Forget short track. If you want fast-paced change, watch the master data management market.
After Informatica nabbed Siperian and IBM bought out Initiate, I spoke with Forrester Rob Karel about the consolidation in this space. He said Siperian and Initiate were the most mature players in the MDM pure-play space. He didn't even discuss SAS' DataFlux, which ranked fairly low-just above SAP and VisionWare-on the August 2008 Forrester Wave for Customer Hubs.
But this week, DataFlux announced a new platform -- DataFlux Data Management Platform -- that may make it a serious contender with data integration and MDM heavyweights.
I talked with DataFlux's president and CEO, Tony Fisher, last week about this new platform. He stressed that it will allow users to manage all the elements of data-quality, governance, master data, integration-from a single interface.
Actually, I should note that the DataFlux Data Management Platform includes several products, including the DataFlux Connect, which provides integration connectors for business applications, including SAS (obviously), SAP and Siebel. You don't have to purchase all the products together-but they're built to be integrated in the single interface. BeyeNetworks has a great rundown on what's included and the separate products.
The new solution also takes a sort of "baked-in" approach to data governance, which is an oft-neglected issue. It includes governance "templates" organizations can use or customize.
It's also designed to be easier for business analysts to use, which should off-load some of the more mundane tasks from IT. In that regard, it sounded a bit like Informatica 9-a fact I noted to Fisher. "You did not just say that," he responded, and then proceeded to outline the ways the two products are similar and different. Of course, one substantial difference: The DataFlux product already integrates the MDM functionality. (Look for our full discussion to appear in the Interviews section of IT Business Edge next week.)
The consensus among the analysts seems to be that this new offering makes DataFlux much more competitive-although there did seem to be some question about whether or not companies would be willing to replace their investments with a platform that combines all in one. As Ray Wang, an analyst and partner with the Altimeter Group, told IDG, "... the reality is that while DataFlux can offer customers one complete solution, many customers have different parts already."
But while you may not want to rip out the pieces and replace it with one solution right now, convergence seems to be where the market is headed, Gartner's Ted Friedman told Information Management:
"The current discrete markets for data integration tools, data quality tools, and master data management solutions are converging over time, and the announcement by DataFlux is yet another indication of this convergence. In particular, buyers are distinguishing less between data integration and data quality tools, viewing these two capabilities as inseparable."
With this new solution, DataFlux is now among the first to get there-providing an interesting twist on what was starting to look like a big vendor, consolidated market, and it means this is a solution to be taken seriously, according to Karel, who told Information Management:
"Executed properly, it can effectively put DataFlux in the same conversation when evaluating combined data management platforms like those from IBM, Informatica, and SAP BusinessObjects, all of which have had fairly well integrated data integration and data quality capabilities for some time now."
DataFlux has its eye on the mid-market, according to Fisher, with a starting price of $100,000 to $150,000.