When it comes to cloud integration – there are basically three larger vendors to watch – Tibco, Software AG and Informatics. The latter timely released it’s Winter 2014 of the Informatica Cloud family of cloud based integration and data management solutions. So time for a news analysis on the press release of November 12th 2013.
Informatica timed this pretty well, kudos to the marketing people for seizing the timing and the developers for providing the release on time, at the eve of the largest IaaS vendor user conference, AWS reinvent and a week before the user conference of Informatica's largest cloud integration partner – Salesforce.com. And with over 60 billion monthly cloud transactions – there is certainly relevant data moving across the cloud on the Informatica platform.
So what is being announced to come in Winter 2014?
Cloud Integration Innovations: Driving Productivity in Real Time
Informatica Cloud Winter 2014 introduces new advances in real-time data and applications integration, while also placing more productivity-driving power in the hands of line-of-business users. These advances include:
Unifying Cloud data, service, and process integration – New service and process integration functionality enables users to build standards-based, advanced real-time integrations in the cloud across application services, processes and systems. The model- driven design approach enables LOB process analysts and integration developers to be highly productive developing service orchestration and process automation applications with improved collaboration and without requiring specialized development skills. Integrations developed on Informatica Cloud can be exposed as REST APIs to enable seamless access to processes and data to any consumer application, including mobile applications, web mashups and business partners.
MyPOV – With a lot of cloud purchasing power residing in the LOB it is a good move by Informatica to support a closer to the LOB enabled integration.
Crowdsourcing integration processes – New Global Repository expedites sharing of reusable cloud integration processes within the enterprise or across enterprises to increase development productivity, foster collaboration on complex business processes and accelerate time-to-develop and deploy integration projects.
MyPOV – There is a lot of dynamic and even more hype around crowdsourcing. But at some point this trend will take off and be relevant. Most likely more with business users than with technical users – so it’s a good step for Informatica to enable repository based re-use. And it’s easy – it’s all in the cloud already…. And it’s a good monetization option for customers and partners alike. We are waiting to see LOB execs haggling and trading their Informatica integration assets at a user conference. Seems far out – but we think we may see this come sooner than most vendors think.
Seamlessly integrating interdepartmental processes – New Mid-Stream Writer empowers users to create advanced data flows enabling business processes that span departments and their individual cloud applications (e.g., Salesforce CRM, Marketo, Workday, etc.) for increased business productivity.
MyPOV – The capability to influence and transform data in the middle of a integration flow is very powerful. We need to learn more on the specific capabilities but it’s certainly a powerful and elegant feature for the Informatica Cloud.
Extending Salesforce Outbound Message Support with Custom Integration Templates to easily implement re-usable integrations triggered by events in Salesforce.
MyPOV – A key feature to understand better what is happening inside of Salesforce. We will have to see what Informatica will be able to offer beyond messaging in upcoming releases.
New Cloud Automation Enhancements: Increasing Mobility and User Productivity
Natively integrated with Salesforce, Informatica Cloud Extend enables business users to create and deploy custom guides that automate Salesforce CRM processes and ensure that best practices are followed. Informatica Cloud Winter 2014 introduces new productivity features to Cloud Extend, including:
Increased mobility – The Cloud Extend iPhone mobile app, previously available as a preview release, is now generally available. A new Cloud Extend Android mobile app is now available as a preview version.
MyPOV – The appetite to consume all things on mobile devices does not stop for integration data, process and status. A good move by Informatica.
Simplified guide creation – Users can now easily create embedded sub-guides from within a parent guide that will use them, as well as quickly view and navigate to all guides that embed a particular sub-guide.
Skip-able Automated Steps – Users are now able to use a “skip button” to sidestep any automated process steps (e.g., “Do you want to create a contact?”) not specifically required for the task at hand.
MyPOV – Giving users more pre-configured options to control integration flows makes Informatica Cloud more attractive as the LOB tool of choice when it comes to integration.
Cloud TDM Enhancements: Safeguarding Sensitive Data in Cloud Application Sandboxes
Earlier this year, Informatica introduced a unique Informatica Cloud Data Masking service that reduces the risk of data breaches during application development and testing. Informatica Cloud Winter 2014 delivers enhancements in this increasingly important arena to help make development on the Force.com platform even more productive, including:
Enabling developers to quickly select and mask related Salesforce objects and move them into the Salesforce sandbox for testing.
MyPOV – Kudos to Informatica for making a key cloud problem easier. Masking of data for test and feasibility reasons is a painful and burdensome process that will certainly be welcomed by organizations seeking cloud projects.
Cloud Data Quality Services: Control the Accuracy, Consistency and Completeness of Data
Informatica Cloud Data Quality Services enable organizations to take control of the accuracy, consistency and completeness of their data-driven operations with a low-cost, per-transaction subscription. These SOAP-based web services are easily consumed by any analytical or operational applications, or used as discreet data quality rules within any business process. Also pre-defined data quality rules standardize, cleanse, validate and enrich data for all industries. In addition, specific data quality rules for the healthcare and financial services verticals are also included in this release.
MyPOV – For Informatica to expand on their existing MDM and data quality tools is a good move. The absence of ‘user’ in the above press release paragraph maybe an omission – or otherwise hinting for a more complex skill set to be required to leverage these services. More details will be needed.
A substantial release for Informatica, that propels their offering further as one of the leading cloud integration vendors. Focussing on the LOB and making it easier to integrate between public cloud and on premise is a fast growing market demand that Informatica is positioning itself well for.
Whichever vendor will be able to simplify this complex process enough to empower a non technical LOB user – will be on the path for victory for cloud integration.