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How Informatica uses the cloud to empower a data-driven enterprise

Overview

Setting the stage for what ended up being the primary theme at Informatica World 2022 — Data is your platform — Informatica CEO Amit Walia walked attendees through two emerging trends: the importance of scalable infrastructure through cloud computing, and how AI and machine learning (ML) are no longer just about automating processes but also about enabling predictive intelligence. These trends, while well recognized in theory, are more challenging for businesses to put into practice, particularly due to the proliferation of data and the number of users looking to access said data, including both technical and nontechnical personas.

Informatica’s solution to data complexity is rooted in one of the company’s core values — platform centricity — but the move to essentially replace Intelligent Data Platform with IDMC, after years of innovation and a slight disruption from COVID-19, is now taking Informatica’s approach to data management and integration to new heights. With IDMC in the cloud, Informatica is better positioning itself to help clients translate data into valuable insights at a level that cannot be realized on premises.

In addition to being cloud-native, IDMC is infused with AI, addressing the other emerging trend called out by Walia — the need for AI-powered intelligence. All Informatica capabilities are built on CLAIRE, an automated metadata engine that processes 32 trillion transactions per month, and tie back into IDMC. While the ROI for AI technology is still hard to justify for many businesses, another key factor in the low adoption of the technology is that many businesses are working with complex, siloed data, which means AI models could fall short and lead to inaccuracies.

CLAIRE is designed to address a range of operational, runtime and automation use cases — from auto-scaling to anomaly detection — and acts as a wrapper around IDMC to enable fully automated data management and governance processes. By bringing the power of cloud and AI into one integrated platform, Informatica uses IDMC to help customers focus on the only thing they truly own in the cloud: their data. The result of a $1 billion, six-year investment, IDMC consists of seven core modules, with its value proposition largely stemming from its modularity and the ability to allow customers to pick and choose capabilities and services based on their industry, business and use case.

Informatica expands platform capabilities, driving additional value for its comprehensive, cloud-native solution

New innovations emphasize uniting IT and business functions to improve efficiency

With IDMC, Informatica has solidified its platform approach, but as cited by various customers, the company’s ability to continually offer new capabilities is what drives additional value, by addressing more horizontal and vertical use cases in the data life cycle. Perhaps the most notable announcement at Informatica World 2022, which seemed to garner particular excitement from product leaders and customers, was the general availability of Informatica Data Loader. Jitesh Ghai, Informatica’s chief product officer, led a demo of Data Loader, which is a free, self-service tool that ingests data from over 30 out-of-the-box systems into Google Cloud’s popular data warehouse solution, BigQuery.

As part of the demo, we saw a scenario play out where a marketing analyst needs access to more data to effectively run a campaign. The hypothetical marketing analyst then accesses the Integration module within IDMC to pull data from Marketo using a drop-down tool to access BigQuery through which data can be loaded in only a few steps. This integration could end up acting as a time-saver for large organizations and speaks to the innovative ways Informatica is getting data into the hands of line-of-business teams.

At the event, Informatica also announced INFACore, which targets more technical users, such as data scientists and engineers, allowing them to clean and manage data in a single function. As a low-code plug-in for popular frameworks, such as Jupyter notebooks, INFACore is designed to improve the productivity of the technical user, but naturally this productivity trickles up to business functions. For instance, after using INFACore to cleanse data through a single function, the data scientist can publish a clean data set to the Informatica Marketplace, where other teams within an organization can access it.

Another key innovation called out in opening talks with Ghai was ModelServe, which allows users to upload, monitor and manage ML models within their Informatica data pipelines. There are many ML models in production, but businesses are still looking for ways to scale them from an operational perspective. In talks with more than one customer at the event, the common interface within IDMC came up as a value-add when attempting to scale a data team, suggesting customers are awaiting ModelServe’s general availability as it will allow users to register and manage ML models directly within IDMC.

Informatica strengthens SaaS portfolio, building in intelligence from the data model up

While Informatica’s platform capabilities get much of the market’s attention, the company also has a broad portfolio of IDMC-enabled SaaS offerings, which play a key role in the data management journey, complementing warehousing, integration and automation. As a native service within Informatica’s Master Data Management (MDM) solution, 360 applications act as a gateway for transforming customer experience in the cloud, something we saw in action through the product demo of Supplier 360 SaaS.

Through IDMC, CLAIRE recognized a defective part from a supplier of a hypothetical company, and teams were able to use Supplier 360 SaaS to identify which customers were impacted by the faulty part and automatically notify customer service so they can launch a refund program to keep customers satisfied. Informatica also released various industry and domain extensions for its 360 applications and will continue to offer new packaged offerings available in a SaaS model, providing customers more ways to onboard and manage data.

