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Comment Purisma has just announced version 2.0 of what used to be called the Purisma Customer Registry and has now been re-named the Purisma Data Hub. I can understand why it has dropped the "customer" from its name, as it also supports suppliers, patients, and so forth but I am less happy about the use of the term "hub".

Purisma has opted to use the term "hub" because the Gartner Group classifies master data management solutions into either registries, which are very narrowly defined, or as hubs. Now, Purisma certainly does more than a registry so it is therefore more or less forced to call itself a hub, but I think this is misleading.

The company is certainly not promoting the sort of approach that is characterised by the Oracle Customer Hub, for example. These sort of big hub implementations typically take years to implement, whereas with Purisma you would expect to take weeks or possibly a few months at most.

Now, to be fair to Gartner it does have various sub-categories of hubs, but that doesn't help when you are trying to name your product. In my view there needs to be at least a third category - we call them repositories but it doesn't really matter what you call them - but there has to be something that is more than a registry and less than a hub.

Anyway, enough of nomenclature, what about the new features of the product? Well, I am very pleased to say that Purisma has taken the view that a "single view of the customer" is overly simplistic. Regular readers will know that I have been preaching about this for some time: that traditional approaches to "merge and purge" customer information (that is you merge all the records into a new, composite record and then throw away the old ones) is simply not good enough if you really want to understand your customers - that you need to understand how and when and where they buy. So, what Purisma is now supporting is that you can create a merged master record but keep (if you want to) unpurged original records.

Complementary to this, Purisma has extended its hierarchy capabilities. Put simply, this allows you to organise customer (say) hierarchies so that, for instance, you can understand how one operating division of a customer company relates to another. At the same time you can build your own views against these hierarchies.

So, for example, suppose you sell software. You might have some sales forces that market by geography while others are vertically focused by industry. These two groups would not want to view customer hierarchy information in the same way, so release 2.0 of Purisma allows you to set up such views according to the way you want to see your customers.

Of course, these are not the only new features in release 2.0; there are also new real-time synchronisation capabilities, extended Dun and Bradstreet integration, and support for what the company calls a right-sized data model (that is, you implement what you require initially and then evolve the model as your needs grow). However, for me the main interest is in how Purisma now treats the customers (or suppliers or whatever) in its "hub".

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