Nel giugno scorso Microsoft ha annunciato l'acquisitizione di Startature, un'azienda specializzata in tecnologia MDM (Master Data Management).

MDM, così come descritto sul sito dedicato, è la tecnologia di riferimento per Microsoft per la gestione strutturata dei dati, archiviati su media differenti e elaborati dalle differenti applicazioni.

Occupandomi di SharePoint sono particolarmente sensibile a questi argomenti, pensando alle tante soluzioni di document management, records management, archiving, auditing, compliance e -non ultima- ricercabilità delle informazioni… balzano evidenti gli apparenti limiti di SharePoint come sistema unico di archiviazione delle informazioni.
Anche in recenti progetti mi sono trovato a dover gestire archivi multimediali, che non ha molto senso caricare in document libraries, né per ragioni di ingombro sui Content DBs (in SQL Server) né perchè non si necessita di molte delle caratteristiche avanzate delle document libraries, come ad esempio il versioning (anche perchè il versionamento comporterebbe la moltiplicazione dei file).

Questi campi di applicazione di MDM, giusto per comprenderne la portata nella gestione dei dati aziendali:

  • Unstructured—This is data found in e-mail, white papers like this, magazine articles, corporate intranet portals, product specifications, marketing collateral, and PDF files.
  • Transactional—This is data related to sales, deliveries, invoices, trouble tickets, claims, and other monetary and non-monetary interactions.
  • Metadata—This is data about other data and may reside in a formal repository or in various other forms such as XML documents, report definitions, column descriptions in a database, log files, connections, and configuration files.
  • Hierarchical—Hierarchical data stores the relationships between other data. It may be stored as part of an accounting system or separately as descriptions of real-world relationships, such as company organizational structures or product lines. Hierarchical data is sometimes considered a super MDM domain, because it is critical to understanding and sometimes discovering the relationships between master data.
  • Master—Master data are the critical nouns of a business and fall generally into four groupings: people, things, places, and concepts. Further categorizations within those groupings are called subject areas, domain areas, or entity types. For example, within people, there are customer, employee, and salesperson. Within things, there are product, part, store, and asset. Within concepts, there are things like contract, warrantee, and licenses. Finally, within places, there are office locations and geographic divisions. Some of these domain areas may be further divided. Customer may be further segmented, based on incentives and history. A company may have normal customers, as well as premiere and executive customers. Product may be further segmented by sector and industry. The requirements, life cycle, and CRUD cycle for a product in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) sector is likely very different from those of the clothing industry. The granularity of domains is essentially determined by the magnitude of differences between the attributes of the entities within them."MDM Overview

Naturalmente la prevista e possibile convergenza tra MDM e SharePoint/Office 14 lascia intravedere scenari estremamente interessanti, che rende facile immaginare nuove applicazioni di SharePoint.