Joining the industry cloud bandwagon, Informatica verticalizes IDMC

It is no secret that industry specialization is re-emerging as a leading trend in the cloud space, as a maturing enterprise customer base demands solutions that suit their unique IT and business processes. During the event, Informatica unveiled new IDMC customizations for financial services, healthcare and life sciences. These three offerings join IDMC for Retail in Informatica’s industry cloud portfolio to further address demand for purpose-built solutions that will limit the need for customization.

Findings from TBR’s Cloud Infrastructure & Platforms Customer Research continue to indicate that some enterprises are wary of industry cloud solutions, dismissing them as marketing ploys. Other enterprises, however, find them worth evaluating. For instance, in talks with a representative from a hedge fund, we found that the company initially chose a competing MDM solution because it specialized in asset management with its own specific data dictionary but was torn as it viewed Informatica’s MDM as ahead of the competition in terms of capabilities. We can expect Informatica to expand in other industries, including specific subverticals, with additional data models, custom user interfaces and data quality rules to appeal to these customers.

Continued integrations and go-to-market synergies with hyperscalers help Informatica maintain data neutrality

For a company that markets itself as the “Switzerland of data,” Informatica’s ability to make its offerings accessible across leading cloud platforms is critical. Partnering across the cloud landscape is no longer a differentiator, it is a necessity and something customers clearly find value in as they gravitate toward multicloud environments. During the event, Walia welcomed several partner executives both in-person and virtually to discuss new joint offerings and go-to-market synergies the company is forming with cloud service providers to deliver more choice and flexibility and for joint clients.

      • The ubiquity of Microsoft’s cloud portfolio allows Informatica to provide clients a unified data architecture. Informatica and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) have a well-established relationship, which at its core is focused on migrating data warehouses to the cloud but is evolving and making Informatica relevant across the Microsoft Cloud stack, including Azure, Power Platform and 365 applications. For example, Informatica is typically well known for its integration with Azure Synapse, but the company also integrates with the Dynamics 365 SaaS data model to enable Customer 360 analytics. Expanding its presence throughout the Microsoft Cloud stack, Informatica announced MDM on Azure. With this announcement, customers can deploy MDM as a SaaS offering on Azure via the Azure Marketplace, which could appeal to the large number of Microsoft shops looking to enhance their Azure Data Lakes with a feature-rich MDM solution. Both companies also launched Informatica Data Governance with Power BI, which, as highlighted by Scott Guthrie, EVP of Cloud and AI at Microsoft, brings Informatica’s data catalog scanners to Power BI, allowing customers to have a single view of their data processes from ingestion to consumption. This offering could serve as a more strategic way for customers to modernize their analytics workloads through Azure.
      • Given their respective strengths in data analytics and data management, Google Cloud and Informatica are complementary partners. The Google Cloud-Informatica relationship took a major step forward with the launch of Informatica Data Loader, which could expand client usage of BigQuery and help Google Cloud (Nasdaq: GOOGL) address a wider set of customer needs, including those outside the IT department. In TBR’s own discussions with enterprise buyers, BigQuery is often cited as a leading solution due to its ability to handle petabytes of data at a favorable price point. Walia reaffirmed this notion in discussions with two customers, ADT and Telus, both of which are migrating legacy data warehouses and/or front-end ETL (extract, transform, load) capabilities into their BigQuery instances and using IDMC for cloud-based data management.
      • Oracle awards Informatica preferred partner status for data integration. Informatica and Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) struck a new partnership agreement that offers IDMC on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Addressing the large number of customers running legacy Oracle databases and potentially those that are also deploying on-premises Informatica products, IDMC on OCI provides customers an integrated gateway to the cloud by enabling back-end connections with Oracle Autonomous Database and Exadata Database Service and OCI Object Storage. For example, with IDMC on OCI, customers can import data from legacy Oracle E-Business Suite applications into Autonomous Database and connect to other data sources, such as Azure SQL or Amazon RedShift, through IDMC. As a preferred Oracle partner, Informatica will recommend customers use IDMC with Oracle’s cloud services. Oracle’s EVP of database server technologies, Andy Mendelsohn, walked through numerous incentives to assist customers’ cloud migrations, such as Bring Your Own License, Informatica Migration Factory and Oracle Cloud Lift Services.

