The most likely IT scenario for business and consumer settings is multiple, loosely-coupled environments of different types of devices operating under different software via different types of networks with differing protocols, all developing and reporting different types of data.

The currently popular terminologies for this reality are the “Internet of Things” and, a bit more accurate, the “Internet of Everything.” Frankly, it will not be, and cannot be, just one Internet of anything; the reality has to be “Internets of Internets of Anything.” Not the most catchy meme, but factual nonetheless.

In such a business and IT reality, a critical key to safe and effective business operation, management, and competitive ability has to be the capacity to make widely-disparate contextual and qualified data available, in the form(s) needed, within and between systems being used or contemplated, while making sure that the data itself is safe and secure. It was with this scenario in mind that Saugatuck SVP Bruce Guptill participated in briefings, executive meetings, and discussions with customers and partners at the 2014 Informatica World event (#INFA14) this week in Las Vegas.

Informatica’s bottom line: what we are experiencing, and what will be the future of business IT, should more properly be considered as an “Internet of Master Data Management (MDM).” We believe that the sentiment is spot-on, but also that the reality will be an unpredictable environment of “Internets of MDM” that enable effective management of multiple Internets of Internets of anything, and which are still at least several years in the future, complicating sales plans for Informatica, its allies, and its competitors.

Why is it Happening?

Informatica has been noted in our research to be an aggressive, prescient, and pragmatic provider in the data management space, shifting and adapting its initial strategy from on-premises data integration software to a combination of Cloud-based integration and management platform and services that work in hybridized environments. The INFA14 event announcements, briefings, and discussions emphasized this, and also reflected the loosely -coupled, boundary-free “IoIoE” reality that is already in effect in most situations. They also indicate how being prescient does not necessarily translate to “mainstream.”

What Informatica announced and discussed included the following:

  • “All Things Data.” First in his opening keynote address, and then in more detail in a briefing with Wall Street and IT market analysts, company CEO Sohaib Abbasi mapped key data and IT market developments to Informatica’s strategy, development, and rollouts, with the net message being that his focus, and the company’s positioning, is one of “all things data.” In short, data is where the greatest business value is, where the technology usability/utility should be, and where management should focus.
  • Intelligent Data Platform. In that vein, Abbasi announced development of what the company calls its Intelligent Data Platform. The specifics are widely available via web search; it includes three layers of function, including Informatica’s Vibe Virtual Data Machine, a scalable Data Infrastructure layer for Cloud, Cloud+Cloud, and Cloud+On-premises access and delivery via metadata analysis and management; and a Data Intelligence layer, which enables repurposing of that metadata for improved data management capabilities.
  • Project Springbok. A key aspect that will define Informatica’s success or failure with the Intelligent Data Platform (IDP) is the company’s mantra of “self-service” data, encapsulated in the just-announced Project Springbok. Building on its Vibe-enabled “map once, deploy anywhere” approach, Springbok aims to deliver adaptable, user-initiated “Data harmonization” with “intelligent guidance” that enables business users to prepare, provision and consume data anywhere on anything with anything.
  • Secure@Source. What Saugatuck considers as the most important INFA14 announcement – and which we felt was not presented in a context that illustrated its vast potential – was the “Secure@Source” data protection scheme, expected to be in beta through 2014. The scheme enables identification, tracking, masking and otherwise protecting data as a resource from the inside out, rather than via the traditional perimeter-oriented, outside-in approach used today – often ineffectively, and certainly inefficiently. Saugatuck is in complete agreement with Informatica CEO Abbasi in that, in an environment of interconnected everything, “there is no more perimeter.” Perimeter approaches implement layers of complexity for protecting devices – not data. When the data needs to be everywhere, protecting every device, and every interface between them, is overly complex and unmanageable (1361RA,Verizon’s Data Breach Report: Is Cloud the Data Security Solution?, 02May2014).
  • An Internet of MDM. Informatica’s overall vision is one of “lakes” of data, pooled and shared without internal boundaries. We believe the more accurate vision is one of a continuous ocean of data, circling and enveloping its users and uses, lacking any but the most abstract boundaries, and containing a practically unlimited variety of useful bits. One cannot control the ocean, or the uncountable bits within it, but one can harness pieces for effective use in small amounts. Getting the right amounts of the right bits to the right places in controllable, clean, and useful formats, across potentially vast distances and likely widely dissimilar applications when needed, requires effective global management strategies, tools, and operations within a “master” context that defines ability and success – i.e., a Master Data Management approach. But the practically unlimited variety and changing scope is beyond the ability of a single MDM approach; the most effective and efficient approach will be the implementation and management of multiple internets of MDM.

Click here to read the Market Impact.

This blog was originally published on Saugatuck's Lens360 blog on May 16, 2014. Published with permission.