What are the next steps of the Open Data Initiative?

Microsoft, Adobe and SAP announced the ODI a year ago, but things seem to have calmed down lately. What is happening?

A year ago, at its Ignite 2018 conference, Microsoft stepped up its partnership with Adobe and SAP to form the Open Data Initiative (ODI). This year at Ignite, however, there was little mention of ODI, which surprised me since it was one of the biggest Microsoft announcements at its annual conference. Just a year ago.

I had the opportunity to speak with Richard Riley, senior director of marketing for the Power Platform platform and one of the Softies who was deeply involved in everything related to ODI. Riley says there is no problem with ODI, and a lot of things are going on behind the scenes.

Microsoft, Adobe and SAP announced the formation of ODI in the fall of 2018. In March 2019, Microsoft announced that a dozen other companies had signed up to be part of an ODI Advisory Committee. HP has also expressed interest in ODI (as a customer and not a contributor) since its inception. So, what do we do next? “We are developing a technical roadmap for our customers,” said Riley.

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Work on the metadata model

By the end of November, the ODI team plans to have technical assets to share with partners. They will get a draft of the specifications of the data model that Microsoft is building with Adobe and SAP. And a software development kit will allow them to interact with the abstraction layer that the team is building.

ODI’s founding team is currently working on the entity’s metadata model, which will allow partners to “decorate” their own data with ODI metadata, Richard Riley said.

On the side of Microsoft, the company is working on the sharing of Dynamics capabilities that should allow users to export rights and put them in an Azure database in ODI format. Microsoft is also ensuring that a number of its Azure services, such as Azure Data Factory, Azure Databricks, and Azure Synapse Analytics, recently launched by Azure, will be able to understand the ODI data structure.

What will Salesforce do?

Adobe and SAP, meanwhile, are working to integrate their own data and products into the ODI data structure. SAP is working to export data via the SAP Data Hub and its transformation models. Adobe is working on integration with products such as Adobe Clickstream data used by Adobe Analytics, for example, said Richard Riley.

A number of industry customers and observers have asked me when and if Salesforce, a Microsoft CRM competitor, will join ODI one day. One might think that last week, when Salesforce announced its intention to adopt Azure for its Salesforce Marketing Cloud , could have been a timely moment.

But so far, there is no indication that Salesforce intends to participate in ODI reindeer games at the same time as Dreamforce this week or in the near future.

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