At its Ignite IT Pro conference in September 2018, Microsoft made a big deal out of a new Open Data Initiative (ODI), which Microsoft launched with two other of its partners: Adobe and SAP. Today, March 27, Microsoft announced some other companies who'd be joining in via an ODI Partner Advisory Council.
The first 12 companies joining the ODI Partner Council are Accenture, Amadeus, Capgemini, Change Healthcare, Cognizant, EY, Finastra, Genesys, Hootsuite, Inmobi, Sprinklr and WPP . Microsoft officials said they're continuing to recruit and add additional ODI backers.
During last year's Ignite unveiling of ODI, officials shared next-to-no real details about ODI. In a separate Ignite session, however, Microsoft did reveal a bit more about some of the components and plans for ODI. Officials said to expect Microsoft's Common Data Model (CDM) to become part of the ODI and to help provide unified schema and semantics, giving customers a better chance of achieving the Holy Grail: A single view of the customer.
Other likely pieces of ODI will include Azure Data Lake and various Azure data services, such as Azure Data Factory, Azure Databricks, Azure Machine Learning and Azure Data Warehouse. Adobe and SAP previously had committed to making Azure their preferred (though not exclusive) cloud platform. (In Microsoft's March 27 press release about the new partner council, officials said that data could be stored in a "customer-chosen" and unified data lake, rather than saying Azure Data Lake would be the only option.)
Microsoft officials said that "in the coming months" they would deliver "a new approach for publishing, enriching and ingesting initial data feeds from Adobe Experience Platform, activated through Adobe Experience Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Office 365 and SAP C/4HANA, into a customer's data lake." Microsoft and its ODI partners say this infrastructure will allow users to take advantage of "a new level of AI and machine learning enrichment."
Microsoft officials also disclosed today that Unilever is an example of a mutual customer which has "express(ed) support and excitement about the ODI."