A recent briefing of the Hub Designs MDM Think Tank by Informatica
Ravi Shankar, VP of MDM Product Marketing at Informatica, provided an overview of Informatica MDM 9.6.1 and the release of Informatica PIM 7, for the Hub Designs MDM Think Tank. Rob Karel, VP of MDM Product Strategy and Marketing, and former Forrester analyst for data management solutions, joined Ravi for the briefing.
Informatica PIM 7 is built around the recent Heiler acquisition and better positions Informatica for product information management solutions. Informatica MDM 9.6.1 represents further evolution of the Informatica multidomain MDM offering, with origins from the Siperian acquisition of 2010, as well as integration with Informatica PIM.
Gartner Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management of Customer Data Solutions, 2013:
Informatica’s total MDM customer count in March 2013 (estimated) was 259, of which 245 were for customer data and 180 were for multiple data domains.
Informatica is well positioned as a pure play MDM vendor, and continues to receive strong marks in leading analyst reports, including Gartner (Product and Customer), Bloor Research, and The Information Difference.
In 2013, Informatica MDM experienced very healthy growth, doubling revenue each quarter (compared to the previous year’s performance). The vendor has also been steadily attracting companies who were using MDM solutions from other vendors. Ravi commented that strong growth should persist for the MDM solution market going forward.
With a strong global presence in its overall customer base, Informatica MDM has found adoption in many industries including banking and insurance, healthcare, and telecomm. The Heiler PIM acquisition brings strength in CPG and retail industries and should have clear positive impact on Informatica’s presence in the PIM market, including solutions for omni-channel commerce and supplier management.
Informatica sees itself as an MDM leader for the Pharma industry with a state of the art solution. An interesting point from Ravi: most pharma customers implement Informatica MDM as a broad, cross-enterprise solution, not just at a department-level for niche functions.
Cloud-based data management in general is a growth area for Informatica. The vendor continues to develop the MDM platform and business-focused solutions, reflecting the business use cases and needs of customers and prospects.
Customer and User Focus
To better connect with MDM customers and prospects, the vendor has introduced MDM Day – the first events took place in Las Vegas and London. At the Las Vegas event, attendance exceeded expectations. 22 speakers, drawn from customers and partners, shared their insights for MDM implementations based on the Informatica platform. Topics included several customer business cases, and how to utilize MDM for business advantage. The next Informatica MDM Day is in New York City on February 12, 2014.
Ravi commented that business leaders are seeking best practices for MDM and data governance not only from their industry counterparts, but also from those in other industries. These leaders are looking for significant innovation and new ideas from MDM implementations that will positively impact their business goals and overall corporate outcomes.
For the users of the Informatica platform, both technical and business, the vendor has been improving the usability of the platform and the user experience through enhanced UI development. Business user capabilities are growing, such as creating custom workflows (in part thanks to the Active Endpoints acquisition, which is discussed later in this article).
Informatica has been turning attention to application-enabled MDM – to provide MDM capabilities where businesses do their work. Through APIs and other integration points, Informatica MDM can be embedded within business applications and processes to better “insert” MDM capabilities where they are most needed.
Informatica has been developing specific industry / business solutions that include:
- Pharma Research and Development
- Securities and Risk Management
- Healthcare Management – payers and providers
- PIM – supplier onboarding
- PIM new product introduction for omni-channel commerce
Like many other capability-rich software solutions, the Informatica MDM platform consists of multiple individual product SKUs. Informatica is implementing a customer friendly change by simplifying product bundles to better match customer needs and make it easier to understand the purchase of overall solution components.
Informatica Universal MDM
Informatica is positioning its MDM offering as a platform, not as a product, since it encompasses the whole Informatica data management suite, including data integration, data quality and master data management, allowing customers to utilize capabilities as needed. Another platform aspect is the availability of different implementation options. With its cloud offering as part of the Universal MDM platform, Informatica can work in hybrid MDM implementations (cloud, on premises, third party data) to help organizations access data anywhere and anytime—which strongly reflects the “always-on” business reality for many organizations.
