Kalido’s Master Data Management Approach Suits Big Companies
- By John K. Waters
Managing data across a highly diverse organization with operations around
the globe is a challenge. With operations in more than 140 countries, and more
than 112,000 employees, the Royal Dutch/Shell Group provides a good example
of such large-scale data management.
At the core of the company’s data management are three conditions common
to very large companies: a significant spread of operations with very complex
data, autonomous business units with different views of that data, and continual
“It’s a hugely dynamic environment with a great deal of complexity
and multiple views of the data,” says Cliff Longman, CTO of data management
company Kalido. “We’re talking about more than a thousand separate
operating legal entities and significant movement in the corporate structure,
the product structures, and along the delivery chain.”
If Longman is especially familiar with data management at Royal Dutch/Shell:
His company was born there.
“Shell funded a bit of practical research that led to an innovative approach
to implementing data in standard databases,” Longman explains. “We
produced a pilot that was implemented successfully in the Shell community. But
it was clear from the beginning that Shell wasn’t the only company on
the planet to have these problems.”
And Shell wasn’t in the software business, and never wanted to be, Longman
says. “From day one, we took the view that we would build a separate software
company, incubated within Shell,” he says.
The pilot project was implemented in 2001, and a separate company spun off
in 2003. Today, Kalido is a provider of adaptive enterprise data warehousing
and master data management software, primarily to large enterprises. Shell is
a major customer, but so are Unilever, BP LPG, Cadbury Schweppes, Owens Corning,
Philips Consumer electronics and Labatt Breweries of Canada.
The name of the company (pronounced kuh-LIE-doe) comes from the concept behind
the kaleidoscope. “It reflects the way our software works,” Longman
explains. “You have lots of little tiny pieces of data that you get to
see as a pattern when you use the software.”
Kalido’s software is designed to provide a consolidated view of corporate
performance without requiring standardized operation systems. Its flagship Kalido
8 product is an application suite for managing master data and automating the
creation and lifecycle management of adaptive enterprise data warehouses. Master
data refers to information on subject areas such as customers, brands, suppliers
and financial indicators. Master data management applications analyze this data
to gauge enterprise-wide performance in areas such as global sales, sales by
individual customers and total spending with a single supplier.
Customers use the software to manage common business definitions for master
data within a workflow-driven, Web-based repository. This repository is used
for corporate performance reporting and analysis, circumventing the need for
standardization of operational systems. Kalido 8 also allows users to publish
and distribute golden-copy master data, so that business people and operational
systems can share the common definitions. And it keeps a history of changes
made to master data over time to support trend analysis and audit trails.
Release 2 of the Kalido product was announced last month.
Mike Schiff, analyst at Current Analysis, says Kalido 8 should appeal to companies
that need to be able to change their business models proactively, whatever their
size. “[Kalido] was one of the first vendors to recognize the advantages
of using a data warehouse to manage and distribute master or reference data,”
Kalido hasn’t been away from the incubator long—it just moved its
UK offices from digs within Royal Dutch/Shell this year—but the company
is already in the process of establishing a presence in the U.S. For more information,
go to: www.kalido.com.
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached