I've talked to lots of analysts about technology trends and predictions during my nearly eight years of technology journalism. Generally, though, it's months or even years before you know whether they got it right.
I've often thought a great Web site -- or Web site feature, hint, hint -- would be to track all the predictions made by research firms and report whether they hit the mark within the expected time frame, were off target on the time, or completely wrong.
So, I was pleasantly surprised to see -- just two weeks ago after we spoke -- that master data management analyst Andy Hayler got it dead right when he predicted Informatica would get into the MDM business.
Hayler is the CEO of The Information Difference, a budding research firm dedicated to master data management research. During a recent interview, I asked him about the overlap between MDM technology and more traditional data integration offerings, such as EAI, (enterprise application and integration) and ETL (extract, transfer, load).
He said EAI technology tends to complement MDM, because MDM vendors don't want to build their own service buses, so they'll just partner with an EAI vendor. But the relationship with ETL is less clear, which is why ETL solution providers tend to buy MDM platforms and package the solutions. TIBCO is a good example of this.
Hayler expressed surprised that Informatica had not moved on MDM and predicted it soon would:
"For Informatica, whose core business is to have all these transformation rules to integrate data, it would seem a very natural thing for them to have an MDM platform, and so far they've restricted themselves to buying two data quality vendors, Similarity Systems and Identity Systems. I would imagine this won't be their last move in this area because it would seem extremely natural that they would wish to have an MDM platform. The reason for a lot of the lock-in Informatica gets is because people encode all their transformation rules in Informatica scripts."
So when MDM provider Initiate announced a new partnership with Informatica yesterday, I had to give props to Hayler. "You were right," I wrote, attaching the press release, which promised:
"The two companies have complementary offerings which together enable customers to implement a best-of-breed MDM solution and maximize the value of their enterprise data assets."
Of course, a partnership is not the same as a buy-out, but clearly, there's a convergence going on with ETL and MDM -- and possibly, eventually, EAI.
Alas, the announcement garnered little attention given other Informatica announcements coming out of Informatica World 2008 in Las Vegas this week, including plans to ship a major revision of Informatica's PowerCenter data integration platform and a new SaaS integration offering