Informatica also has close relationships with Amazon Web Services (AWS) (Nasdaq: AMZN), Snowflake (NYSE: SNOW) and Databricks, all of which are expanding their commitments to Informatica to help customers look beyond ETL and handle data in an end-to-end fashion. Given Informatica offers analytics, integration, automation, governance and management capabilities across leading clouds, naturally the company runs up against a high degree of competitive overlap with its partners, which offer similar native tooling as part of a customer’s environment.

However, in talks with customers, the general perception seems to be that the hyperscalers’ capabilities are still relatively immature and that there is also significant value in deploying a vendor-neutral platform like IDMC to avoid vendor lock-in and address the training and skill challenges typically associated with a multicloud environment. While we can expect the hyperscalers to enhance their capabilities, at the end of the day, the primary goal for AWS, Microsoft and Google Cloud is to win compute, so the benefits of partnering with Informatica to capture legacy platform-layer workloads outweigh the downsides of coopetition.

Conclusion

With IDMC, Informatica has fostered a value proposition catered to three core areas: platform-centricity, connecting IT and business ecosystems, and infrastructure agnosticism. The numerous announcements made at Informatica World 2022 show the data management company is building on these strategic pillars by better aligning with cutting-edge trends in the cloud industry, such as industry customization, out-of-the-box integrations and data democratization. With these enhancements in place, along with close partnerships across the IaaS ecosystem, Informatica is positioning itself favorably to assist clients with the large number of on-premises workloads ready to be migrated and modernized in the cloud while enabling the cloud-native enterprise to transition from digital to data-driven.



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TBR launches semiannual Cloud Infrastructure & Platforms Benchmark

As workloads become the most important driver of cloud adoption, TBR’s Cloud Infrastructure & Platforms Benchmark takes an in-depth look at the infrastructure (IaaS) and platforms (PaaS) markets.

Top 3 Predictions for Cloud Infrastructure & Platforms in 2022

As vendors embrace open, hybrid architectures, PaaS emerges as the source of differentation

Vendors adjust strategies as clients ask for open and flexible IT

Customer demand for more open, cross-cloud services will shape vendor investments through 2022. Vendors traditionally known for locking customers in to their technology, including IaaS incumbent Amazon Web Services (AWS), will likely re-evaluate their portfolios and go-to-market messaging in the coming year. This could have lasting impacts on peers such as IBM and Google Cloud, which use openness as a competitive differentiator. For example, this past year AWS took a big leap forward with the general availability of EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service) Anywhere, which allows customers to create and manage Kubernetes clusters inside their data centers.

Along with Outposts, AWS markets EKS Anywhere as part of its hybrid portfolio, which is typically just an extension of AWS cloud services to on-premises environments. However, for many competing vendors like IBM and Google Cloud, hybrid cloud has come to mean supporting customers’ workloads not only on premises but also across competitors’ clouds. AWS could similarly go down this route to better compete and may surprise the market in 2022 by offering EKS on other public clouds. Oracle is another example of a vendor known for confining customers to its cloud stack; yet, as Oracle looks to position itself as the No. 4 cloud leader in 2022, it could slowly embrace deployment methods outside Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). This trend is reflected in Oracle’s newer open-source application development and management platform, which is somewhat comparable to Red Hat OpenShift, and is expected to be deployable to third-party clouds.

2022 cloud infrastructure & platforms predictions

  • Hybrid remains the new norm
  • Bringing cloud to the customer: Distrubuted cloud moves from experiment to niche delivery method
  • IaaS is about scale; PaaS is about differentiation

Learn more in our webinar 2022 Predictions: Cloud

Send me a free copy of TBR’s Top 3 Predictions for Cloud Infrastructure & Platforms in 2022

Telecom Business Research’s 2022 Predictions is a special series examining market trends and business changes in key markets. Covered segments include cloud, telecom, devices, data center, and services & digital.

COVID-19 will fade, but cloud reliance will remain

The COVID-19 pandemic and its wide-ranging effects forced businesses to adjust in 2020 and now into 2021, but these changes will persist much longer than the pandemic. Most businesses made a wide range of changes to their IT strategies over the past year, but there are a number of commonalities. The first commonality is that technology is at the heart of how organizations have adjusted to COVID-19’s effects, to service their own employees and the changing needs of their customers. Cloud-delivered technology, in particular, has been core to providing the speed and scalability needed to support these adjustments in the most agile manner possible. The other commonality in COVID-19 responses is that organizations found a way to support increased technology spending, even in a time of much economic uncertainty. Cloud investments were prioritized during the course of 2020, which is reflected in the overall stability and continued growth of the market throughout the year.

