Details are just coming to light regarding Microsoft's entry into the world of Master Data Management through their acquisition of Atlanta-based Stratature several months ago. The product will be released to coincide with the next release of Office (Office 13), and will install as part of SharePoint. According to the Bulldog product roadmap, the dev team is working with many Microsoft products such as PPS, Dynamics, SharePoint, Excel and more to integrate the master data hub with those products. The stated goal is to have Bulldog remain almost identical to the Stratature +EDM product, with several enhancements aimed at improving the experience.
There is now a full product page at Microsoft, and Kirk Haseldon has updated his blog with some of the new details. From his blog, it sounds like the planning has turned to development, and we should start to see something tangible in February 2008 for TAP program members and other early adopters.
One exciting aspect of the product is hierarchy management within an enterprise. Taken directly from the product roadmap, here are some of the hierarchy scenario's that Bulldog will handle:
Master data contains a wide variety of hierarchies. The roll‐up hierarchies for accounts in a chart of accounts, the reporting hierarchy for employees, the organizational structure of a customer’s business, and categories of items in an item master are typical examples of hierarchies. These hierarchies are often hard coded into business systems or defined in a number of Excel spreadsheets. Hierarchies can be defined by attribute relationships: for example, city belongs to state and state belongs to region. These derived hierarchy relationships change whenever an attribute value changes. Hierarchies can also be defined as parent‐child relationships that may have an arbitrary depth along any path (ragged). The Stratature solution allows both types of hierarchies to be leveraged into a new derived hierarchy. The advantage of reuse is that it ensures that there is only one definition of the relationship at any point in time.
There is also extensive support for Business rules, workflow, flexible data models, etc.