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New Informatica Cloud update promotes business user self-service

The winter release of Informatica Cloud aims to increase business user self-service capabilities while improving data quality.

Informatica Corp., the Redwood City, Calif.-based data management software provider, has rolled out the latest version of its Informatica Cloud data integration software, company officials said.

The Informatica Cloud Winter 2013 update has a newly revamped user interface and self-service capabilities, new master data management (MDM) capabilities, and a host of new and updated cloud connectors.

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The release exemplifies Informatica's ongoing effort to combat data fragmentation, according to Darren Cunningham, its vice president of cloud marketing. He sees cloud-based data integration tools gaining a lot of traction in the IT marketplace. "You've got more of these apps coming into the business [that] often become silos and [don't produce] the return you expect if they aren't able to deliver the information that end users require," he said. "So, security is always at the top as it relates to the cloud, but data integration and all aspects of data management have become even more important ingredients to cloud adoption and success."

Carl Olofson, an analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, echoed Cunningham's confidence in the market for cloud data integration. The need to combat data fragmentation began when companies first start moving to client/server environments over a decade ago, he said. As a result, company data is often scattered across a range of sources, which makes it more difficult to deal with, especially as organizations migrate more operations to the cloud. "It's something people haven't been talking that much about in the past," he added. "But if you're serious about using the cloud as part of your enterprise IT strategy, then you have to be serious about how you're going to integrate what you're doing in the cloud with what else you're doing in the cloud [and] on-premises."

New features in Informatica Cloud Winter 2013

The Informatica Cloud update has a simplified user interface and new search and help capabilities. The overall objective of the new interface is to reduce the number of steps per task and thereby promote business user self-service, Cunningham said. He added that increasing self-service capabilities is one of Informatica's fundamental goals. IDC's Olofson agreed that self-service will be an important aspect of data integration service moving forward, but he added that getting business users to handle such tasks is often easier said than done.

In addition to promoting self-service, Informatica encourages customers to post-product feature requests on its community site, according to Cunningham, who said the new release contains more than 20 new enterprise features inspired by community site suggestions.

Informatica Cloud MDM, a new data management application, is part of Informatica Cloud Winter 2013. It's based on technology the company acquired when it purchased Data Scout. The app aims to clean up duplicate data, remedy data quality problems related to customer relationship management and consolidate data from multiple systems.

The update's new data connectors are a crucial element of Informatica's overall cloud strategy, Cunningham said. Informatica Cloud now offers connectors to Workday, Marketo and Concur applications, as well as increased connectivity for, SAP and NetSuite customers looking to shift back-office functions to the cloud. "An integration [or] data quality solution is only going to be as good as the data it can connect to and bring in," he said, "so, our buyers tend to think in terms of connectors."

While Informatica Cloud offers several new features, Olofson assures organizations that even bigger things are on the horizon, as more and more vendors and users float to the cloud. "I don't think people should look at the present situation and say, 'That's it,' because there is a small fraction of organizations that are really [using] the cloud in a big way today," he said. "But we think that that number is going to grow rapidly, especially as the number of cloud [Software as a Service and infrastructure] providers [increase] in number and variety."

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