Andy on Enterprise Software

Informatica Update

May 22, 2014

At Informatica World in Las Vegas recently the company made a number of announcements. The label “Intelligent Data Platform” was used to encompass the existing technology plus some new elements around metadata. The key new element was software that helped end-users to provision data directly in an attempt to unblock the traditional bottleneck when IT and business users. The software allows a business user to search for available data using business terms, and then presents to the users the best matches for that, including showing the source systems. The system presents an interface to the user and can capture the actions the user takes in selecting data in the form of workflow steps, that can later be automated by IT if appropriate. This certainly demonstrated well, and seems to have had some happy early adopters.

Separately, Informatica announced a data security product. Secure@Source that will be an early application of the Intelligence Data Platform. A demo included an attractive looking “heat map” showing data sensitivity, proliferation and levels of risk, was based on prior DI mappings between sources and targets defined in PowerCenter. . The obvious issue here is whether Informatica’s sales force understands the specialised security market, and whether customers will perceive it is a natural brand in an area that it not currently perceived to be associated with by many, although to be fair it already has offerings in PDM, DDM and test management.

There was plenty of discussion around Big Data at the conference, and partners such as Cloudera spoke on the subject as well as staff from the company. Certainly the scale of data now can be vast, with Facebook apparently having 500 petabytes to manage. The company has several initiatives in this area linking to Hadoop. Certainly all that data will have to be managed somehow, so companies with core strengths in integration and data quality ought in principle to be able to carve out a place in the Big Data world, which at present still seems very formative and immature in general. The Vibe Data Stream product is clearly aimed at this new type of data, such as that generated by sensors.

Financially, Informatica seems back on track after the issues of 2012, and seems to have had a good quarter. One intriguing thing is just how significant MDM is now to Informatica – a whole day at the conference was devoted to MDM, and although the company does not break out software sales by product line, it was clear that MDM is both the fastest growing segment for it, and now is a significant chunk of its new license revenues. The $130 million acquisition of Siperian may in retrospect seem to be money well spent. Version 10 is the next major release, due out in late 2014.

The company is clearly investing heavily at present, with 17% of its spend going into R&D at the moment. As the company seeks to maintain growth against a backdrop where the core integration market is maturing, the main challenge for the company would seem to me to be whether its sales staff, used to selling integration software to IT folks, can adapt to selling the new products effectively, some of whom are aimed at business people.