It is not in my nature to use blogs to argue of topics that require detailed exchange of information and analysis…but the following article was brought to my attention and I thought it a potentially good example of “vendor hype” even it was not directly provided by the vendor.
Andy Hayler, CEO, The Information Difference, wrote this article, “A Bulldog Puppy Emerges”, in which he describes how Microsoft has adapted its strategy to meet the needs, your needs, for MDM. As of now, the MDM solution will emerge as part SQL Server, a database offering. Some of the points in the article that caught my attention, and worthy of review, are:
allowing third parties to build add-ons for it, for example specific industry offerings, and this is something that Microsoft will encourage.
- As and when MDS does appear, it will be a significant entrant into the market based on the sheer market presence of Microsoft.
- it will have had a lot more customer exposure than most new MDM products.
- MDS will not, in its early stages, have the kind of full functionality and proven performance of some alternatives, its presence in the market alone is likely to apply pricing pressure to other vendors
Well, my MDM travels lead me to disagree in some fashion. MDM is certainly applied to industy specific level needs, which come from differences found in data model, business processes supported, business models, use cases, domains, use job titles, buying preferences, and references. As such industry specialization has not (yet) become a horizontal layer that can be “added” by API’s. If it had, other vendors would have tried. In fact some say they are, and they are not doing all that well. As such, this is a really big idea but one that has a lot of challenges ahead of it. It would be innovative, and disruptive, but every time we look at MDM it looks more complex, not simpler.
The second item is very possible, given Microsoft’s size and scale. So this will be a “spoiler” entrant, but will it really represent a disruptive force? I tend to think not. The public side of this vision just does not have enough flesh on the bone…
The third item reads true – and the article does report that 200 or more customers are working on the product. But is this “a new MDM product”. My feeling is that this will be an analytical MDM product if anything. So yes, it might have more customers for that. But this will not be an operational MDM offering automatically. In fact, it is very possible that the first 10 customers that try to use this for operational MDM will highlight the gaps. No analytical MDM engine has successfully (yet) moved over to the operational world – in anything other than a few implementations.
The last items follows on from the third. MDM is not a database level conversation. One of my interactions with a client week highlighted this. A client, an IT leader, said to me (and I almost don’t paraphrase), “We want to highlight to the business how MDM is not focused on our ESB or database, but focused on the business”. It is possible that Microsoft will bring some price pressure on the MDM market, but it remains to be seen.
I did say, “yet” several times in the above review of the article. I might be proven wrong. But to be proven wrong, there has to be some other elements in the strategy that the article, and Microsoft, have up their sleeve…. Governance is the critical part of MDM and perhaps partners will “add” this later. As such, the part that Microsoft brings will be very low level and “tactical”. Hardly grounds for disruptive market entrant….