For many of us Informatica employees, Informatica World is a whirlwind, during which it can be difficult to process all the important things that we hear from all the customers attending. Now I’ve had a couple days to digest a few things. It’s clear a lot of things have changed since the last Informatica World in 2008 with how many of our customers are thinking about data integration and information management. Some of these I was expecting. Some were surprising—in a good way.
Here are the highly non-scientific, anecdotal slivers of insight I gathered from my various discussions and meetings.
- Data governance is growing in importance. More than half of the customers I met with had some sort of data governance program underway. This is a marked change from just 2-3 years ago, when many people were still trying to figure out what data governance meant.
- Many companies are now focused on addressing enterprise data management more holistically. And while that is not a new concept, I found that a good number had actually organized themselves to tackle that challenge, creating centralized data or information management functions to manage strategic data assets at the enterprise level.
- Cloud is now mainstream (whether you like it or not.) This one was funny. Different people and companies fell along a wide spectrum. At one end, there were a good number of IT folks who said their company did not use the cloud at all, often due to security and governance concerns. (I suspect that in many cases, the business is using some cloud applications—but IT may not know it yet.) And those IT folks thought that cloud was just not “real” yet. ¶ Then there were a good chunk of folks in the middle. They were IT folks who were dealing with “SaaS sprawl”—the fact that the business had gone out and started using a bunch of different cloud/software-as-a-service applications, and IT was now trying to get control of the mess. In these cases, the sprawl was yet another source of data fragmentation in the enterprise. ¶ At the far end of the spectrum, a major trucking company, U.S. Xpress, had absolutely embraced the new cloud computing paradigm. They had virtualized large chunks of their IT infrastructure, including their Informatica data integration environment. And they had put cloud front ends on many of their applications—both reporting and operational. In fact, their environment is so ‘cloudified’, the CTO of this company runs everything on his iPad. He’s able to see real-time reports; run CRM applications; even see where all his trucks are on a Google map with important information such as estimated arrival times and load details.
- Hadoop is still emerging, but it’s got real potential. More customers than I expected were investigating Hadoop as a means of processing “Big Data”, in particular social media data. While they were definitely a smallish minority, it was interesting to hear how quite a few companies are recognizing the importance of data coming from these non-traditional sources, and thus looking for the latest technologies to enable them to handle such data.
The pace of change is only accelerating, and I can’t wait to see what the next Informatica World will bring.