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10/22/2009
07:21 PM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: Informatica Joins Ranks Of Elite Enterprise Software Companies

Informatica CEO Sohaib Abbasi says cloud computing presents an enormous opportunity for the data-integration specialist, whose latest financial results topped all analysts' predictions.

Informatica's five-year track record of quiet but stellar performance is about to change: the data-integration specialist's strong growth record, imminent release of a major new product line, ability to solve ugly and expensive IT problems across multiple industries, and its share-price growth are combining to turn up the volume--significantly--on the company's story. So kiss the "quiet" part goodbye.

On top of that, stressing that its independent status allows it to avoid industry in-fighting and instead concentrate on tying together customer data no matter how mottled the pedigree, Informatica CEO Sohaib Abbasi also expects the company to exploit aggressively today's cloud-computing phenomenon by giving CIOs more tools for delivering and presenting high-value and trusted data and information across the enterprise regardless of whether they reside in on-premises legacy apps or in clouds from Amazon or others.

And after yesterday's release of Informatica's quarterly numbers, that combination of current broad-based strength plus significant opportunities for continued growth were sure to raise Informatica's profile significantly in the minds of CIOs and Wall Street analysts. Informatica reported third-quarter revenue of $123.4 million, which topped analysts' estimates by 20%, and its earnings for the quarter were $16.2 million, up more than 20% for last year's third quarter.

Others surely well aware of that profile--and the company's potential to continue leading in a highly strategic market sector--are a handful of major IT companies that would love to add Informatica's capabilities and customers into their mix. This list includes all the usual suspects--Oracle, SAP, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, EMC, Cisco--and then some. But more on that in a bit.

Speaking of that cloud potential, Abbasi said in a recent phone interview, "We were the first company to realize SaaS and cloud computing represented a wave of new opportunities for Informatica in solving the problems raised by the next big wave of data fragmentation. Since data no longer resides exclusively in on-premise systems and is increasingly out in the cloud, we can help customers integrate the silos of data that have built up in their on-premise systems, and then with our cloud data-integration tools, help them move that critical data out of those silos.

"For example, hundreds of our customers are now using Informatica products to integrate their Salesforce.com cloud data with their on-premises data," said Abbasi, who in his five years as CEO has doubled Informatica's revenue to the $455 million it reported for 2008.

His arrival also marked the beginning of Informatica's strategic intent to become the leader in cloud/on-premises data integration: "We outlined our plans for cloud-data integration in our strategic roadmap five years ago and have been delivering on that," Abbasi said.

"And right now, the biggest hurdle to cloud computing adoption is concern about security and performance, particularly as it relates to data. The implication of the cloud is that customers are no longer able to manage their data on-premise, so they naturally are very concerned about how will they be able to control it when that data is managed elsewhere? We think that concern presents another great opportunity for Informatica because we know how to solve that problem."

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Abbasi pointed out that Informatica's experience with Salesforce.com--the market's most biggest cloud-based supplier of enterprise apps and development platform-led to Informatica's being named the #1 tool in Salesforce.com's application-exchange program.

"Customers we've been working with are using the cloud to reduce IT expenses," Abassi said. "They're looking for ways to reduce hardware costs, as well as the costs of for labor to install and administer--so the breakthroughs they'be been looking to make have been around making IT organizations more efficient, and giving business users access to capabilities faster."

In that context, here's one of the ways P&G is using Informatica:

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