Last week Informatica held their Informatica World 2014 (#INFA14) conference in Las Vegas at the Cosmopolitan. These are some of my ┬átake-away’s and general thoughts of the conference for the few day’s that I attended.

  • While it was not disclosed in any of the keynotes, it appears that Informatica is positioning themselves to be the real-time data intelligence company. This was evident with the introduction of SpringBok and Vibe Data Stream products.
  • During the keynotes and throughout breakout sessions there was a lot of chatter on enabling the end user (a.k.a. business) through self-service mechanisms. This was also a special demo during the day 2 keynote of SpringBok. Lot of comments and complaints that IT is slow.
  • Some real statistics on poor data strategies: $157/record lost privacy penalty, privacy penalty will cost more in the future; 50% of the synergies during mergers & acquisitions are IT related (data migrations, system of records, data modeling, etc), M&A data needed for cross- & up selling, big use case for master data; There is more unstructured data in companies then every before, only 12 mins of an employees day is spent in structured data apps.
  • I participated in a hand-on demo for their Vibe Data Stream (VDS). The actually demo was broken, so we talked through the product. VDS is a real-time streaming analytics. Geared to reduce latency for the business user so that decisions can be made closer to real-time of the data. It reads unstructured data and streams to Rule Point, another Informatica product for data visualization and alerts.
  • I randomly had lunch with Eric Johnson, CIO for Informatica, and Kristin Kokie Deng, VP of Enterprise Strategic Services for Informatica. We swapped IT stories, such as what services one other uses and what the experience is like. We discussed their internal implementation of MDM. Both Eric and Kristin were were candid with their implementation challenges which I really appreciated. They really encouraged me to ensure people alignment before technology, such as business alignment, data definitions, governance, and business process changes.
  • Attended a Data Architecture session. Lot’s of focus on self-service analytics and data aggregation. There was a lot of smart data experts that attended this standing room only session, but it felt that there is a lack of innovating thinking from the audience. Many attendees commented on waterfall delivery models which contributed to the perception that there IT department was slow to deliver. A lot of comments on how to engage the business and bring them to the table to help.
  • I participated in a hands-on demo for Data Integration Hub. This product was acquired about 1 year ago and is being used to help Informatica customers decouple their point-to-point ETL integrations. It acts as an JMS queue or topic, but persists the data in a structured database; no in-memory capabilities. The Informatica product manager said he didn’t recommend this product if you’re vision is to be real-time since this was designed to work with large batch jobs from their Power Center ETL tool.
  • Throughout the conference I talked to a lot of Informatica customers, product managers and partners. Informatica has a very dedicated customer base, but all of them had challenges with point-to-point integrations. One customer that I chatted with over lunch had hundreds of point-to-point ETL integrations and a team of 30+ people (contractors and FTEs) to manage. Also, many of the customers wanted to move to real-time integrations, but were unclear how to do this, especially with the large investment in Informatica.
  • Everyone that I shared my companies vision of a API self-service model was very impressed and wanted to implement within their company. However, there were no discussions in any of the keynotes and breakout sessions about enterprise APIs. It felt that the entire focus for Informatica was on real-time streaming analytics.
  • Attended an a few MDM sessions in which everyone one of the panel experts recommended to focus on people 1st, technology 2nd. Socializing business process and governance was top of mind. Identify critical KPI metrics up front before implementation begins in order to measure ROI for your business stakeholders. Recommend to look at the business object layer for definitions. For example, what is a Ticket or Purchase Order. Don’t get saddled with data or field level definitions at first and above all start small so not to boil the ocean at the business layer.

Overall it was a great conference with lot of passionate, enthusiastic and smart Informatica customers, partners and employees. With the market shift towards the Internet of Things (#IoT), it appears that Informatica is refocusing themselves to be the leader in real-time data intelligence. With the depth and breath of software tools and a loyal customer based they are in good position to capitalize.

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