Kalido recently introduced version 9 of its Information Engine product. The company has been around for 10 years but has had difficulty establishing its identity in the information management market. Kalido was perhaps ahead of its time, partly a vendor of data integration, partly master data management and partly data governance. As an example of the positioning challenge, its core product, Information Engine, while not a data integration tool, could in some cases provide sufficient capabilities to meet an organization’s data integration needs. Its real value, however, comes from authoring and management of information about the user’s data warehouse.
Information Engine introduces an abstraction layer that separates the physical design of a warehouse from its logical design. Its repository holds information about the data model used in data warehouses and data marts, as well as the associated processes of managing the warehouse life cycle. This includes information about measures, hierarchies, aggregates, change management routines, security and auditing. By looking at the data warehouse as a process rather than a physical implementation of a data model, Kalido can help organizations manage processes that enhance data governance. For example, workflows with approvals and audit trails are a natural by-product of this process-based approach.
With version 9, Kalido continues to speed up data warehouse implementations. It pushes more of the processing down into the underlying database, which supports extract, load and transform (ELT) processes rather than the more conventional extract, transform and load (ETL). Doing more processing in the database using ELT eliminates the need to move the data twice: once to a transformation engine and then again to the data warehouse. The key change to support ELT in the new release is the introduction of staging tables, where data can land and be transformed before being loaded into the appropriate data warehouse tables. Version 9 also has more data integration features and additional testing capabilities.
Kalido also offers master data management (MDM) capabilities across multiple domains, derived from the process-driven approach of Information Engine. Kalido MDM provides separate interfaces for data stewards as well as users of the master data. Data stewards, who oversee the master data processes, can define and perform data matching, identity resolution, validation and publication. Kalido provides connectors to Trillium and DataFlux software for external data validation and claims to be building them for products from others. Users of the master data can search through it, browse the data model and issue change requests.
The most interesting aspect of the company’s process-driven approach is the ability to capture and apply data governance policies. As information management capabilities mature, organizations can focus more attention on data governance. Kalido has recognized this opportunity, and while for years its messaging has included data governance, only last year did it introduce Kalido Data Governance Director as a separate product. Data Governance Director uses a policy management metaphor in which organizations define their data governance policies as well as metrics to measure whether the policies are being enforced. Our benchmark research into data governance found that designing and maintaining policies and rules was the top objective for data governance in 75 percent of organizations and a current lack of satisfaction with current approaches. The research also found that a lack of sufficient policies was one of the top barriers towards a single version of data to leverage across the enterprise.
We are currently conducting benchmark research on trends in information management to help us understand whether interest in data governance has risen, and to determine the relative priorities of other information management processes, including master data management, data integration and data quality. I expect we’ll see rising interest in data governance, which could bode well for products such as Kalido’s Data Governance Director.
One of the challenges Kalido still faces is communicating its positioning clearly to the market. Information Engine 9 includes data integration features that make Kalido more competitive, yet the company does not attempt to compete directly in the data integration market – nor do I think it should. I would prefer to see more partnerships with those vendors, which would allow Kalido to focus where it can add the most value: managing the processes associated with data warehousing. In particular, Data Governance Director represents a unique approach that’s worth exploring. Even if your organization isn’t ready to purchase the product, you can probably learn something useful about data governance that you can apply to your own processes.
David Menninger – VP & Research Director