We changed our name from IT Central Station: Here's why

Read reviews of Informatica MDM alternatives and competitors

Lead Data Modeler - Enterprise Data Strategies and Services at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Good workflow models and pull-down lists with very good data modeling
Pros and Cons
  • "The data modeling is very good."
  • "The documentation needs improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We're using the solution for reference data, master data management. To basically implement data governance around the reference data.

One of the big initiatives is to capture all the information that the branch operations team is looking to capture. Or operational information or reference data. We're a credit union. We're like a bank. It's all about managing the data of the branches, and the ATMs, and some of the business partners that are at the branches.

How has it helped my organization?

There used to be a lot of handholding by ISD. This kind of solution gives control to either ISD or business units to do what they need to do. We don't have to play the game of telephone or do any handoff. We don't have to specify "Here's what I want" and then get it translated unnecessarily by the ISD people that don't understand the business.

That's why the business is entering the information. They're verifying the information for files or tables or whatever that aren't really controlled by that department. Then the ISD can kind of step in as custodians and handle some of that for them. Typical stuff like stuff that's sourced externally - like an ISO country table.

They don't want the department saying that there is such and such a country, and adding to the country table. We basically want to pull it from the internet, from the ISO International Standards Organization, and say, "These are the official, full list of countries and country subdivisions," which are states and provinces and such.

What is most valuable?

The data modeling is very good. It creates for you a GUI interface, which are the forms that the stewards would fill out to add or modify data. That works fairly well. 

I like the features of that, especially with regard to the product key relationships, which result in pull-down lists in the forms.

The workflow models are great. We use them a lot. It's text-based and you can basically add different kinds of steps right into the workflow. There are different parameters for each kind of step. 

What needs improvement?

It's a pretty steep learning curve, I find. And not really fluid and flexible. There is some graphical rendering of the workflows, however, you can't really develop them in terms of the graphical picture. Whereas a lot of BPM-type tools will give you that kind of capability.

The workflows need improvement. You need to develop, kind of conceptually, what you want. It's basically a web app generator, so there's a lot of magic under the covers. When you're trying to promote the changes through a version control system, it's hard to know what to expect as far as all the content. For example, if we were building and writing Java code, we would know what's changing. However, due to the fact that we're just putting in models and embedding some business logic in the models and such, it generates a web app, a job of whatever. It generates XML and some other stuff. And that's XSD. Then when you go and say, "Okay, let's push these changes," in Git or in Eclipse, et cetera, it's tricky to have a multi-developer environment where you're not stepping on each other a little bit. You're not as aware of the repercussions of your design changes.

The documentation needs improvement. It would be helpful to have more during implementation, for example. It would help make the initial setup more straightforward.

In a workflow, you can't set default values for certain columns, which would be nice.

If you're handy with Java, you can create your own services and such and do something there, however, it should be out-of-the-box functionality. If you have a generic system, you should be able to say, "Hey, this structure supports A, B or C." Yet, if you launch it, if department A launches it, assume that certain values are set to their preferences. As department D launches assume that the department is B and you know, certain values are set, et cetera. Otherwise, everybody comes in generically, and then they have to know more than they want to know.

There's this thing called replication. You could replicate the XML database to SQL Server on Oracle. That replication doesn't happen if you use certain features of the product. For example, with one of these features, you can do calculations or calculated fields. You could say it's X, then do a sum, et cetera. If you have a calculated field, you're not allowed to replicate it. It would be better if they could allow the replication, even if maybe they have to limit the functionality to those columns. 

There's an item called inheritance. You could say, I don't want to, if I asked for your name, I don't want to ask for your name three more times. So when I get to another file on the table, it's already there. It will carry information by inheritance, so you're not going to enter it wrong three different ways, however, once you have inheritance, you can't replicate. It would be better to ignore the inherited fields, just nix those columns, yet allow the table to replicate. Then you can have an SQL server go in and read the data in a relational way, which is very helpful to make it acceptable to developers and business analysts, et cetera.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for almost two years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We just recently ran into an issue in one of the test environments. The jury is still out on stability. It's been fairly good and pretty reliable. I believe I haven't seen the system come down on production really, other than when some of the teams involved make mistakes on rolling out the next deployment. It gets a little rocky if they don't know what they're doing, however, that's just an operations issue.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability may be somewhat limited. Basically, the application is designed to run on a single application here. You can have it hooked to various different databases. It works with Oracle or SQL Server. We implemented a SQL Server. SQL Server itself is not horizontally scalable. You can't add servers. They're just replications. It's good for high availability, however, not for scalability. That said, it also can run in SQL Azure, and SQL Azure in my understanding is scalable both vertically and horizontally.

