The first third of the keynote was excellent. The vision I was looking for yesterday at the MDM day had been saved up for today! Sohaib laid out Informatica’s understanding of how the needs and opportunity for information are changing. Perhaps less interesting was that his vision was not too different to how Gartner sees the future. We explored some of the highlights at our recent Enterprise Information and MDM summit and you can see a summary here.
What is more interesting is how vendors interpret this future and what is their call to actin in terms of bringing value to they customers. I have to be honest, and consistent. I have said for the last few years that the MDM market, for me one of the newer more important catalysts for innovation in IM, has been devoid of really big vision in the market.
Many of the pioneers of the early MDM vendors have moved on. Second generation leaders took over MDM product offerings. For me, there was no natural visionary crafting a differentiated future. Some vendors have recently tied MDM to bug data and social insights. This was certainly visionary but not really big in terms of scale. If I look at companies lime SAP, Oracle, and IBM – the mega vendors- they have flashes of visionary ideas but nothing really that I like that calls out a new possible future for IM. Informatica, for me personally, changed that today. I tweeted that MDM may have come of age.
The latest unveiling of the Intelligent Data Platform (IDP) brings together several individual ideas that, when coupled together as a single interoperable platform, does describe something significant. The concept promised with IDP is not really that new per se; what is new for me is the credibility the vendor has in rallying around this vision.
The IDP comprises two layers. Beneath the IDP is data persistence of any kind. The bottom layer of the IDP is the information infrastructure. This is analogous to what Gartner calls an information capability framework. There are gaps here and a lot to compare and align to our vision, but the association to our ICF is clear.
The exciting layer of the IDP for me is the Data Intelligence layer. This promises to bring the business to business intelligence that BI never could. Here is where new insight and understanding from information is exposed to business users, or specifically, end user business applications. This new layer leverages the knowledge and IP bound up in MDM, data quality, data integration, and information governance. A key element is the aptly named living data map that seeks to keep in hand a metadata map linking semantics across information silos. This “semantic enterprise” has been a vision for a while. This IDP is a new, latest attempt to make this real. I have not seen the same from other vendors.
This vision has some issues and challenges to overcome. Getting to realize this vision will be hard. Here are at least five challenges I see:
- For me, Informatica confuses and missing the point about stewardship and governance. In the stack, as shown at the keynote, some of the infrastructure service capability to support governance and stewardship. It should not. Governance and stewardship are roles in the business, by the business, for the business. Informatica should understand the difference between IT roles and new business roles and elevate the business roles at the top of their IDP. Governance and stewardship does not take place in the infrastructure but IT users. By the way, if Informatica IS keen to focus on governance of information in the data warehouse (where IT users live) rather than in living, operational business and analytic applications (where business users live), the I suggest Informatica will risk failure.
- Data authoring is a business process. MDM spans data authoring as well as DI as well as stewardship and governance. As such, MDM is a complex solution spanning the top and bottom of he IDP. You can’t put MDM into one technology. You can position an MDM hub as a technology. This is the role of a Informatica’s DIH. DIH and MDM hubs need to be aligned and the business UI (part of MDM, not DIH) and roles needs to move to the top of the DIP,
- Informatica PIM is as close to industry specific business application. The solution supports MDM of product data as well as business processes such as New Product Introduction. Thus this product should be emulated for other solutions and content for other industry solutions. The go-to-market for MDM is very different for DI and DQ – and needs to be elevated to business applications.
- The IDP does not yet explain how the worlds of MDM, ECM, DAM and operational transactional management will converge. It is implied with IDP. Informatica needs to step forward in the world of ECM and DAM.
- Lastly, I’ll end with a fifth challenge. Technically I think Informatica can sell this technical solution. This is the problem. We don’t end a technical solution. We need a business solution. Thus the IDP needs a business perspective. The business value of the effort needs to identified, measured, and captured. I did not see how is will be instantiated in the IDP. Yet.
Here are my tweets from the keynote:
@mdmcentral: #INFA14 BPM demo & business capability of MDM (author, steward) move Informatica into business solutions space. Not your normal sale to IT. https://twitter.com/mdmcentral/status/466275715726340096
@mdmcentral: #INFA14 I like IDP vision, but I feel Informatica over using stewardship & governance terms re tools for IT & business. Confusing. https://twitter.com/mdmcentral/status/466269733612834816
@mdmcentral: #INFA14 Data Integration Hub (in infrastructure) takes over work of MDM hub and active stewardship/governance moves to Data Intelligence. https://twitter.com/mdmcentral/status/466268418409123841
@mdmcentral: #INFA14 Data intelligence, part of IDP, brings semantic tech nearer to semantic enterprise. MDM comes of age? https://twitter.com/mdmcentral/status/466264017544032256
@mdmcentral: #INFA14 Data intelligence, part of IDP, promises “business” intelligence where BI could never have. Big promise to make. https://twitter.com/mdmcentral/status/466263519755632641
@mdmcentral: #INFA14 secure@source demo more than security. Steward can now action boundaryless information mgt. Discover, profile, then govern. https://twitter.com/mdmcentral/status/466261283507953664
@mdmcentral: #INFA14 TIM on stage with Sohaib Abbasi all over value of trusted information. TIM is front and center. Did you see TIM? https://twitter.com/mdmcentral/status/466258953324593152
And favorite, first, tweet of the day: @mdmcentral: #INFA14 What place for yesterday’s app vendors when source of trusted info adds apps on its stack? Great demo of MDM 10 by Dennis. https://twitter.com/mdmcentral/status/466257877376593921
And I have a word for self caution. SAP announced a stack some years ago. I had the fortune to attend the first public exposure to what was the SAP NetWeaver stack. The ‘fridge’ was an interesting stack play. It was lauded at the time. It has changed quite dramatically. So platforms do not always win…or survive engagement with the enemy.
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