Informatica today launched the Cloud Data Marketplace, a new service designed to enable organizations to more easily find, share and use data for analytics, business intelligence, operations and machine learning.
The introduction of the Cloud Data Marketplace comes just a month after Informatica went public for the second time, with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol INFA.
Part of the reason why Informatica once again became a public company is its growth in the cloud and in particular with its Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC), unveiled in April. The vendor has been steadily expanding the Intelligent Data Management Cloud in 2021, adding data governance and data catalog services in July.
The Cloud Data Marketplace is the next step, extending Informatica's data catalog into a marketplace for data. The initial release of the platform, available now, is for users to find data within their own organizations; it also provides the ability to pull in approved external data sets.
Stewart Bond, an analyst at IDC, said his research firm has long expected that a technology similar to the Informatica data marketplace would emerge that would enable business users to find and acquire data as easily as they would shop for products online.
Scott BondAnalyst, IDC
"Modern data environments include highly distributed, diverse and dynamic data," Bond said. "That makes it difficult to find the best data to solve a problem or make a decision and use it appropriately within the guardrails of regulatory compliance. "
Informatica Cloud Data Marketplace: New version of an older idea
Bond said the data marketplace is a business user-friendly data search and acquisition facility that uses data intelligence collected and curated by the Intelligent Data Management Cloud platform.
"It may seem familiar to products Informatica has had in the past, because it is," Bond said.
He explained that Informatica also has a data marketplace that is tightly coupled to the on-premises Axon data governance product, and there are some similarities with Informatica's Enterprise Data Catalog (EDC).
The new data marketplace is a fully cloud-native system available independent of Axon and differs from EDC in that the marketplace is business user-oriented, whereas EDC is oriented toward a technical user, Bond noted.
"Informatica is also not the only software vendor with a marketplace that allows business users to shop for data," Bond said. "But Informatica can differentiate itself from others by connecting automated data provisioning capabilities in the broader IDMC platform to the marketplace workflows."
Those workflows can help businesses integrate the data into the tools they are using for data analysis and business operations.
How the Informatica Cloud Data Marketplace works
David Corrigan, Informatica's general manager for data governance, quality and privacy, said the goal with cloud data marketplaces is to provide what an intuitive user experience for searching and effectively using collections of data sets.
The cloud data catalog capabilities that Informatica released in July are foundational to the new Cloud Data Marketplace, Corrigan said.
Organizations need to be able to discover and understand their data sets from a technical metadata point of view. That's what the data catalog does as it scans and discovers the lineage of data to profile and classify it so it can then be searched and found in a service like the new Cloud Data Market Marketplace, Corrigan said.
"Data catalogs themselves obviously have search and browse capabilities to look through all those data sets, but they tend to be more focused on technical users," Corrigan said. "The extra step that we've got done with marketplace has really been focused on the usability of data, with things like user ratings, descriptions of data sets."
The new marketplace isn't just about data sets, the vendor said. Informatica also designed it to be a service for sharing data analytics and machine learning and AI models. Machine learning relies on having good datasets and the ability for users to find the right model and relevant data in the marketplace is important for organizations, Corrigan said.
Corrigan also said the platform provides visibility for administrators to understand what data is being used and by whom. Understanding the usage data also helps to inform the Cloud Data Marketplace to recommend useful data to new users searching the service.
"We're driving the user experience with recommendations of data sets of what's relevant to users," Corrigan said. "That's important because the types of users that use a marketplace don't want to search through really long search lists and catalogs, but they want are things that are presented to them in the right context."