as a result of Innovative Systems’ having processed clients’ data since the late 1960s. Ott says that Enlighten gains from i/Lytics’ capability to rapidly and accurately process data at a 99.5% level or higher out of box, “That set of assets, those knowledge bases we apply, will combine with the new flexibility inherent in Enlighten,” he says.
Enlighten is a ground-up revision that, “Helps us tackle any kind of data, process data faster, and support the domains of data that our clients have.” Within Enlighten users will find customizable and comprehensive capabilities for data profiling, discovery, and monitoring; data cleansing; data matching; address validation and geocoding; data enrichment; data integration and data migration; real-time Data Quality; and web services/API integration, according to the company.
All the moves that Innovative Systems is making are part of its approach to helping clients get the best business results from Master Data Management projects – the highest accuracy at the lowest cost in the shortest timeframe. The reason organizations think about MDM in the first place is generally to enable business process improvements, but admittedly even interested business peers tend to have some hesitancy about investing in the technology. They may fear that strong returns are out of reach because of past experiences where time and cost overruns were the norm. “That causes risk in the minds of business sponsors,” he says.
To that end, Innovative Systems has designed an approach based on: planning and preparation, from interviews down to analysis of full datasets in a simulated implementation to surface, and drive out issues that would otherwise rear their heads in a real production effort; to implementation and integration, where you execute on the plan and implement MDM in ways that minimize risk and maximize time, cost and resource savings; to extending Master Data Management to enable specific business use cases like the ones mentioned above.
“With Synchronos you can get the foundation done rapidly and accurately and then think about whatever you’d like to do next a few months later,” Ott says. “That makes Master Data Management smaller and more cost-effectively done.”
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