Cloudera-Informatica Deal Opens Broader Horizons for Both

Cloudera‘s continuing focus on the implications of explosive data growth has led it to another key partnership, this time with Informatica. Connecting to the dominant player in data integration and data quality expands the opportunity for Cloudera dramatically; it enables the de facto commercial Hadoop leader to find new ways to empower the “silent majority” of data. The majority of data is outside; not just outside enterprise data warehouses, but outside RDBMS instances entirely. Why? Because it doesn’t need all the management features database management software provides – it doesn’t get updated regularly, for example. In fact, it may not be used very often at all, though it does need to be persisted for a variety of reasons. I recently mentioned Cloudera’s success of late; it’s going to be challenged by some big players in 2011, notably IBM, whose recent focus on Hadoop has been remarkably nimble. So these deals matter. A lot. The Data Management function is being refactored before our eyes; both these vendors will play in its future. Read more of this post

Informatica Re-Factors the Value Chain for the Cloud

Informatica’s cloud ambitions continue and deepen with each new release. In the years since its 2006 launch, Informatica Cloud, the strategic initiative launched to bring Informatica’s data integration assets to the cloud,  has won salesforce.com’s Best of AppExchange award for 2008 and 2009, added other cloud-based applications as targets, and most significant, signed up 650 clients. Customers like Qualcomm and Toshiba are syncing their SaaS apps with on-premise data, enhancing compliance, and extending their BI capabilities.  In a recent conversation, Darren Cunningham, Vice President, Cloud Marketing told me that Informatica is processing over 30,000 jobs per day, involving over 6.5B rows of data per month. Read more of this post

Does Informatica get a place at the head table?

From  Judith Hurwitz, president, Hurwitz & Associates (http://jshurwitz.wordpress.com).

Informatica might be thought of as the last independent data management company standing. In fact, that used to be Informatica’s main positioning in the market. That has begun to change over the last few years as Informatica can continued to make strategic acquisitions. Over the past two years Informatica has purchased five companies  — the most recent was Siperian, a significant player in Master Data Management solutions. These acquisitions have paid off. Today Informatica has past the $500 million revenue mark with about 4,000 customers. It has deepened its strategic partnerships with HP, Ascenture, salesforce.com, and MicroStrategy.  In a nutshell, Informatica has made the transition from a focus on ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tools to support data warehouses to a company focused broadly on managing information. Merv Adrian did a great job of providing context for Informatica’s strategy and acquisitions. To transition itself in the market, Informatica has set its sights on data service management — a culmination of data integration, master data management and data transformation, predictive analytics in a holistic manner across departments, divisions, and business partners. Read more of this post

Informatica Passes Half-Billion Mark, Buys Siperian, Targets Cloud

Informatica has announced another, long-rumored acquisition: Siperian, thus continuing a steady march toward a comprehensive portfolio play. In 2009, its strong growth path made it the clear independent leader in data integration.  With Release 9, its vision of a data integration platform grew to providing a comprehensive approach to everything from data discovery services to data quality. While growth slowed during a tough year for the economy overall, Informatica grew revenue in every quarter, and made key acquisitions in 3 successive quarters (Applimation, AddressDoctor and Agent Logic) and began to make significant moves into the cloud via partnerships with Amazon, salesforce.com and others. Agent Logic added event detection and processing to support real-time alerting and response. As 2010 begins, this latest move is synergistic from the outset; Rob Karel points out in his excellent blog post that “Siperian MDM technology…already is deeply integrated with Informatica’s identity resolution and postal address technology. In addition…Siperian MDM customers [are] using Informatica for data integration and data quality, meaning there is a lot of existing experience and know-how on integrating Informatica’s portfolio with Siperian.” Read more of this post

IBM Acquires Exeros – Information Agenda Gets A Boost

IBM has taken another key step in its Information Agenda strategy, improving customers’ ability to analyze, understand and remediate existing data by acquiring Exeros. There is a fundamental business problem that grows with data volume: an understanding gap. As new development, acquisition and integration of multiple systems takes place, meaning and process understanding are often obscured or lost entirely. At the edge, this is manifested when new BI efforts attempt to find data and its meaning. Exeros Discovery is a leading solution to that problem. My good friend Jim Kobielus of Forrester has provided some excellent background in his blog here. Some other firms are also pursuing this kind of BI-related analysis; Balanced Insight comes to mind, and I’ll blog about them soon. IBM’s ambition is broader than that, and acquiring Exeros is a key enabler of its vision. Read more of this post

IBM’s BAO Initiative Will Change the Landscape, But More Is Needed

IBM Global Business Services (GBS) has added its first new service line since IBM acquired PWC and launched itself into the services business. GBS generated nearly $20B in revenue in 2008, a few hundred million more than the hardware side of IBM. Two other units, the software group and IBM Research,  have joined with GBS to create the Business Analysis and Optimization line, intended to make IBM the dominant player in advanced analytics focused on optimizing business outcomes.  GBS has pursued the capture and reusable packaging of intellectual property and methodologies in its engagements for some time, encapsulating business processes and industry requirements, standards and regulations. IBM proposes to combine those assets with software components and advanced work done in IBM Research to deliver a “predict and prescribe” approach to its customers’ business challenges.

This is a formidable array of assets, aligned into a 4000-person organization, and pursuing a carefully targeted set of competencies:

  • BI and Performance Management
  • Advanced Analytics and Optimization
  • Enterprise Information Management
  • Enterprise Content Management
  • Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO) Strategy

All the contributors bring substantial skin to the game. Ambuj Goyal, who heads the information management portfolio for IBM Software Group (SWG), has assembled an array of data management and data warehousing tools, BI, content management, and other components, and told me, “We’re harnessing everything we’ve built.” He’s been hammering on the notion of an information agenda as part of IBM’s Information on Demand strategy, and driving awareness of the need for data quality and stewardship to attack the need for executives to feel they can trust the data they get. One in three today say they don’t, even for the relatively mundane types of reporting that are commonplace.

In IBM Research, Brenda Dietrich heads a team of 150 mathematics PhDs, many of whom have been working directly with customers to build predictive models in numerous industry contexts that will underpin some of the early projects. Three key plays are in the first round: risk and fraud analytics; analytics and data optimization; and advanced customer insight, which draws upon BAO head Fred Balboni’s recent successes driving GBS business in the retail sector.

The new organization model, in typical IBM fashion, will be rolled out on a massive scale. Of course, most of the people in the organization are being “re-badged;” they aren’t new, dedicated assets just yet, but they are experienced in many facets of the problems to be tackled and are in an accelerated program designed to bring them up to speed to meet an expected demand curve that IBM believes will be very steep. I would not bet against them.

Still, this new effort is only a step on a journey the information technology industry needs to travel. “Predict and prescribe” is necessary but not sufficient to achieving true analytics-based automation, where the “prescription” is applied to operations within policy- and rules-based guidelines, reserving the delivery of guidance to decision makers for the exceptional cases. Some advanced organizations have already built such applications, and they will have a leg up. If you are among them, IT Market Strategy would like to hear your story. Please contact us – leave a comment here, or email merv@itmarketstrategy.com.