Universal MDM is designed to fuel business data insights as part of the decision-to-action processes that are essential to most organizations. Real time processes are increasing in importance for many business functions—a ubiquitous data management platform is a must-have.
As with other MDM vendors, Informatica is moving beyond managing multiple data domains per se, to capture and integrate relationships between domains into comprehensive master data. Real-time understanding of relationships across data domains is essential for many industries and can provide a sharp competitive edge.
Current Platform Achievements for MDM 9.6.1
- Improved performance with in-memory processing
- Improved scalability
- Database agnostic
- Overall UI improvements
- Improved business user access through new MDM data governance UI
- Improved security and compliance through dynamic data masking
- Simplified administration and rapid MDM deployment through single stage data onboarding
Informatica is now taking advantage of the business user oriented process management solution ActiveVOS. Informatica acquired software vendor Active Endpoints in early 2013. Active Endpoints had been doing innovative work with business processes and workflow for Salesforce.com that included access to ever-expanding data integration points in the Salesforce.com platform. ActiveVOS is a strong complement for the cloud services that continue to proliferate at Informatica. Business roles are becoming more important to the success of MDM and data governance implementations, so it’s logical for MDM vendors to provide any and all appropriate capabilities for business roles.
PIM 7 and Informatica MDM Platform
Informatica PIM 7 represents the first integration of the Heiler acquisition with the overall MDM platform. The omni-channel PIM solution obviously extends Informatica’s reach into new business areas and industry solutions. And the Heiler PIM product is enhanced through integration with the Informatica MDM platform while taking advantage of components like data integration and data quality.
PIM 7, along with its integration with MDM, provides:
- Authoritative view of products, its hierarchies, and relationships such as customers-to-products, customers-to-location, and products-to-suppliers
- Faster new product introduction, with less manual effort, and more accurate, trustworthy data
- Automated on-boarding of supplier data to expand the portfolio of products in multiple sales commerce channels (omni-channel commerce)
- Accurate exchange of data with trading partners
- Interchange of data with on-premise and cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), as well as analytics applications
What Could Be Next for Informatica
Agility is an important concept for Informatica right now: the need for agile integrations of several recent acquisitions including disparate MDM solutions, and the need for agility to keep up with the growing importance of MDM for customer business needs. And agility will be needed to quickly change the ever-enlarging Informatica platform, to stay current with new trends for MDM and for business applications.
It’s clear that Informatica has continued to not only make strategic software acquisitions, but also to swiftly integrate the software solutions they acquired with the main MDM product. The Informatica core platform already includes highly regarded data quality and integration capabilities, as well as strong overall data management capabilities. Rounding out this comprehensive platform is the ability to manage data on-premises, in the cloud, and in hybrid data flows and architectures.
Informatica has a tremendous opportunity with PIM 7 and its path of integration with the existing MDM platform. The expertise of the Heiler staff should add deep product solution and industry knowledge, to extend Informatica’s MDM capabilities and expertise. Both the Heiler and ActiveVOS acquisitions advance Informatica’s business process management, industry solution, and integration capabilities.
Key pieces to the future of any MDM vendor center on “the business”: recognizing the importance of providing real business applications, and opening the appropriate access for business users. Connecting MDM to customer business needs and to the business roles that are essential for MDM success is a make-or-break proposition for all MDM vendors these days. Informatica has an important opportunity to provide MDM solutions that can make sense for any sort of business endeavor.
As further background, please take a look at the MDM Think Tank briefing with Informatica in 2012.
About the Author
Julie Hunt is the editor of Hub Designs Magazine and co-founder of the Hub Designs MDM Think Tank. Her “day job” is as an independent software industry analyst and consultant to software vendors for customer, solution and go-to-market strategies.