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Informatica data management sets a new direction

Five years after going private, Informatica has a new CEO and an updated data platform with new data management capabilities to better enable business users.

Informatica is set on a new direction in 2020, with a new CEO and an updated product lineup with enhanced data management functionality.

New Informatica data management capabilities landed in the vendor's portfolio in December 2019, including enhanced data catalog, governance and analytics features.

Amit WaliaAmit Walia

From a leadership perspective, Informatica ushered in a new CEO on Jan. 2, with Amit Walia taking over the top job from outgoing CEO Anil Chakravarthy. Walia is not new to the company, though, having joined Informatica in 2013 and most recently serving as the president of products and marketing.

Informatica, based in Redwood City, Calif., is well positioned in the market as the new leadership takes over, signifying a new era for the vendor, said IDC analyst Stewart Bond. Bond noted that Chakravarthy became CEO after Informatica went private in 2015, and helped lead it through a transformation in product, licensing and customer performance that better worked with the cloud. He also helped reposition the vendor with a rebranding of Informatica as a data management, governance and data intelligence software company.

"In a way, Anil [Chakravarthy] had to drive the car while the interior, exterior, drivetrain, wheels and tires were being changed, without losing control, and also demonstrate acceleration for the new owners," Bond said. "The person responsible for swapping out the drivetrain, wheels and tires was Amit [Walia], and so it is fitting that he will now take Informatica into the next phase of its history."

Walia's charge now is to demonstrate return on the transformation investment, which will require execution and continued investment as the market runs towards embedding more and more artificial intelligence and automation, Bond said.

Informatica leaders say they will keep innovating

For his part, Walia said the vendor went private to enable investment in digital transformation and the cloud, without the requirements of a public company. The most positive benefit of being privately held is that it has allowed Informatica data management technology to evolve with risk-taking and drive greater innovation in developing products, he said.

As we successfully transitioned to being a private company, we continued delivering significant innovation and product releases to thousands of customers around the world.
Amit WaliaCEO, Informatica

"As we successfully transitioned to being a private company, we continued delivering significant innovation and product releases to thousands of customers around the world," Walia said. "During this time, the company transformed from being a typical enterprise-licensed software company to a true cloud subscription-oriented company, helping customers both in the cloud and in their on-premises and hybrid environments."

Informatica intelligent data platform updates

Among the recent updates in the Informatica data management platform is the Enterprise Data Catalog (EDC) 10.4 release that became generally available in December 2019. The new version includes enhanced metadata scanners for popular business intelligence tools, databases, data warehouses and metadata catalogues.

The data catalog ingests metadata, not data, explained Ronen Schwartz, senior vice president for data integration and cloud integration at Informatica.

"We have pre-built native metadata scanners for all types of enterprise systems across cloud and on-premises," Schwartz said. "EDC leverages these metadata scanners to connect to different data sources and ingest the metadata for the data in these systems."

EDC also works with both on-premises and cloud data lakes and Schwartz noted that Informatica has many customers who have deployed EDC to catalog data in data lake environments. One area that EDC doesn't currently include is Kafka event streaming support, though Schwartz noted that Kafka streaming support is on the EDC roadmap for 2020.

Another key part of Informatica's recent update is the launch of the Axon Data Marketplace, a feature of the Axon Data Governance platform.

"Axon Data Marketplace is a curated business user portal over the same metadata catalog maintained by Enterprise Data Catalog," Schwartz said. "The data governance team has the opportunity to provision access through Axon Data Marketplace to ensure that policies are adhered to while speeding up the data pipeline."

With the introduction of Axon Data Marketplace, non-technical business users benefit from an interface that provides context for data, Schwartz said.

"Depending on the level of data literacy of the business user, conventionally their access to data assets would be mediated by a more technical role, which adds friction and cost to the process of data access and delivery," Schwartz said. "Marketplace provides a channel for direct data access, leveraging the business context provided by data governance to facilitate findability, allowing the business user to self-serve and lowering the cost and time of data access."

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