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Informatica Unveils Market and Product Strategy

Roadmap addresses broader emerging enterprise data integration needs.

5 Min Read

VentanaMonitor™

Summary
Delivering data across an enterprise and beyond to business partners and to outsourced IT teams is challenging now and will increase in intensity in the future as data growth continues unabated. Informatica’s focus on data integration technology, along with its product roadmap, will address key needs in integration technology market. The role played by data integration technology like Informatica’s has expanded beyond ETL into data warehouses, to movement of data driven by various needs including data migration, data synchronization, and data consolidation, master data management and real-time business intelligence. Competitive pressures will elevate the need for access to broader data sets within the enterprise in order to assure comprehensive business awareness and understanding. Ventana Research sees that data integration frameworks have become critical technology to addressing advancing and changing information needs driven by competitive and other external factors.

Assessment
At its 2nd Annual Analyst day on April 16th, 2005, Informatica laid out its vision for the company and its market and product strategy for the data integration technology market. Based upon results in the market, Informatica has reshaped its product strategy to focus exclusively on data integration. Its business intelligence product, PowerAnalyzer, has been folded into a bundle of data integration products branded as PowerCenter Advanced Edition. PowerAnalyzer is now positioned as enabling technology for the data integration process and for visibility. Also bundled into Advanced Edition will be Super Glue, Informatica’s meta-data tool. Ventana Research believes that the de-emphasis on BI and the bundling of supporting products are necessary focusing steps for Informatica.

Key to Informatica’s vision concerning data integration is the inclusion of enterprise information integration (EII) technology from Composite Software. The partnership with Composite is based upon recognition of two things: first, Composite has solid technology that can enhance the Informatica product line in various areas; and second, that EII as a data integration concept has value and will be a legitimate complement to data warehousing and the larger integration market. EII uses include rapid, low effort prototyping of distributed query access to information joining of current and historical data from transactional database and data warehouses, and integration of data from multiple data marts and operational systems to provide broader context for business users.

Informatica has laid out a roadmap for 2005 and 2006 that will bring more evolution and innovation to their PowerCenter platform. These enhancements will streamline data integration from development to ongoing maintenance. Major enhancements improve performance and scalability, support unstructured data integration, make improvements to their team-based data integration requirements, and target the need for enterprise-wide data availability for analysis. The diversity of systems supported by Informatica PowerExchange product also enable broad flexibility for IT organizations faced with diverse data sources.

With competitive pressures demanding that enterprises have consistent data, regulatory compliance, integrated, comprehensive views of their operations and instant availability of information, Ventana Research believes that the relative IT priority of data integration initiatives will continue to increase. Coupled with ever growing data, organizations will increasingly look to data integration technology as a strategic IT investment. Ventana Research believes that providing broad, fast, reliable access to any data throughout the enterprise will be a necessary capability for IT going forward. Application or information silos will increasingly be stitched into an enterprise-wide information network. However, more than ever before, organizations will be hard-pressed to continue to design, develop, deploy and administer data integration at the level of granularity currently in place.

Market Impact
With the acquisition of Ascential by IBM, Informatica is a key independent data integration provider. With its acquisition of Ascential, IBM joins Oracle and Microsoft as vendors having product lines that offer both database and data integration products. For some organizations that have diversified data stores from multiple vendors, Informatica’s independence will likely be viewed as positive, based upon the assumption that Informatica can offer equivalently-weighted support for all relevant database management systems. However, being smaller than IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, Informatica’s dedication to the market should not be underestimated. Yet, Informatica’s focus on data integration may ultimately pay dividends as its development teams, sales and marketing organizations all coordinate around a single business. In the end, Informatica will have to demonstrate market-leading growth and product roadmap execution to earn trust from their investors and customers.

Recommendation
Informatica has proven successes, beyond just ETL and into data warehouses and the much larger data integration market. Data migration, synchronization, and consolidation are areas where Informatica provides value. For organizations faced with these kinds of IT projects, Informatica should be considered to lower project costs and speed completion time. Ventana Research advises IT organizations that are faced with dramatic growth in data to start thinking about simplification of their data integration strategies. Outsourcing can drop costs, but not complexity (administration, etc.). Architects of data integration systems should look for additional abstraction capabilities that allow robust, streamlined, lower-cost data management.

Eric Rogge is VP and research director for Business Intelligence & Performance Management at Ventana Research.

Ventana Research is the preeminent research and advisory services firm helping our clients maximize stakeholder value with Performance Management throughout their organizations. Putting research in a business and IT context we provide insight and education on the best practices, methodologies and technologies that enable our clients to leverage assets to understand, optimize, and align strategies and processes to meet their goals and objectives.

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