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Posted by Stefan Ried on July 6, 2010
Informatica is one of the traditional leaders when it comes to data quality and data integration. More than 4,000 customers trust Informatica's software products globally and drive more than half a billion dollars in revenue. Informatica solves many of the traditional data integration challenges, for example, between custom developed apps and packaged ERP solutions. As a result, IT operations professionals and enterprise architects are well aware of Informatica’s solutions. However, what has gone under the radar so far is Informatica's cloud computing approach. For about two years now, Informatica has provided www.informaticacloud.com, a cloud-based integration offering, for customers. Informatica recently announced a new version of this service, and Forrester had the chance to talk to the vendor prior to the launch. The new solution offers an improved service for data quality, B2B data transformations, and a number of continuous improvements. But what really caught my attention is Informatica's well-kept secret of a sophisticated agent technology.
Back-office managers and European customers have ignored the message — until now
CIOs and enterprise architects have always been concerned about data security and privacy. But those most sensitive to the cultural changes brought about by cloud computing are the business unit managers. Front-office processes such as CRM-related applications are considered much less sensitive than your financial data in the back-office. This is one reason why the Informatica cloud service is especially popular for the integration of salesforce.com's data into legacy systems. Forrester introduced the concepts of "cloud orchestration" and "cloud/legacy integration" in our recent middleware market overview.
The second obstacle to overcome is the American culture with regards to privacy. For example, the USA PATRIOT act is a definite no-go for many European customers. They simply cannot accept that the US government could potentially look at data streams into their financial applications. Taking into account both of these obstacles, a European back-office manager will probably not even listen to an American vendor offering a cloud computing integration service — but, if these concerned customers take a close look at what Informatica is unveiling, they actually should!
The Informatica cloud is an example of a cloud service that can be tailored to different target audiences and geographic regions. While ease of use and the prepackaged integration into other SaaS applications are key for a cloud-mature North American market, the European potential is based on the technical architecture of the Informatica cloud. The US-hosted Informatica cloud provides a sophisticated data mapping and data transformation application-as-a-service. No software is installed for the configuration or management of the integrated data flow. But the data itself is not piped in via the cloud server. The cloud application simply configures a small (UI-less) agent that sits on premise. Thus, the real data flows between various on-premise systems or between European-hosted SaaS apps and the on-premise landscape directly. No data flows via the US. Suddenly, the Informatica cloud becomes exciting to back-office managers globally and especially to traditional customers in Europe.
This is an example of how marketing messaging around the same solution needs to be adopted by customer role or region. Forrester frequently helps vendors to tailor their messaging and positioning.
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