Why Gartner Magic Quadrant Doesn’t Include Multi-Domain MDMs

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    Four Best Practices for Accelerating Time-to-Value of Master Data Management

    Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management of Product Data Solutions, which released Nov. 6, is now available to the rest of us for free reading. It’s a Festivus miracle!

    In true Festivus form, this report includes the airing of grievances: In the very first part of the report, Gartner explains why it still reviews MDM for product data solutions, when the firm is “routinely asked” about a consolidated, multi-domain MDM report? After all, haven’t many vendors shifted to multi-domain MDM?

    Basically, it boils down to this: Gartner doesn’t believe in multi-domain MDM, at least not in any significant way.

    Gartner considers multi-domain MDM too immature for a Magic Quadrant for two reasons:

    1. MDM needs are still very diverse so buying is still focused on specific master data initiatives.
    2. Often, the solutions that are marketed as multi-domain MDM do not conform to Gartner’s definition of multi-domain MDM.

    Now, on the QT, I’ve heard whispers from vendors that a lot of turf politics exist around Gartner reports: who owns what, who covers what, etc. As a former beat journalist who’s been known to bite someone’s head off for stealing a story, I suspect there’s some truth there, but I’m willing to consider that Gartner analysts might be better people than… well, me.

    Plus, I do think Gartner’s reasoning makes sense when you consider how separate enterprise IT is from manufacturing and supply chain IT (a.k.a. B2B technologies). While the trend is for big vendors to buy up solutions and integrate them, true merging of the technologies hasn’t really happened.

    Customer data MDM tends to be used, for obvious reasons, by the traditional business functions of customer service, sales and marketing.

    Operations and manufacturing shops tend to function in their own technology world. They’re the ones who generally purchase product data MDM solutions, which are then used to consolidate supplies or parts.

    And these kinds of use cases can be extremely fruitful. Deployments there can reap tremendous savings: One manufacturer used product MDM to drive down costs by as much as 10 percent, creating a savings of multi-hundreds of millions of dollars annually, according to a article.

    So it’s really not surprising that Gartner reports the MDM product solutions market is growing. The research firm estimates it grew 7.8 percent from 2011 to 2012, and anticipates it will rise 9.3 percent this year to $492 million.

    Product data MDM actually performs better overall when the global economy is flat or growing slowly,  which makes sense, when you consider that the tool will keep you from overstocking the same supply that is just identified by different catalog numbers.

    It’s also a market dominated by mega-vendors and best-of-breed solutions, which I think speaks to the robust acquisitions this space has seen. It’s good news for customers, though, because it may mean you don’t have to choose between the less than stellar option and best-of-breed.

    So, the Magic Quadrant itself does not present a lot of surprises. Oracle Product Hub and IBM Infosphere MDM Collaborative Edition rank at the top of the leaders quadrant, along with Stibo Systems, Riversand and Tibco Software.

    No solution ranked as a challenger, although Informatica’s MDM did rank as a visionary. The niche quadrant is very crowded and includes: SAP Netweaver MDM, Hybris (an SAP company), Informatica Heiler, SAP MDG-M, Agility Multichannel, Enterworks and IBM Infosphere MDM Advanced Edition.

    I found one disappointment in this report: Usually, Magic Quadrant reports include a list of other solutions that didn’t make the quadrant. While a short discussion on that is presented, no list was provided. 

    As always, it’s better to just read the full analysis of the individual solutions. I found free versions available (basic registration information required) from both Informatica and Tibco.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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