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Informatica adds free, no-code data integration tool
As part of its effort to make data management available to more than just data experts, the vendor is offering new free and low-cost tools that require little or no code.
Informatica on Tuesday launched a free, no-code version of its data integration capabilities designed to make the vendor's tools accessible to a new audience of potential users.
Based in Redwood City, Calif., Informatica is a data management vendor whose platform is called the Intelligent Data Management Cloud.
Among its capabilities is data integration, which enables customers to extract, transform and load (ETL) their data from various sources into cloud data warehouses and lakes where the data can then be used for modeling and analytics.
In May, the vendor unveiled industry-specific tools designed for financial services and healthcare organizations.
Now, Informatica is launching Informatica Cloud Data Integration-Free and Informatica Cloud Data Integration-PayGo, which are standalone versions of the Intelligent Data Management Cloud's data integration features.
Informatica Cloud Data Integration-Free is a no-code ETL/ELT (extract, load and transform) tool that customers can use at no cost if they don't process more than 20 million rows of data or reach 10 processing hours per month.
The PayGo version offers the same capabilities as the Free version plus some enhanced functionality, without any processing or time limits.
Should users upgrade to the PayGo version, they can do it with a credit card rather than through the more extensive sales and onboarding process required to deploy the entire Intelligent Data Management Cloud. Pricing is based on consumption.
Unlike an enterprise deployment that might cost an organization $50,000 or $100,000 for an annual contract, PayGo users will likely pay a few hundred dollars, up to about $2,000, according to Jitesh Ghai, Informatica's chief product officer.
One goal of the two the Cloud Data Integration versions is to enable non-technical employees within organizations -- such as marketers and salespeople -- to build data pipelines. Another goal is to attract departments within large organizations and small- and medium-sized businesses that may not have the budget for an expensive data management platform, the vendor said.
While Cloud Data Integration-Free and PayGo don't add significant new technological prowess to Informatica's existing data integration capabilities, the new versions are nevertheless significant, according to analysts.
"The biggest part of this announcement is 'Free,'" said Stewart Bond, an analyst at IDC. "Informatica already had cloud data integration, but they are now offering it at a 'freemium.'"
He added that Informatica peers, including DBT Labs, Fivetran and Matillion, also offer low-cost or free data integration capabilities. The launch of Cloud Data Integration-Free enables Informatica to compete on pricing.
Stewart BondAnalyst, IDC
Where the vendor is potentially separating itself from its competition is with its no-code capabilities, Bond continued.
"A differentiator here is that Informatica is offering a no-code solution, whereas some of the alternative competitive solutions require code," he said. "No-code enables business users with data integration functionality, and the 'Free' gives them the opportunity to leverage it without needing a lengthy procurement process."
Similarly, Stephen Catanzano, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, a division of TechTarget, said that offering its Cloud Data Integration platform at no cost is significant for Informatica.
He noted that while there are usage limits on the free version, they're at a high enough level that individual departments within large organizations or SMBs can remain under those limits and get the benefits of Informatica's tools without substantial expense.
Should the new users then want to expand usage, the option exists to easily graduate to the PayGo version.
"What's new and unique is the free services," Catanzano said. "It's significant to enable a new market of users within a company, such as the marketing department which many not have a budget for this. [Informatica's] idea is to get them hooked so they can show management and say they need a budget to expand."
Competitors offer similar tools but not the same level of free services, he added.
"There's no real new technology here for them or the market," Catanzano said. "It's really a new marketing and enablement positioning."
The launch of the Cloud Data Integration versions is part of a strategic decision Informatica made in 2022 to expand beyond its enterprise-level capabilities and add features to make data management more broadly available, according to Ghai.
In May 2022, Informatica launched a free data loading tool that enables users to load data into the major cloud data warehouses. Now it's adding a free tool -- with an option to upgrade for a cost -- that handles the next part of the data management process.
"Data loading was the tip of the spear," Ghai said. "Once you load the data, you need to process and curate the data and get it ready to run reports against. That requires integration, either ETL or ELT. That's what we're launching now."
Beyond a drag-and-drop interface that eliminates much of the complexity of data integration, Informatica's new tools include augmented intelligence capabilities that provide users with recommendations, Ghai continued.
"That supplies the business logic required to build data pipelines," he said.
Now that Informatica is offering free versions of its data loading and integration capabilities, it plans to add more free and low-cost features aimed at new users with additional data management tools, according to Ghai.
Master data management, data quality and data cataloging are all areas where Informatica offers enterprise-grade tools that could be offered in new ways to attract new customers.
Bond, meanwhile, noted that data governance is always an issue when a new audience of users is added.
With large organizations potentially adding a host of non-technical users and SMBs perhaps onboarding with Informatica for the first time, system administrators will need to be careful. They'll need to implement guardrails that simultaneously protect their organization's data from potential misuse while also enabling new users to confidently work with their organization's data.
"The problem organizations will face, potentially, is governance of data integration technology," Bond said. "That is not Informatica's issue but one of control that organizations will need to manage."
Eric Avidon is a senior news writer for TechTarget Editorial and is a journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He covers analytics and data management.