Informatica PowerCenter 5 Enables Enterprise Data Integration

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Informatica PowerCenter 5 Enables Enterprise Data Integration
M. Reed - April 5, 2001

Event Summary

Informatica Corporation (NASDAQ: INFA), a provider of e-Business analytic software, has announced the availability of Informatica PowerCenter 5, an enterprise data integration platform for the deployment and management of analytic applications and data warehouses. The vendor states that the Informatica PowerCenter 5 suite "is designed to be a high-performance, scalable platform employed to meet the most demanding requirements of global companies and rapidly growing e-Businesses".

"Large-scale enterprise and e-Business customers face unique challenges: more data in more complex environments with less time to get it right," said Gaurav Dhillon, CEO of Informatica. "Informatica provides analytic software to help companies better understand their operations, customers and suppliers so that they're able to grow their businesses and improve operating performance."

The Informatica PowerCenter suite includes new releases of the company's flagship data integration products, Informatica PowerCenter 5 and Informatica PowerCenter 5 Data Integration Hub. In addition, the family includes new connectivity options such as Informatica PowerConnect for Siebel and Informatica PowerConnect for IBM MQSeries (which includes real-time data integration capabilities), as well as enhanced versions of Informatica PowerConnect for SAP R/3 and Informatica PowerConnect for PeopleSoft. The new architecture also provides native support for leading e-Business data types, such as XML and clickstream, as well as "substantial increases in performance and scalability". Together, these connectivity options should allow companies to integrate their disparate operations while leveraging their existing IT investments.

Evidence of increased acceptance within the marketplace is shown by Informatica's Q4 2000 numbers, which show a 150% increase in revenues over the previous year. In addition, revenues for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2000 were $154.1 million, an increase of 147% over fiscal year 1999. Informatica also signed 123 new customers, including Ariba, BMW, Kaiser Permanente, and Sun Life Assurance. This brings the total number of new customers signed during 2000 to 485.

Market Impact

The new platform products from Informatica are designed for what one vendor describes as "e-Business infrastructure enablement" (Informatica calls it "enterprise data integration"). They are similar in many ways to the product offering from Ascential Software in partnership with Torrent Systems, which was also recently announced. Other vendors, such as IONA Software, have also made moves into the "e-Business enablement" arena, often by acquiring other vendors with specific expertise, such as the handling of XML data. (For more information about IONA, see IONA purchases Netfish Technologies (And Much, Much More).

The goal of all these products is to provide fast analysis of vast amounts of data, such as that generated by clickstreams and XML inputs. The emphasis is on the fast, since generating useful aggregated data for analytical analysis in a reasonable (read really short) amount of time requires tremendous system resources and well-designed software (including caching and parallel processing capabilities). The vendor that provides the most painless solution to this huge problem will realize greatly increased market share in the e-Business arena and leverage to further refine their offerings, form partnerships with system integrators, and become a preferred solution for major consulting firms.

User Recommendations

Customers evaluating data integration and analysis solutions should include Informatica PowerCenter 5 on a long list of candidates. Some of the other offerings that should be considered come from Ascential Software, IONA Software, Sybase, Microsoft, and Oracle. Some of the Enterprise Application Integration vendors such as webMethods may also be considered. Care should be taken during the vendor RFI stage of the selection process to ensure that the appropriate connectors (adapters, interfaces) for the required software packages/platforms are supplied "out of the box" (rather than implemented with custom consulting).

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