Enhancing Data Governance with Oracle Data Relationship Management (DRM)

What is DRM?

Oracle Data Relationship Management (DRM) has established itself as a leading platform for effective management of dimensions, attributes, and other enterprise metadata. But what exactly is Oracle DRM, and how can we use it to optimize business intelligence, operational execution and performance management within our organizations?

Let us first start by further defining DRM. DRM manages metadata and business rules that are often needed in many systems and business processes in an organization. It is a tool that can be used to manage change, provide consistency, and reduce maintenance within these data structures. Beyond core metadata and hierarchy management, the functionality within DRM is particularly useful for organizations engaged in charts of accounts redesign projects, merger and acquisitions enablement, ERP integration and upgrades, and product and customer attribute management. Organizations that implement DRM to support their data governance efforts often achieve higher quality results at a lower total cost, while also providing flexibility for future growth.

Useful terminology

Some of the key terms associated with the product include:

Units of Storage:

  • Version: container for hierarchies, often called dimensions (highest level of organization)
  • Hierarchy: a set of relationships inside a version (parent child relationship)
  • Node: limb/leaf, member of the parent child relationship
  • Property: account type (e.g. revenue)

Methods of Integrating Data:

  • Import: text file load of nodes and/or relationships, using very specific asymmetrical file format
  • Export: output to file or relational table, selective deletes using hierarchy
  • Blender: allows us to compare and combine versions, which one wins and what is merged
  • Validation: batch or real-time rule checking, text string has specific length
  • Action script: bulk loading or bulk changing

Now that we’ve more clearly defined DRM and some of its relevant terms, let’s focus on how to use it to support business activities. In its most basic form, DRM provides an intuitive, interactive, browser-based environment for business users to enter and manage their hierarchies and attributes. DRM can also be modeled to allow for systematic input from many different sources, both Oracle and non-Oracle. Once content has been loaded into the tool, automated rules can be implemented to organize it, set properties, and perform validations. By minimizing the number of manual touch points required and enforcing common business logic, DRM leads to high quality, consistent dimensional metadata to be used by downstream reporting, planning, and other application processes (such as ERP, BI, EPM, and CRM).

What else can DRM do?

  • Create groups of properties that can be delegated for management to different groups
  • Enable alternate views of master data with consistency and accuracy
  • Deliver lights-out automation of high volume tasks
  • Provide users with auditing, workflow, and API capabilities
  • Support relational input and output
  • Enforce powerful data validations and mappings
  • Provide query, comparison, and rollback capabilities

What’s New to DRM?

DRM was recently expanded to include a new governance module called Data Relationship Governance (DRG). This module is a configurable workflow tool that provides for easier interaction between users and their metadata. DRG supports approval and alert processes in addition to business process-centric data input templates. DRG provides a powerful enabling technology that has the potential to significantly streamline and simplify the process of gathering and managing enterprise metadata content.

Useful tips to keep in mind when getting started

  • A newly created Version is floating in memory and not committed to the repository until you click SAVE. Navigate to Versions > Save (be sure to click save and look for the blue check mark).
  • The Action Script is a delimited set of fields in a text file that makes bulk loading content much easier for users and batch processes. Here’s an example: Changeprop | Version_Name | Hierarchy_Name | Node | Property_ Name | Property Value
  • Plan for the future and don’t leave source content behind – ask yourself what content you need to manage both today and tomorrow? Think about the long-term plan and find a home for that content.
  • It is crucial to organize properties into effective working groups that can be delegated to the people who understand them best.
  • Consider what property values can be inherited or controlled (if an account type can be sourced directly, you can eliminate manual key strokes and eliminate ineffective content).