Figure 1

AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform are even more critical to the IT industry

While the market continued to grow and leading firms maintained their momentum, they were not unscathed by the effects of COVID-19. Vendors experienced a dip in revenue growth rates during 2Q20, at the height of uncertainty and pessimism. The dip was driven by businesses pulling back spending in anticipation of a pronounced economic slowdown. Even though COVID-19 infection rates grew worse through the end of 2020, economic expectations recovered and the uncertainty around how COVID-19 would impact business results diminished, putting cloud revenue growth from the leading vendors back on previous trajectories. Though the business strategy and dynamics were much changed, the continued growth of the leading firms was back on track.

In many ways, COVID-19 accelerated but did not actually alter the course of cloud technology’s impact on the IT market. As a delivery method, cloud was already eroding traditional IT and far outpacing the overall growth in spending. Most customers had some level of cloud investment prior to 2020, with many using cloud solutions for mission-critical elements of their enterprises. After a year of dealing with pandemic-driven disruption, cloud utilization has grown significantly. Cloud adoption happened faster than most organizations planned moving into 2020, as business changes forced customers to overcome cultural, budgetary and technological barriers in making adjustments to their operations. The good news for cloud vendors is that this change in behavior should last well beyond the direct impacts of COVID-19. The challenge is how to meet this enhanced level of demand, which requires investment now to get additional data center capacity and services online ahead of increased needs. The market may have reached this place eventually, but both customers and vendors are accelerating their cloud strategies to account for the more prominent role cloud will play in the overall IT market moving forward, even as COVID-19 fades, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Aligning assets with partners’ complementary solutions: 2019 strategy may be critical for Wipro in 2020

As we look at significant changes coming to the IT services landscape and focus on agile shifts toward a post-COVID-19 world, strategies launched in the last 12 months may prove to be critical for some vendors’ long-term success. Understanding Wipro’s February 2019 moves can point to how the company might perform throughout 2020. 

Wipro has significantly expanded its addressable market via alliances and has the opportunity to generate cross-selling momentum for strategic portfolio areas. Given Wipro’s lack of digital scale compared to peers, aligning its assets with partners’ complementary solutions will allow the company to build use cases that aid in direct-sales efforts, provided near-term initiatives focus on appealing to demand for Wipro’s emerging portfolio of value-add digital solutions and services, thereby expanding its wallet share in partner-led engagements.

Just over one year ago, Wipro expanded its alliance with Oracle by launching the QuMic platform, which accelerates integration of Oracle Cloud for clients, supporting migration of clients’ assets while also improving their ability to leverage digital tools and assets. To further strengthen its arsenal/portfolio/set of these digital-oriented solutions and platforms for clients, Wipro and Oracle deepened the partnership in November with the subsequent launch of the RAPIDS Digital Experience Platform (DXP), which caters to the evolving needs of telcos and communication service providers (CSPs). RAPIDS DXP combines Wipro’s existing DXP with Oracle’s Digital Experience for Communications solution to offer a multifaceted platform that provides CSPs with reference solutions to deploy use cases covering next-generation services like 5G, SD-WAN and IoT. Further, RAPIDS DXP offers an integrated digital experience omnichannel solution, allowing telcos to better engage with customers throughout their life cycles, from customer onboarding to customer billing. While the solution still leverages partner technologies, limiting Wipro’s share of the customer’s wallet, TBR believed this approach was a step in the right direction, with the potential for Wipro to increase the applicability of its to new entities — in this case, telcos — undergoing digital transformation initiatives. Further, an updated alliance with Oracle will also provide case studies for Wipro’s sales teams to aid in direct-sales efforts of Wipro emerging solutions, like DXP, which will be critical to the company’s ability to reduce its reliance on partner-led engagements and increase awareness of the company’s offerings among prospective customers seeking digital solutions and services.

One year on, TBR maintains its assessment that Wipro has taken the right strategic approach, even as we continue to look for definitive signs this strategy has begun paying off. In the post-COVID-19 environment, partnering will be even more critical and Wipro may have established an important foundation in February 2019 that will prove beneficial in the latter half of 2020. 

TBR Weekly Preview: March 25-29

We’re in a slower earnings period, which means fewer vendor-centric reports and more benchmarks and market landscapes. And at the end of the week, Accenture gets the early jump on 1Q19, as we analyze the company’s cloud-centric portfolio and overall performance.