The tool is not limited. On the database tier, the database isn't limited. It's only limited by your implementation choice. If we're in Oracle or SQL Azure, we can scale. For reference, data is probably not that relevant because it's relatively small volumes in the grand scheme of things.

However, for the application, if we rolled this out across the organization and had a lot of activity, we could get into potential trouble as you can't run with load balancing and such. You basically have an active-passive failover. You have some high availability and not the scalability of the applications. That could be designed in various ways. We haven't tried that yet.

We only have a handful of people who have access to the solution. They're either stewards such as subject matter experts or they are some kind of reviewers, approvers, overseers. There are also developers that are functioning like admins. There are two main departments that are using it currently.

How are customer service and technical support?

When it comes to technical support, most of the challenges have been at development time on production, and therefore we haven't really had much opportunity to test their response in a production outage situation.

However, in development, it's a lower bar. Sometimes we don't get a quick response. It depends on who is helping us, who's been assigned to support us. Some guys have been great and other guys are out of office and they don't seem to have anyone backing them up and we need to wait for them to return. We don't know what the answer is. Sometimes getting answers has been challenging.

The technical support is average, or slightly above. On a scale from one to ten, I'd rate them somewhere between five and seven.

We had a contact that was really good and then, after the acquisition, when Orchestra sold to TIBCO, TIBCO started migrating some of their functionality to direct with some of their other products. Things shifted a bit and after they were solidified, with COVID, they've cut resources and we've ended up losing one of the good resources that was giving us pretty good answers to technical challenges.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We didn't really use a different solution previously. For data governance, we used some homegrown stuff, basically. We're still doing that in some areas.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup can be a challenge due to the fact that there is not enough examples to model after. There isn't enough documentation to go off of. 

They gave us some templates and things to work from, and that helped those artists. We also had to dumb down some of the templates and start from almost scratch to kind of get the workflow actually working. It would be great if there were some standard items to work off of. It would be nice if there was a bigger community where you could share ideas with other customers about the product.

The deployment took a while. We were refocused three times on different aspects. Then there were multiple organizational changes, department changes, et cetera. The first production implementation took almost a year. After that, we've probably handled seven or eight subsequent releases.

We're rolling out to different groups more frequently. It's not just the branch shops. We've done some things for other teams as well. In general, it's been a year and a couple of months.

For maintenance, right now, we're down at two or three developers. 

What about the implementation team?

We didn't really solicit any outside help. The implementation was handled by employees and our internal consultants, and not any kind of system integrator. Everybody on the project kind of learned from the ground up. It would have been nice if we have here an implementation team that some third-party ran. It would help to have outside help from a company that was familiar with the product and the process. However, that wasn't available.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

While my understanding is that the solution is on the less expensive side, I can't describe the actual costs. We do pay an extra fee that covers upgrades and support. While that may have been included in the original cost, it may have to be renewed every year.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated a few different options. We looked at Teradata, which has some kind of reference data management. We looked at Informatica MDM. We looked at Collibra, which is more of a governance tool than an MDM tool. We may have looked at an Oracle tool as well.

In the end, we felt technically this product had more robust data modeling capability, especially for the foreign key referential integrity.

Collibra is very atomic. It'll handle a lot of reference tables. However, there was no referential integrity plus no relationships between tables and stuff. That was pretty much non-existent.

What other advice do I have?

We aren't using the latest version of the solution. We're a few minor versions behind.

There are some questions coming up, of what our direction is going organizationally. There are some new directions that may include moving to the cloud from on-premises.

That could have an impact. There's also an appetite for high availability and scalability and all of that as we are a very large organization. On the other hand, some of the competition that is using the same tool, are some of the really big banks and such. There are other organizations, other financial institutions that use it. Their typical complaints are concern over scalability but they're using it, so it's not so surmountable.

The advice I give to others is if it's the first time you're doing data governance, you're not just implementing what you're doing manually today. You want to improve the process. There has to be some practice and awareness of the process design and the rules about governance.

