Growing up I had an unhealthy obsession with classic American muscle cars. I was primarily a Mopar man, but really anything with enough steel, 300 or more horsepower, and a flashy paint job would do. I spent an altogether ridiculous amount of my youth studying the details of internal combustion engines, transmissions, carburetor cfm charts, gear and compression ratios, fluids’ viscosity and myriad other intricacies to prepare me for weekends under the hood of some monster from Detroit. Every night, you could find me devouring catalogues with page upon page of parts lists with their specifications and prices. One thing that always struck me was how many original parts used in these masterpieces of engineering were designed, developed, and delivered by companies whose badge was not on the hood of the car. OEM parts these were called. Why would these carmakers rely upon relatively unknown third parties to manufacture a huge percentage of the parts used in the cars?
Over the years, I have been able to develop an answer to this question across three dimensions: Cost, Quality, and Timeliness. By relying on discrete manufacturers for component parts, the big auto brands could focus on designing, assembling, and selling cars…not car parts. They could source higher quality parts, at lower cost, with more reliable delivery timeframes from various sources, which then translated into a better finished product for the consumer. The OEM manufacturers were altogether better at making these component parts than the auto manufacturers.
As my attention transitioned from cars to Information Technology, I’ve come to realize that the same principle holds true for engineering any product or service. Sourcing component parts is a strategy that is equally valid for software development as it is for building a car. If a software development shop can license code for non-core capabilities from another group, they can greatly decrease the time to delivery while simultaneously improving the quality and reducing the overall cost of the finished product. By concentrating their efforts on building more differentiation into the core product and partnering for the congruent pieces, a software R&D organization can apply scarce resources to the most effective areas.
Informatica is a company that understands this principle well. Not only do we license third party products to complement our core capabilities with additional features, we offer our products with flexible licensing options to other software and service providers who require data integration to supplement their core applications. With over 140 of the industry’s largest development shops licensing, reselling, and embedding Informatica’s technology in their own products or software-as-a-service offerings, we have developed a world class OEM program. Besides providing these companies the best data integration and data quality technology in the business to embed within their on-premise applications or power their Cloud offerings, another benefit of an OEM partnership with Informatica is the readily available talent who know Informatica’s products. Informatica’s ecosystem provides a market of developers for our OEM partners to build an integrated solution. Additionally, end-customers often have resources already skilled on Informatica’s technology, thereby accelerating adoption of our OEM Partners’ applications or SaaS offerings.
So, the next time you are in your car, look at all the components that come together to make it a completed vehicle. I bet if you look at your own organization’s product/service offerings, you’ll spot an area where you could increase the quality, decrease the cost, or improve the timely delivery by sourcing a component from a firm focused on nothing but that discrete widget or capability. If Data Integration happens to be that particular capability, give me a call.
Stay tuned as I will be posting on several examples of successful Independent Software Vendors that both embed (for on-premise) and host (for cloud-based solutions) a number of Informatica’s industry leading data integration and data quality technologies.