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Informatica advances Intelligent Data Management Cloud

The data management vendor added new services to its cloud data platform, including specific offerings for the financial services and healthcare industry verticals.

Informatica expanded the capabilities of its Intelligent Data Management Cloud with a series of new services it introduced on Tuesday at the vendor's Informatica World 2022 conference in Las Vegas.

The data management vendor, which went public in October 2021, has been steadily developing its cloud capabilities in recent years as it has sought to shift from decades-old on-premises software foundations. Informatica's flagship cloud offering is the Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC) platform, which it first unveiled at the Informatica World virtual event in April 2021.

Among the new capabilities and services Informatica has added and that are generally available now is a multi-domain master data management (MDM) service that uses AI automation. The vendor, based in Redwood City, Calif., also released a new data loader to help users get data from IDMC into Google BigQuery for data analytics. Rounding out Informatica's new services are vertical IDMC platforms for the financial services and healthcare sectors.

Informatica's latest updates come as it faces increasing competition from a variety of competitors across the data market, including Alation in the data catalog niche, Talend and Alteryx in data integration, and IBM for MDM.

"Informatica is differentiating itself from the competition as its data integration and intelligence capabilities become even deeper and broader with this week's set of announcements," IDC analyst Stewart Bond said. "Informatica is benefiting from all the reengineering it did to unify products into one cloud-native architecture and platform, as we are seeing capabilities starting to be available as serverless microservices that can be deployed on any cloud."

Filling in gaps in the Intelligent Data Management Cloud

In Bond's view, Informatica's new vertical industry platforms are examples of where the vendor is filling some competitive gaps it has had in the past.

The updates being announced this week illustrate there are more capabilities needed for organizations wanting to take control of their data. But it is also clear that Informatica is not done yet -- there is more to do, with the pace and scale of change in the world of data being a never-ending story.
Stuart BondAnalyst, IDC

But while Informatica is rounding out its portfolio, it still has some missing pieces. One of the gaps that Bond said he sees is with data observability, which is available in IDMC in a limited way and isn't an area of focus.

"Informatica's challenge is making its solutions attractive to the data engineer wanting to quickly build a pipeline without having to invest in a complete data platform," Bond said.

Informatica is approaching the data engineer challenge in part by providing flexible pricing and pluggable features, Bond noted. For the large enterprise that is looking for one vendor to provide all the necessary capabilities for data integration and intelligence, Informatica is a good choice, he said.

"The updates being announced this week illustrate there are more capabilities needed for organizations wanting to take control of their data," Bond said. "But it is also clear that Informatica is not done yet -- there is more to do, with the pace and scale of change in the world of data being a never-ending story."

IDMC for healthcare and finance

There is a clear need for industry-specific cloud data platforms because a general-purpose platform is generic and does not address the particular concerns for a specific vertical market, said Jitesh Ghai, chief product officer at Informatica.

"Every industry has its own data language and its own bespoke data models," Ghai said. "Every industry has its own regulations that it's beholden to, and it has its own business priorities and how it's engaging with customers."

For healthcare and life sciences, Ghai said MDM -- a core component of IDMC -- is a critical capability for enabling organizations to build a patient master data record for healthcare providers as well as for drug discovery trials.

The idea of creating a vertical cloud data platform is not unique to Informatica either. In recent months, data lakehouse vendor Databricks introduced a series of vertical platforms, as did cloud data vendor Snowflake.

Predictive data intelligence comes to IDMC

Informatica also added to IDMC what Ghai referred to as predictive data intelligence.

The data intelligence comes from metadata found across data services on IDMC and uses AI to understand how the data is being used and by whom.

With that information, the predictive data intelligence makes recommendations to users about data sets. For example, the system could be used to automatically generate data quality rules to apply against a data source that a user is interested in, based on how similar data was used by an organization in the past, Ghai said.

"Metadata without recommendations and without insights is just metadata," Ghai said. "So, in the cloud, we are launching a set of capabilities spanning data catalog, data governance, data quality and our data marketplace that deliver predictive data intelligence."

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