Thursday

  • Accenture will kick off the 1Q19 earnings season for services companies. While we expect Accenture’s revenue growth to taper compared to the company’s year-ago performance, investments in platforms such as SynOps, which addresses key pain points such as augmentation of human labor through automation across IT operations processes, strengthen the company’s position for long-term digital transformation opportunities. Additionally, we continue to closely monitor Accenture’s relationship with its Big Six partners, such as the recent launch of Accenture Microsoft Business Group (AMBG). While AMBG is a natural extension of the relationship between Accenture and Microsoft, it raises questions about the future of Avanade. (See Boz Hristov for additional details on Accenture.)
  • In TBR’s 4Q18 Devices and Platforms Benchmark, we found that total benchmarked revenue declined 2.4% year-to-year to $142.6 billion as the device market ran up against global economic challenges, increased device saturation, and reduced consolidation opportunities. The biggest driver of devices revenue decline was sluggish sales for legacy smartphone vendors Apple and Samsung as the Western premium market becomes saturated and device life cycles lengthen. Outside Western markets, legacy smartphone vendors are being pressured by aggressive, more recent market entrants such as Huawei and OPPO, which are eroding share by offering aggressively priced midrange devices with premium features. Outside smartphones, the PC market grew despite silicon shortages. However, TBR predicts the Windows 10 refresh opportunity will begin to wane as PC vendors exhaust worldwide opportunities. Read more about the smartphone, PC, tablet and smart device markets, as well as the impacts of platform and solution trends, such as DaaS, in our full report. (See Dan Callahan for more.)

Friday

  • TBR’s Accenture Cloud report will highlight Accenture’s evolution around key investment initiatives such as Journey to Cloud, as well as the company’s managed services positioning within the infrastructure management domain. Additionally, we continue to asses Accenture’s relationships with cloud buyers through the use of standardized, price-competitive offerings supported by highly specialized and certified talent.
  • This month’s Digital Transformation Insights report focuses on two leading vendors, Accenture and IBM. Using TBR’s extensive coverage of these companies across IT services, management consulting, cloud, software, IoT, and even telecom, we stand these companies side-by-side to examine their financial performances, strategies, investments and approaches to the digital transformation market.

Once again, we have multiple TBR analysts traveling this week, so expect special reports on PwC and Accenture as early as next week.

The 4 P’s of marketing – people, process, partners and platforms – emerge behind AI and compel vendors to adopt S-centric frameworks

 

digital marketing services infographic, 4 P's marketing

Market dynamics will evolve in the next 5 years, with voice and video the core conduits for trusted and tangible AI-based marketing campaigns

The digital marketing services (DMS) market will grow at a CAGR of 16.2% from 2017 to 2022, reaching $125 billion, as organizations across geographies adopt artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled, customer experience-based voice and video solutions to run outcome-based campaigns addressing business pain points beyond brand awareness. Marketing in the moment frameworks will continue to dictate the shift toward hyper-personalization as consumers’ attention becomes the new currency and creates opportunities in areas such as omnichannel delivery and intelligent operations.

The shift from brand awareness to activation and support results in four new P’s of marketing — people, process, partners and platforms — leading to data management issues and opportunities. Winning vendors can adopt “S”-centric frameworks that emphasize closing skills gaps, delivering at scale and being in sync with partners’ visions, and addressing customer data silos through the development of interoperable and secure solutions.

Portfolio and go-to-market transformation and AI solution integration will be among the levers vendors can use to capitalize on a growing DMS market. Feeding the hype of AI could be a double-edged sword if technology and services vendors cannot deliver on the promise to shift the perception of marketing from a cost center to a business value driver.

AI-based voice and video platforms will increasingly take center stage as enablers for delivering campaigns in hybrid marketing environments, helping brands better connect consumers’ offline and online professional, purchasing and social behavior data. Technology partnerships and expertise in integrating platforms such as IBM Watson, Google and Adobe Sensei in the business-to-business segment and Amazon Echo and Google Home in the business-to-consumer segment will be key to services vendors’ success. The inability of vendors to recruit and retain talent with skills in these technologies might hinder market share as vendors are unable to address tasks at speed. Lastly, within the next two years, the broad-based adoption of AI across omnichannel platforms will reduce the need for multiple vendors to support engagements, and will also result in new opportunities in intelligent marketing operations.

For more information, contact Senior Analyst Bozhidar Hristov ([email protected]).

Snapshot: TBR’s 1H18 Hyperconverged Platforms Customer Reserach

Enterprises are seeking the agility and flexibility afforded by cloud environments and are increasingly considering opex-based consumption models for their on-premises private cloud environments. Insights from TBR’s recently published 1H18 Hyperconverged Platforms Customer Research report further detail these trends and the impact they will likely have on the data center infrastructure market and digital transformation.

For more information on Hyperconverged Platforms Customer Research, contact Engagement Manger and Senior Analyst Angela Lambert ([email protected]).