I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Independent Software Consultant at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
Top 5Leaderboard
Great user interface, very good documentation, and offers excellent pricing
Pros and Cons
  • "Their documentation is excellent."
  • "They need to make the workflow more enhanced or dynamic in its functionality."

What is our primary use case?

One use case was mastering client data. I did the installs and a proof of concept for both Profisee and Semarchy side-by-side so that I could showcase the different features of each tool for the client, to guide them to a decision on which product to buy. That use case would have been mastering personal data in the support of a non-profit.

How has it helped my organization?

For this client, they were most excited about Semarchy over Profisee and Informatica. Informatica was kind of out of the running because it was too expensive for this client. We eliminated them early. However, between Profisee and Semarchy, the end-user was more excited about Semarchy, even though Profisee won the end battle. The reason that they liked Semarchy was that the interface was so easy and it was very non-technical. They were all early childhood education end users. They wanted something really simple and unintimidating, and Semarchy offers that.

What is most valuable?

Semarchy offers very good ease of use. The ease of installation and maintenance are also great.

I love their interface. I love the fact that all their features can be implemented out of one client interface. That is wonderful, as one of the things about Informatica is that you've got to go to the administrator tool to do all the backend stuff. That's fine, however, then you've got to do all your data quality stuff through your analyst tool. That's a lot of bouncing around. I love the fact that in Semarchy, you can install it very quickly. You can get it up and running, and you can do a quick proof of concept really fast. 

They're the cheapest of all three of the products that I helped the client evaluate. You get a big bang for the buck with Semarchy.

I love the fact that their APIs were really easy to build straight from that single interface. I love that. 

Their training, their online training is fantastic.

Their tech support is the best out of all three of the solutions I've looked at - including Informatica and Profisee.

Their documentation is excellent.

What needs improvement?

They need to make the workflow more enhanced or dynamic in its functionality. That was the tiebreaker between Profisee and Semarchy - the client had a SQL server development environment and they could do a lot of stuff using the SQL server SDK to do complicated dynamic workflows. With Profisee, it wasn't impossible, however, it was a little bit more complicated to do. Semarchy is working on making it possible. I almost don't want to even say that that would be room for improvement, as I know that they're working. They may have already solved it. 

They could put a little bit more energy into out-of-the-box reporting. That was one of the things that I saw in Profisee that wasn't even really marketed that much. I wasn't even looking to their reporting features until I implemented it. At that point, I was like, "Oh my gosh, look at all this out-of-the-box data quality reporting that's going on! I don't have to necessarily go out and build all these reports from scratch." I was pleasantly surprised to see that in Profisee. I don't know that Semarchy has put the energy into that. They may have, but it certainly not to the extent that the other solution did.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for about a year and a half.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. I would give it a highly favorable rating.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I don't know about scalability. We didn't put that to any kind of test. In my experience, I never put it through any kind of test to see if it could handle millions and millions of rows. 

However, part of that is dependent on how well you have your database, your operating system, and all those other infrastructure pieces tuned. To me, it seems like the tool would handle scaling okay. That said, it's not like I have tried to do any kind of stress testing on it. 

As far as the scalability capability in terms of being able to handle multi-domains, business use cases, and everything, it's very scalable and extensible. You start off with your data model and that's pretty much unlimited. You build the data model and you go from there. There aren't any constraints on that. I would give it a high score on that. I feel that it's very scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is excellent for this product. We're very satisfied with the level of service they provide. It's even better than Informatica's or Profisee's.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I also use solutions such a Profisee and Informatica.

I'm always dabbling with solutions, as I've got VMs and I'm always practicing with the installs and trying to keep up with the new features that they're incorporating into their offering. I stay in touch with each solution's technical team.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not complex at all. It's very straightforward. I'd give it a grade of ten out of ten. 

While it's really easy in the cloud, it's a little bit more complicated on the on-prem deployment, however, even that was really easy. In fact, when I did my evaluation for the client, I gave Semarchy an A++ on the standing up the tool.

In terms of deployment, Profisee is very tightly coupled with the SQL server. Therefore, one of the things that was good with Semarchy is that they weren't so tightly coupled with the database. They'll run easily on SQL server or Oracle or Postgre. That is a positive feature for Semarchy.

What was our ROI?

