At its recent analysts' summit in Boston, Informatica outlined how PowerCenter 8, a unified, interoperable platform for delivering data services, will support Master Data Management (MDM). The new release offers further signs that service-oriented architecture (SOA) has gained acceptance by customers as a way to achieve consistency and agility in integration projects involving key business applications. In contrast to many current SOA vendors, Informatica insists that data services are an important part of SOA initiatives. Against this background, the company announced a new data integration initiative; with this focus, Informatica has a good foundation for enabling and supporting MDM. Ventana Research believes that current customers of Informatica should examine how data integration plays a role in supporting MDM processes.
As data becomes increasingly fragmented throughout the organization and across business boundaries, IT professionals have realized that they cannot focus on technology alone. There are three key ingredients for successful integration projects: a unified approach to enterprise data integration involving an integration architecture based on a service-oriented architecture (SOA), a comprehensive yet interoperable platform and a sound methodology.
Against this background, Informatica announced a new initiative in data integration that supports enabling master data management (MDM). There are many master data management approaches, both proprietary and home-grown, but Informatica has identified basic requirements for data integration common to all of them: accessibility, availability, quality, consistency, auditability and security. Informatica's data integration platform is particularly well suited to meet these requirements. Currently many MDM solutions lack the ability to synchronize master data back to the underlying operational systems.
A significant number of Informatica's customers are already using this approach to manage master data, mainly in the form of global data synchronization projects. To date the customer focus has been largely at the level of operational master data, but Informatica plans to extend its MDM approach to cover information management of master data as well. Ventana Research recognizes that Informatica's best practice in integration competency centers and their global project team development are critical components in supporting MDM.
This new addition from Informatica extends the company's reach into the master data synchronization markets of customer data integration (CDI) and product information management (PIM). It will form a good basis to extend MDM functionality to cover both operational and informational aspects of master data. Informatica soon could be in position to offer a comprehensive, application-independent product for master data management. In this respect, Informatica is well-placed to become a challenger for vendors in the operational master data management field, such as i2, IBM and SAP. However, while Informatica can play as a data integration technology provider, many other elements of MDM are not currently available from Informatica -- a master data repository, for example, and a business user interface for the definition and management of data -- and so must be either built or acquired by complementing PowerCenter 8 with partners' technologies.
Ventana Research believes that current customers of Informatica should consider PowerCenter 8 as a necessary extension to their data integration efforts for supporting MDM. Organizations should architect their MDM strategy to include data integration and ensure it can support the range of needs to migrate, replicate and synchronize master data. Those seeking a flexible solution for data integration should consider Informatica as a foundation upon which to base their information architecture and a supporting element of MDM.
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