Reltio Connect

 View Only

API-first Integration in Master Data Management: An Overview

By Matthew Gagan posted 07-17-2021 13:53


Customer data is everywhere. However, you can't fully leverage the power of data to deliver a seamless and relevant customer experience without the capabilities to connect the dots in real-time. For an updated version of this blog check out Leveraging Real-time Customer APIs for a 360-Degree View. 

Connected data is the key to thriving in today's experience economy. But how do you bring data from various sources together while delivering insights in the most appropriate format to business users, IT admins, data stewards, and data scientists to inform decision-making?

A cloud-native Master Data Management (MDM) platform, such as Reltio, allows you to consolidate and enrich millions of profiles from hundreds of data sources to drive hyper-personalization, accelerate real-time operations, and simplify compliance at scale. 

It helps ensure the uniformity, accuracy, stewardship, semantic consistency, and accountability of your organization's shared master data assets while allowing stakeholders to access the necessary information.

Our packaged capabilities leverage different layers in the system, namely, the MDM platform, the application programming interface (API) layer, and the UI /integration component, to provide useful experiences for each user group (e.g., administrators, data stewards, business users.)

But how does an MDM platform connect with all the data sources and ensure that users get the most updated information?

The secret lies in the API layer, which is the linchpin that ties all the systems and datasets together. For example, APIs allow you to run queries to obtain preferences, segmentation, etc., using datasets from different sources. This helps you understand your omnichannel buyer's journey status, and agilely support their needs.

In this 3-part series, we'll show you how an API-first approach to integration supports modern data exchange requirements. In this post, we'll start with an integration overview and introduce the most commonly used APIs. Then, we'll discuss how the Reltio Swagger API Developer Portal supports representational state transfer (REST) API testing and development.

In subsequent installments, we'll look at the use of API tools such as MuleSoft with Reltio, and some common questions related to such API-led integrations, then finally we’ll discuss streaming APIs, and how Reltio supports streaming data exchange.

Watch how the new Reltio Integration Hub  can help you solve your business problems without writing code: 

API-first Integration in Master Data Management Platforms: An Overview

All data and functionality in the Reltio MDM Core are exposed via an extensive layer of APIs, including interactive REST APIs for data operations, workflows, configuration, and administration, and Streaming APIs for event notifications.

Reltio delivers functional components that are built on top of this layer, such as the Data Stewardship Web UI, the administrative Console Web UI, Data Loader, Exporter, the Salesforce Connector, D&B Connector, Snowflake Connector.

The REST APIs use open standards so that customers can connect Reltio into their ecosystems via integration platforms such as MuleSoft, Workato, SnapLogic, etc.

The Streaming APIs make use of widely used cloud messaging frameworks such as AWS SQS/SNS, Google Pub-sub, and Azure Service Bus.


These support synchronous integration that gives users and systems the information they need right away by supporting real-time API lookups and serving omnichannel experience use cases on-demand.  They operate on a request-response basis, where the connected system or app requests data, and waits for a response.

Reltio supports the generation of a 360-degree view of each customer, enabling connected systems and apps to get immediate answers to many burning questions such as, who is this customer? What is this customer’s consent? What are their communication preferences? What is the current stage in this customer’s journey with us, across all channels? What are their post recent interactions with us, and what products, brands, or locations are involved?

REST API integrations give you a reliable and repeatable mechanism to generate answers to specific queries. You can identify and gain insights about individual customers from a centralized platform, regardless of where the data comes from and how you use the data.

Streaming APIs

Messaging platforms such as Kafka and others support asynchronous data sharing between systems.  Think of this as a more immediate, more granular way of sharing what has happened in a system than the batch export/import mechanisms of old.  Reltio Streaming APIs natively support AWS SQS/SNS, Google Pub-sub, and Azure Service Bus, pushing event notifications relating to activities taking place in Reltio, such as profiles being added, updated, merged, etc.

Instead of on-demand queries, these APIs work as notification frameworks. When something changes on the MDM platform or in the various systems connected to it (e.g., ERP system, website,) the new information will be posted onto a shared message “board” (e.g. a Topic in Kafka).

Such near-real-time events-based messaging propagates data and updates between systems, sharing new or changed facts (change of address, change of consent, change in loyalty status), or information that could change your omni-channel understanding of a customer, such as a new transaction, or a digital event, like adding a product to a shopping cart.

Reltio's Swagger API Developer Portal

Swagger is an open-source interface description language designed to simplify RESTful API development, documentation, and implementation at scale using JSON. Our Swagger API developer portal helps innovators build digital platforms by providing the core capabilities and building blocks that connect with and complement each other.

The Reltio Developer Portal allows programmers to test different APIs, depending on how you want to update, query, and retrieve information about a customer. The Portal aligns with our API-first approach and provides an interactive interface for developers to manage and connect our MDM platform with various systems and functions.

You can connect the MDM platform with customer applications (e.g., Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft, AWS, Azure, Google) via Reltio connectors (e.g., data loader, exporter, D&B connector, Snaplogic connector, Mulesoft connector) or customer integration architecture (e.g., iPaaS, point-to-point, microservices, ETL, ESB.) You can also connect analytics tools (e.g., Spark, BigQuery, Snowflake) directly to the MDM platform.

With our Developer Portal, you can test our API from a central catalog, use your customer/partner environments and existing credentials without any setup requirements, and get support via examples, and rich documentation.

The APIs are organized into five categories: configure, ingest, operate, integrate, and manage. The Operate category is where you’ll find the APIs to get answers to questions regarding your customers. This category allows you to select your Reltio environment (dev, test, prod) and tenant, and work with Reltio crosswalks, entities, graph, interactions, lineage, and more, to test your API calls.

The Swagger framework will give you guidance on the various parameters for each API. It also provides examples to show how some of these payloads or parameters could look like.

Instead of searching broadly for any entity, which might return too many records for the results to be useful, you can search for specific customers using the filtering function (e.g., name, email, phone.) You can then see all data that your entitlement permits about the customer, as a JSON response. 

This process works very well when you know something about the customer, e.g., the correct spelling of their names. But what if you already have this customer’s ID in the context of a particular system?  What if there is a typo in your representation? What if you have incomplete or out of date information? How can you still identify your customer from across all systems?

Reltio provides APIs to handle all of these scenarios, but you will want to put in place e.g. a “Get Customer” API that orchestrates how and when each of those specific APIs gets used, based on the situation.

This is an example of “API-led” integration.

In the next installment of this series, we'll delve into API-led integration, and how MuleSoft can help you leverage your 360-degree customer profiles using Experience APIs, Process APIs, and System APIs.

Learn More with the Reltio Community

The Reltio Community is a great place to learn more about how to use the Reltio products and connect with Master Data Management peers. Rely on the expertise of Reltio partners, customers, and technical experts.