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Gartner Magic Quadrant ranks MDM software vendors

IBM and Oracle offer high-quality MDM software platforms, but they still have plenty of MDM-related improvements to make, according to new Magic Quadrant reports from Gartner Inc.

The biggest master data management (MDM) software vendors have done a good job of building out comprehensive MDM platforms, but they still have some growing up to do, according to new Magic Quadrant reports from Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc.

Two recently-released Gartner Magic Quadrant reports provided evaluations of MDM software vendors that offer packaged applications for managing customer and product data, respectively. According to Gartner, IBM and Oracle are currently the dominant “leaders” in both areas – though they still have room for MDM improvements.

MDM software helps organizations reduce the time and effort associated with managing their most important data. Individual business units within an organization tend to make copies of data for use in various applications and reports – a process that can lead to data discrepancies and unhappy customers. MDM software helps users alleviate these problems by providing a software-based repository of valid and up-to-date “master data” that can be shared by multiple systems and business users.

Gartner reports that due to the sluggish economy, customer demand for MDM software is growing at a significantly slower rate than years past. But it is growing. The analyst firm predicts that the overall market for MDM software will increase from $1 billion in 2008 to $2.9 billion by 2013. Gartner also predicts that by 2010, investments in MDM software will lead to an 80% reduction in costs associated with managing redundant data.

The past year also saw a great deal of consolidation in the MDM software market as vendors sought to boost their MDM offerings through acquisition. Among other high profile acquisitions, IBM bought Initiate Systems and Software AG purchased Data Foundations.

“There has been a lot of consolidation, which has driven a lot of the pure-plays out of the market [and] it has increasingly become a market for bigger, established vendors,” said John Radcliffe, a research vice president and MDM software analyst at Gartner. Radcliffe added that independent MDM software vendors focused on customer data are currently more likely to be targeted for acquisition than their product data counterparts.

Magic Quadrant reports point out IBM's and Oracle’s MDM imperfections

Oracle and IBM may be the leaders in MDM, but they definitely aren’t perfect, according to Gartner.

The MDM Magic Quadrant reports found that over the past year, both IBM and Oracle worked diligently to improve the integration of their MDM products. However, the soon-to-be-released Oracle Fusion MDM software is likely to add confusion to Oracle’s already sprawling MDM portfolio. And IBM’s MDM roadmap appears somewhat muddied now that the company is dealing with Initiate and other acquisitions, according to Gartner.

Gartner said Oracle has a strong focus on MDM and generally does a good job providing customers with the tools needed to execute a clear and cohesive MDM strategy. But it needs to get a better handle on how to serve specific industries. Gartner reports that reference customers gave Oracle mostly average to below average grades in the area of vertical industry expertise.

IBM’s main MDM offerings include InfoSphere MDM Server, InfoSphere MDM Server for PIM and Initiate MDS – three products that arose from three separate acquisitions. While the software packages perform well in their specific market segments, Gartner analysts say overlapping functionality often leads to confusion among current and potential IBM customers.

Customer references cited in the Magic Quadrant for MDM of Customer Data gave Initiate Systems good reviews for understanding how to apply MDM in a business environment. However, Initiate got low scores for data modeling and being slow to respond to requests for new features.

Informatica also dubbed a leader in Magic Quadrant for customer MDM

Redwood City, Calif.-based Informatica Corp. was for the first time named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for MDM of Customer Data.

Primarily known as an independent data integration and data quality software vendor, Informatica added MDM to its portfolio in late January when it acquired Foster City, Calif.-based Siperian Inc. in a cash deal worth $130 million. Informatica later updated the Siperian software and gave it a new name, Informatica MDM v.9.0.1, which was introduced in September.

Gartner analysts said Informatica’s acquisition of Siperian was smart. According to the Magic Quadrant report, Siperian offers a flexible and fully integrated MDM platform that supports various data domains, including party, product and location data. The report goes on to say that Siperian’s biggest strength is in providing MDM for customer data.

Gartner analyst John Radcliffe said that although Informatica’s platform is promising, the company must improve if it wants to pose a significant threat to IBM and Oracle. Some customer references cited in the customer data report gave Informatica low marks on its ability to monitor and report on data quality, while others complained that Informatica MDM was too costly.

“Informatica has a good product and comes up strong, but it’s not executing at the level that they need to compete with IBM and Oracle in terms of market share,” Radcliffe said. “[Informatica is] promising, but still on the way up with more things to do.”

Next Steps

Find out how to get started on MDM with this e-book

Learn how data quality projects support overall master data management

See what direction the MDM market is heading in

Preview the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant ranking of data quality tools vendors

Read about Gartner's 2007 Magic Quadrant report on the product information management systems market

Find out how software vendors have evolved since Gartner’s 2006 data quality Magic Quadrant

Dig Deeper on Customer data integration software

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