Informatica Plans for the Future, Despite Acquisition Predictions

Loraine Lawson

Earlier this year, there was a bit of buzz about whether Informatica would survive the year. Despite reported revenue growth, Informatica's profits were flat, according to CRN, and analysts speculated that the company might become a target for acquisitions-perhaps even by Oracle.


Predicting Informatica's demise as an independent company seems to be something of a perinneal hobby for analysts and trade press. I've found pieces pondering its acquisition from as early as 2005 and as recently as March, when BNET quoted Forrester analyst Ray Wang as saying Informatica is "definitely a hot company and it would be attractive to other companies either for a partnership or an acquisition."


Informatica's chair and chief executive, Sohaib Abbasi, has made it clear he did not mean to go gently down into that good night, promising customers and partners new offerings in the coming year. So far, he's made good on that promise.


In July, Informatica released its second quarter earning report. Revenue was up 3 percent from the 2008 second quarter, and up 4 percent when you compared the first six months of 2009 to 2008. Analysts expect this to translate into an earnings of $0.19 per share for the quarter, according to Reuters.


I'm not a market analyst, so I'm not sure what that will mean for Informatica. But I can tell you this: If Informatica's acquired, it won't be because they didn't give it their all. I say this for two reasons.


First, Informatica is working hard to expand its vendor reputation beyond ETL and move into newer areas, including real-time data integration, high availability and master data management. The company has also pursued an aggressive cloud strategy, starting with on-premise adapters for SAAS solutions in 2007, then Informatica On Demand, a hosted data integration solution in 2008. And last week, Informatica released a beta version of its PowerCenter Cloud Edition, which is based on the on-premise PowerCenter solution.


Another example of Informatica's growth strategy: Informatica itself acquired two other companies this year: A global address validation company called AddressDoctor and an information archival company (aka information lifecycle management), Applimation.


In a recent interview with CIO.com, the senior vice president and general manager of Informatica's Data Integration Business Unit discussed how the archival solution would help Informatica customers reduce hardware and software costs. He also discussed data virtualization and eluded to Informatica's expansion into data quality.


So, there's definitely no moss growing on Informatica's business plan.

Second, as far as I can tell, Informatica is the most vocal of all vendors in the integration community. I find Informatica's technology leaders everywhere, participating in webinars, giving interviews -- including a recent Q&A with IT Business Edge -- pushing success stories and so on.


What's particularly clever about Informatica is that these pieces often focus more on the technology issues than shelling Informatica's products. I frequently read and cite their impressive blog roll, simply because their posts are usually informative without pitching the product. It's a thin line, and most vendors can't handle the balancing act. I can't tell you how many pieces I've passed on simply because the article was a thinly veiled sales brochure, written to make you believe you "had to have" certain software features for SOA or MDM-oh, and, conveniently enough, their product was the only solution offering these features.


Of course, Informatica doesn't always get it right, either. But, my main point is simply this: They're really good at marketing themselves.


Analysts and journalists have been expecting a buyout of Informatica for years now. It'll be interesting to see if this year's buyout predictions come true this or -- to borrow a famous phrase from Mark Twain -- if reports of Informatica's demise are yet again greatly exaggerated.

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