Well we are just about to wind up Day 1 at Informatica World 2015. It’s been a fun day with some keynotes, some executive 1-1’s and some end-user case studies. All sessions threw up some predictable spin/content, some new ideas, and some thought provoking thoughts.
Sohaib led the keynote. There was an emphasis on growth and support – a key message to full-house of customers and prospects wondering about the pending acquisition and move to go private. Sohaib then reviewed the IDP and explored products and services that are evolving as our market shifts (he said) from the age of productivity to the age of engagement. This was a nice message. The products offered by Informatica do contribute to their message nicely.
This year there was no fun with Dennis Moore doing a selfie with the Chairman and CEO. I tweeted this and apparently there was going to be some selfies going on later in the day. I didn’t catch them.
Overall impression: Consolidate and Execute – no new vision
Whereas last year at Informatica World 2014 I was excited at the notable jump with Informatica’s message and vision (IDP), this year I was left with hunger pangs. There was less of a jump or wholly new step forward and more of a focus on execution. I suppose this is logical and fair. Technically the vendor has to deliver and exploit the fruits of its investments and bring the IDP to market. So it is only exposing new ideas that are within immediate reach. Thus I perhaps should not be too disappointed. It’s just that I the wrong expectations due to my exciting time last year. So bottom line is that Informatica World 2015 presented a deeper story for how the company will offer valuable solutions to clients based on the developing IDP.
The challenge for me however is this: the IDP is a great idea looking for solutions to support. So where are the solutions? Where is the thick, rich, wide road map of industry specific products? Where are the business-ready solutions? Where and how do partners extend and enrich the platform? Why is integration still even talked about if this is the data vendor then surely governance is king? There was talk about some support for data lakes (data lakes are very hyped at present), analytics (more hype), but little about business process and virtually none concerning business applications.
There were great updates on current products – PowerCenter, MDM, data quality etc. It seems Informatica is staying close to its knitting – and it is very good at its knitting. The company calls itself “all things data”. The Live Data Map remains, for me, a really exciting offering. Still no firm date for delivery, this offering will yield up some powerful capabilities:
- Semantic (and relationship in the data) discovery and description
- Crowdsourced, or more precisely, use-based-rating of information assets. I even heard the use of genetic algorithms in this context – and I have not looked at those since my days in Supply Chain and developing production and promo/price optimization engines.
The challenge with Live Data Map is this: it’s a broad set of capabilities that can support a large range of solutions that clients struggle with today. It could help an MDM program; it can help an application migration or consolidation plan; it can help with data integration; it can help with information risk management and governance. But that’s the point: clients don’t look for Swiss Army Knives – all that often. They look for specific solutions to specific problems. Thus the Live Data Map needs help. It needs to be packaged up in ways that clients can understand it and use it – quickly. The trick will be to sell solutions in such a way (one at a time) that the client ends up with a Live Data Map by the back door.
On a small point I was again impressed with Secure@Source. I tweeted that this products potential addressable market is huge- perhaps larger than for IDP and MDM. It could be a trigger for a notable growth engine.
One of my colleagues called out that one of the slides shared on the keynote exposed a potential gap in the vendor’s product strategy: specific solutions targeted at the role of information governance and information stewardship. This was a key point for me – and one I have been harping on about for several years. The market is not really thinking far enough ahead to anticipate the needs of end users in this area. We all need more action in this area.
The lunch and 1-1’s with the executives was useful. We heard from the leadership team on issues related to investment priorities and how the company plans to continue growing. I did reinforce my issue re leadership and vision though, for product strategy. I do believe that vendor needs someone to step forward with an ego and a credible, forward thinking (some 3 to 5 years out) overarching product strategy. It might come from an Informatica employee – all who (right now) have an opportunity to create this and lead. Or it might come from an external hire.
The case studies were excellent. I sat in two and tweeted about both in different ways. In one (MDM of product data) there was a great message about how productivity was improved 15,000% in terms of number of users and parts managed – before and after the implementation. I think it was something like 7 people and 50K parts before, and 2 people and 3M parts after – or something like that.
The other case study was a solid MDM of customer data story. The tweet highlighted the really thoughtful approach to a rock solid implementation. The end-user took longer to develop and understand the strategy and the program plan, then to actually implement it. They took 12 months developing the idea, and 9 months to implement. And the success was rock solid and the benefits – now discovering new insights about customers – has paid for the program.
So bottom line for Informatica World 2015:
- Not a year for “reaching” forward with any significant new innovation – more a year for consolidation and execution
- Solid customer case studies
- The IDP concept (it remains partially delivered) remains one of the industries more exciting and potentially more rounded information governance “platforms”.
I would still like to see a rich, rounded, visionary road map that explains how the IDP will support business ready business solutions, and much less a list of established products being consolidated on a new platform. On to Informatica World 2016!
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