With our Informatica9 World Tour in full swing, I have found the last month to be extremely exhilarating meeting clients across North America, South America, Europe and Australia. I have met with banking clients in New York, major telco operators in Brazil, government institutions in Sweden and retailers in Australia.
Several people have asked me if there have been any major differences from region to region. My observation is “yes … and no”. Let me explain:
Everywhere I have been, there has been an acceptance to our message – data matters even more today than ever before. Indeed customer after customer has reiterated the importance of managing data and driving value from data. In Brazil I met with companies that were struggling to load live operational data into their data warehouses – a situation that is no different to the largest institutions I meet in North America. For them, being able to provide their businesses with live real-time operational data is a major issue and the response to using our Informatica9 Data Services to augment their data warehousing technologies has been encouraging. I also met with the CIO of a major energy company and found a person facing similar challenges to companies elsewhere – lowering IT costs, driving operational efficiency, migrating vast amounts of data into global SAP deployments and ensuring that trustworthy data is flowing efficiently around his company.
I was also delighted to attend our official office opening in Stockholm, Sweden. Here we presented to a room overflowing with customers, partners and prospects. Again, talking to banks, pharmaceutical companies and government institutions elicited the same response – data is important and is currently trapped inside a complex mass of applications. Business-IT collaboration in driving data quality was top of mind for many in the room. Interestingly I was also reminded how slowly a brand evolves – many people were totally unaware of how far we have come in broadening our portfolio from the early ETL heritage to data integration and beyond!
From Sweden I travelled to Australia and presented at our World Tour events in Sydney and Melbourne. Again, I heard the same issues – data trapped inside applications, IT trying to be more agile and businesses struggling to deliver trusted, timely data … and companies unaware of our broad portfolio. I met with a major advertising company looking to lower IT costs by archiving data out of operational systems. Another major retailer I met with was using our data quality solutions to improve supply chain efficiency, while an international bank was looking at how to improve customer service at point-of-entry. In each case the conversation started with agreement over the importance of data, and the need to simplify and focus on the customer experience.
That said, there were some differences worth noting: The economy seems to have affected different regions in different ways. I’d say that Australia appeared least affected – although the newspapers and TV stations were all talking about the “GFC” (otherwise known as the global financial crisis). Sweden seemed upbeat, but has obviously been affected over the last year, while my sense of Brazil is a country still very much focused on driving operational efficiency and reducing costs. In Australia it was surprising to find government institutions that were ahead in some areas (such as using Identity Resolution for tax collection and Border Security), while still quite a long way behind in terms of ETL processing (in some cases having built rudimentary solutions by hand that were clearly first generation capabilities).
The other thing I found quite surprising was the cloud – Brazil seemed totally oblivious as to what is happening everywhere else on this planet! I always ask questions relating to cloud adoption at all conferences I speak at – and never have I been received with zero hands being raised in answer to such a topic! I have no doubt that it is coming – watch out Brazil!!
Attendance at our World Tour events has exceeded expectations everywhere and I have heard from my colleagues who have presented in Beijing, Singapore, Toronto and London a similar message – data matters more than ever.