I'm just going to say that since they have the lowest price point and the quickest time to get something up and running, they're always going to show a return on investment. I can't give exact figures as the use case was for a non-profit and they didn't choose Semarchy in the end. I can't say, "yeah, they developed this ROI on the purchase," as they didn't purchase it. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing of the solution is excellent. It costs less than Informatica and Profisee.

What other advice do I have?

I'm not sure which version of the solution I'm using.

While I typically use the on-premises version, I took their partner training workshop a few months ago and that was in the cloud on AWS.

It is one cool little tool. I was able to take a handful of records as a use case and easily ingested them into the tool, and the customers just loved it. I was able to show how you can easily cleanse those records, standardize those records, match them, and build the golden record very quickly.

I'd advise users to pick a small use case, take it end to end, and build it out that way as a proof of concept. Have fun with it, however, be sure to start out small. Pick the low hanging fruit. I hate saying that, as it sounds so cliche and overused. That said, it really works. You can really have fun with Semarchy, due to the fact that you can build something very quickly. I loved it.

What we would do is, we would have a use case that was like a story about a handful of customers that we wanted to master. We would start off with our little animated presentation, then we would get everybody on a Zoom call and we would walk them through. We'd say "Okay, now we're going to ingest the records. Now, look, see, we can see how X is in here five different times. Let's look at her addresses. Now, let's pick the key fields that we want to use as our match criteria. Etc." 

If you make it fun with the client and bring the client on board, it really gives you the best chance for success. Building those relationships with the data stores, with the different product owners and everything is so important. Otherwise, the client is going to be intimidated and scared, and they'll end up spending a lot of money and it'll sit on the shelf.

Overall, I would rate the solution eight out of ten. To take it to a 10, they would have to, for example, put in dynamic workflows and then improve their reporting to make it a little bit more out-of-the-box. Other than that, it's excellent.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Independent Software Consultant at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
Top 5Leaderboard
Great ability to support workflows, excellent out-of-the-box usability, and very good documentation
Pros and Cons
  • "The product is able to utilize the SQL server toolkit and it has tight integration with the SQL server."
  • "The way training is laid out in their Profisee University, makes it really, really hard to find what you need fast."

What is our primary use case?

The client wanted a way to master their clients, which were within a foster care system. The solution would be used for a client that would be a foster care student.

How has it helped my organization?

I felt that their ability to support workflow was really good and this client really needed that as they needed to be able to manage the mastering of those clients through their stewardship cycle. Profisee did a good job with that. 

What is most valuable?

I was really impressed with their out-of-the-box data quality reporting features. There's a lot that they have out of the box that is very, very useful. In some of the other tools, you're on your own when it comes to building the reporting features, although all of the MDM vendors are making that piece more robust. However, I thought that Profisee did a really good job with that.

The product is able to utilize the SQL server toolkit and it has tight integration with the SQL server.

The solution offers lots of good training, including videos, to help you learn aspects of the product. They have all those modules that offer web training. Experts get up and they talk and there are class discussions, and they show you the demos of everything.

What needs improvement?

Profisee needs to better highlight data profiling. At least when I was using this a year ago, the features for data profiling were buried. In other words, they don't pull it out as a key feature, and it really should be. Often, that whole life cycle phase is overlooked, the data profiling aspect.

One of the strengths, like being able to utilize the SQL server toolkit and it's tight integration with SQL server, can be a disadvantage too, as there are some things that they pushed down to the database that makes it difficult when trying to figure out where and how you achieve that functionality. It's buried in the database functionality or in one of the database tools for SQL Server. They need to make it more clear and bring it out more effectively.

If you were to compare it to Informatica, that's where Informatica does a really good job in their tool suite. They've got their whole platform and each one of the tools, they spell out exactly what they do. Even though there is some overlap in functionality, you know what the best practice is and where to do what.

The way training is laid out in their Profisee University, makes it really, really hard to find what you need fast. They'll have these one-hour long video clips and you need to fast forward or rewind to find the actual useful details. There's an index that allows you to just jump to the correct information. That is very frustrating as a developer that needs the information. You can't find the information fast for support at all. They need to be able to articulate their training into something that is searchable. Online training that is text-based and not just buried in a super-long video. A product like SUMADI is a great example of training done right.

