Andy on Enterprise Software

Snack Time?

April 11, 2008

The MDM market, from a term barely used before 2003, has grown up into a market where literally dozens of vendors compete. As with any fast growing market, the big players have tended to acquire rather than build their own technology. IBM bought Trigo and DWL, Oracle bought Siebel and Hyperion, SAP bought A2i, TIBCO bought Velosel, Teradata licensed the code to I2’s MDM offering, D&B bought Purisma, Microsoft has bought Stratature and the list goes on.

In my view this consolidation as vendors seek to fill out their product lines is far from complete. For any data integration vendor it makers sense to have an MDM offering. TIBCO has already made its move, but this still leaves Informatica (so far just buying a data quality tool in Similarity) and even Ab Initio, though it is hard to figure out anything much about that secretive vendor. This also leaves Sun (with SeeBeyond) and other EAI vendors, and perhaps even a dark horse like EMC from a storage perspective.

While a number of technologies have already been purchased, as noted earlier, there are still several MDM independents out there that could potentially be bought up: Initiate, Siperian, Kalido, Visionware and, in France,, Orchestra Networks and Amalto. Some of these are big mouthfuls, but there are plenty of vendors with deep pockets who may like the look of a fast growing market (over 50% annual growth in the coming years predicted by Forrester).

MDM platform vendors themselves should consider whether to plough their own furrow or be vendor-neutral with regards to data quality. Some have their own algorithms, some partner with one or more data quality vendors, some offer a choice. There are a scary number of data quality vendors out there, many of them quite bite sized (few have more than USD 10M in revenue) and so I would be surprised if nothing happened here n the next twelve months. Moreover MDM platform vendors from a CDI heritage often get a rabbit in the headlights look when asked about data governance and complex work-flow (a screen or two to handle customer address mis-matches does not count as business process workflow support in my book). By contrast vendors from the PIM or analytic MDM world often have quite sophisticated offerings here, but may lack raw high volume performance. Hence there is room for some of the smaller vendors with tasty technology offerings to be snapped by those wishing to fill out their technology stack.

If there was a big move e.g. Informatica buying Initiate, then this may trigger a response from other MDM platform vendors who at the least could then decide to gobble up a data quality vendor like SilverCreek or Exeros in order to expand their own technology stack.

All in all 2008 I expect the next 18 months will an interesting time in the MDM market from a mergers and acquisitions perspective. After all, those silver tongued investment bankers will need something to do with their time now they can’t jam dodgy credit derivatives down gullible corporate treasurer’s throats any more.