Analyst Coverage: Daniel Howard
Syniti, until recently known as BackOffice Associates, is a worldwide software company with a 23-year history, offices in over 25 countries, and headquarters in the greater Boston area. The company offers solutions for data migration (historically, its primary focus), data governance, data quality, metadata management, and more.
Syniti Knowledge Platform
Last Updated: 14th July 2020
Mutable Award: Gold 2020
The Syniti Knowledge Platform is a unified solution for data governance and management with a variety of functions, such as data migration, data replication, data quality, master data management, and so on. Its focus is on providing every user in your organisation with access to a democratised library of data and knowledge assets that are presented and understood within an appropriate business context, and with the ultimate aim of tightly aligning your data governance processes with the business outcomes you want to achieve.
Particularly notable capabilities within the platform include Syniti DeepGuidance, which uses your data, metadata, and accompanying organisational knowledge and business context to guide user actions towards positive business outcomes; Syniti KnowledgeCapture, which captures technical knowledge within your system and presents it in simple, business-friendly language; and Syniti KnowledgeReuse, which allows you to reuse assets generated during data migration, such as business rules and ownership information, within your data governance processes.
“[Syniti]’s collaborative, customer-first approach and deep expertise were instrumental in helping us take our data quality standards to the next level.”
“From our first conversation with [Syniti] it was clear they understood our business need.”
The core of the Syniti Knowledge Platform is its knowledge graph, which contains both business and technical assets. In turn, your graph and its assets are accessed via the platform’s data catalogue. This allows you to view, edit and manage all of your assets, including strategic assets such as initiatives, strategies and goals; governance assets such as rules, policies and business terms; and, of course, data assets. Search access to these assets is provided (as shown in Figure 1), and all of them include a plethora of associated metadata, including related assets. For example, this could list associated business terms or applicable rules and policies. It could also contain business goals or strategies that the asset is contributing towards, or a business representation of the asset if it is primarily technical. In the latter case, the intention is that technical assets are linked directly to business assets that demonstrate what each asset does and why it is important.
Moreover, the assets within Syniti are democratised. All users are able to share their own descriptions or definitions for any business asset, and to comment on or endorse anyone else’s. In turn, each asset is equipped with a list of subject matter experts, or ‘sponsors’, who are responsible for curating their assigned assets, using these crowd-sourced suggestions and endorsements as a guide. When a user requests a change to an asset, the platform initiates an automated workflow that polls each of that asset’s sponsors for their opinion on that particular change. When and if a change wins majority approval, it can be implemented automatically.
What’s more, the Syniti Knowledge Platform understands assets within their business context. This consists of both identifying the relationships and connections between your assets and leveraging those connections to create business value, as evident within the product’s DeepGuidance capability, which uses machine learning to automatically and dynamically suggest improvements to your assets as you are viewing them. This could include suggestions for new business rules, acknowledgement and remediation of data quality issues, or detection of suspected – but undocumented – asset relationships, to name only a few examples.
For business terms in particular, natural language processing is employed to detect and highlight words or phrases that may represent additional, as yet undefined business terms. This is seen in Figure 2, along with several DeepGuidance suggestions. In turn, these terms can be referenced within business rules, which are written in natural language using business terminology. A given rule will also contain its written implications (in other words, its business meaning) as metadata, as well as an enforcement profile that shows where and how it is being enforced (for example, a data quality rule might link to its entry in your data quality solution). Policies operate in much the same way as rules, but as you might expect are much higher level. More importantly, terms, rules, and policies often act as connective tissue between your technical and data assets and your business goals and strategies, enabling you to understand precisely how the former relate to the latter.
The Syniti Knowledge Platform has a number of properties that make it very suitable for data governance. It allows you to consolidate and curate all organisational knowledge within a single platform, coaxing knowledge out of any silos that have built up and making it accessible to all; it enables technical assets and knowledge to be tightly coupled with business context and strategy, allowing you to ensure that they are contributing positively to business outcomes; and it does all this while encouraging collaboration, reuse, and understanding.
The collaborative capabilities that Syniti provides are particularly worth noting. As mentioned, the business terms, policies, and other assets within the platform are crowd-sourced. This means that everyone within your organisation will have the opportunity to help define them. This is a good thing, both for allowing your organisation as a whole to share understanding and knowledge of what your assets mean and how they are used in practice, and for allowing the users of a given asset to define it in the most useful possible way. What’s more, the fact that Syniti is not licensed on a per user basis means that your entire organisation will be able to participate in this process.
Syniti’s DeepGuidance capability is also notable: the ability to make AI-driven dynamic suggestions and recommendations across your entire catalogue is very powerful, both for promoting understanding and for driving positive change across the platform.
The Bottom Line
The Syniti Knowledge Platform prioritises the business value and the democratisation of your data and knowledge assets above all else. If you share these priorities – and there is every reason to – it is absolutely worth your consideration.
Mutable Award: Gold 2020