When I left that client, I really wanted them to put more emphasis on profiling. I'd have to go back out there to their website and see if they actually have anything of that nature. It wasn't obvious to me, even their best practices with profiling. In Informatica, profiling isn't overlooked at all. In Profisee, it seems it might have been. I'd like more emphasis placed on the tool if possible.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for a year and a half at this point.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. It's a reliable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution can scale very well. It's so tightly coupled with the database platform and you've got somebody that is managing your SQL Server environment. They're going to be able to take on managing the growth of that software tool as well.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent. I'm quite satisfied with the level of service provided.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I've used a few different solutions such as Informatica and Semarchy.

There are certain things in our tool evaluation between Semarchy, Profisee and Informatica where I thought that Semarchy was the easiest one to stand up with and get it up and running really, really fast. 

If you have users that aren't really technical, then Semarchy is the way to go. If they don't need very sophisticated workflow functionality, Semarchy is a lot cheaper and you can get it up and running right away. Their ability to support REST APIs is really, really simple. So in that way, Semarchy wins. 

I've found, for example, that while Profisee's ability to support workflow was really good, Informatica was even better at that aspect. There are other things like profiling and data quality stuff, Informatica beats everybody hands down.

How was the initial setup?

I'd rate the initial setup at a six out of ten. It's not straightforward, or too complex. If you compare it to a solution like SUMADI, that's quite straightforward, and this is more moderate in the level of difficulty. Some tasks flow nicely and in other areas, you struggle.

It wasn't cohesive. Looking back, there were some things in the DBA that were being a little bit cantankerous, and that was hard to communicate with the client sometimes. Installing and configuring it was not straightforward. They could do a better job if I'm trying to be fair and honest with them. They could do a better job and have a more comprehensive install guide for their product.

There may have been issues associated with the APIs and stuff you had to do on SQL Server. You just had to spend too much time chasing things. 

There are videos, whoever, that cover large aspects of the implementation that are helpful. I'd take screenshots at key points in the video and that would help me figure out what to do. Still, it would be helpful to have a search feature within the videos, so that you could go to the exact spots you needed more easily.

What was our ROI?

The client is doing really well. In fact, they've been published in several IT magazines for their efforts, and also for their Data Cleansing efforts and their Data Stewardship. They've learned how to use the product already. They're comfortable with it. They are in an effort to monetize some of their functionality, and they're a non-profit, so they're doing a lot of really cool things and they're doing a great job with everything. I'm very proud of them.

What other advice do I have?

We handle many aspects of the solution, including initially handling the tool evaluation and then installing it and doing proof of concepts, build-outs, and training of the client.

I'm not sure of which version of the solution we're using.

I'd advise new users to just have fun with it. Master Data Management can be a daunting endeavor. Just take small use cases, and do a proof of concept and take it end to end. That is the best way to be successful. And we made it fun with the users. We would start off with a little animated video as those in the Foster care system are into early childhood development. We showed them a small use case and we walked them through the process. In the end, we just had a lot of fun.

Our biggest lesson was learning how to gain the trust of our client community, especially if they're non-technical. Learning how to gain their trust and make it fun was huge. It's so daunting and typically clients are more concerned about their daily jobs. If you can gain their trust and make it fun they don't resent the process. They got excited and so did we. Just that trust, that initial trust component is key. 

Overall, I would rate the solution eight out of ten. The only thing they really need to do is to fix the online training so that users can zero in on specific areas a bit easier. Indexing the videos would go a long way towards solving this one issue.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Project Manager at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
A robust solution with an intuitive UI, but it needs more flexibility

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution is centralizing and mastering the data. It is also used for centralizing the data between your administrator and customer.

What is most valuable?

The most important features are the mastering of the data and the UI intuitiveness. I find this solution to be the most efficient, immersive, and robust. Also, they have a feature map that is flexible and robust.

What needs improvement?

They need more feature flexibility, as it is not fully developed.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for approximately 11 to 13 months.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not contacted technical support. We have a team in our company for support and maintenance.

What

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution is centralizing and mastering the data. It is also used for centralizing the data between your administrator and customer.

What is most valuable?

The most important features are the mastering of the data and the UI intuitiveness.

I find this solution to be the most efficient, immersive, and robust.

Also, they have a feature map that is flexible and robust.

What needs improvement?

They need more feature flexibility, as it is not fully developed.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for approximately 11 to 13 months.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not contacted technical support. We have a team in our company for support and maintenance.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is implementing this solution is to see the business needs and the requirements.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.