Visionware is an unusual MDM vendor in that in has, until now, concentrated solely in the public sector, mainly UK local government. However, its technology is that of a regular MDM platform vendor, with a master data repository, its own data matching algorithms, hierarchy management facilities and links to data movement technologies.
Established in 1993, the company has been selling MDM software (MultiVue) since 2003, and has steadily built up a base of around 50 customers, such as a number of London borough councils, Fife police and the Cheshire NHS trust. The company has built is technology around the Microsoft platform, using SQL Server for its repository, and with a pre-built adaptor to Biztalk for data movement (it can also work with other EAI technologies such as TIBCO, and has been deployed in this way). It has developed its own data matching algorithms, using both deterministic and probabilistic matching, as well as having the ability to invoke further algorithms through its API. MultiVue is designed for deployment in a web services environment. Its hierarchy management capabilities are currently configured through a programmatic interface, but plans are in the works for a visual designer.
The master data hub is in nature multi-domain, though the vast majority of deployments so far have been around "customer" (or variants on this such as citizen, or patient). In some cases the deployments have moved beyond this e.g. Fife police not only has information about people in its hub, but also information such as who owns firearms licences, making it safer for police staff to visit addresses since they are forewarned if the person living there has a firearms licence. In the case of the London Borough of Lambeth, Multivue, in combination with a new CRM system, has allowed a single view of "citizen" from a previously much less coherent state. Now 30% of parking fines are settled electronically, and customers can easily access a range of council services and forms that were previously paper-based.
Visionware is a profitable company, and has decided that it is time to expand from its public sector base. It has developed partnerships with some UK systems integrators with the intention of breaking into the financial services and retail industries. In addition, and in a major step for the company, it has just opened its first overseas office, in Boston. The company has just signed up its first US four customers in quick succession, a major landmark.
2008 is a big year for Visionware, as it has two major initiatives it is dealing with simultaneously—its move outside the public sector in the UK, and it's opening a US office. One of these would be fairly ambitious, and it will need to expand its name recognition, especially in the US. At present it typically conducts its own implementations using its professional services staff, but in the US in particular it will need to develop partners if it is to scale. It will be interesting to watch its progress now that its first US customers are signed up.
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