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Still No Masters in Gartner's 'MDM for Product Data' Magic Quadrant
The latest assessment of master data management for product data covers 11 vendors -- and reveals no leaders. Is product data that much harder than customer data?
Posted Sep 3, 2008
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Further complicating matters in the battle between customer data and product data, Gartner’s new Master Data Management of Product Data Magic Quadrant suggests that no true market leader on the product data side has yet to emerge. (In fact, Gartner places no vendors in the top half of its report, comprising the Challengers quadrant as well as the Leaders quadrant.) The report does indicate, however, that the largest companies are expected to dominate the sector within three years -- a period in which Gartner predicts this market will see strong growth, exceeding $1 billion in revenue by 2011. By then, according to the report, major application vendors IBM, Oracle, and SAP will command more than half of the license revenue generated by MDM product data software.

IBM could already be leading the market if not for a change it made in its strategy a couple of years ago, says Andrew White, author of the report. Two years ago, IBM was in the Visionary quadrant and heading toward the Leader quadrant, according to White, but then the company announced it would no longer invest in its WebSphere product center application, instead concentrating all of its efforts on its WebSphere customer center application.

“They were re-architecting and trying to expand the functionality of their customer center product,” White explains. “But the complexities are very different. It’s like taking a CRM application and trying to use it for procurement.” The product application was all about workflows, while the customer center application had time, names, addresses, and other people-specific information. The two applications weren’t meant to be one, White says.

So when IBM chose to stop investing in the development of the product application, it moved from the Visionary quadrant to the Challenger quadrant. However, customers eventually convinced IBM that a dual-application approach (with integration capabilities) was the better option. The company now invests in the development of both, which have been renamed Infosphere MDM server and Infosphere MDM server for PIM. As a result, the refocused company is back in the Visionary quadrant along with Oracle (on the border of the Visionary and Niche Player quadrants), Tibco Software, and Riversand.

If IBM doesn’t emerge as a leader, SAP and Oracle are the most likely other candidates, according to White. Those three companies are the ones that have the breadth and depth in order to lead the market, he adds.

In the Niche Players’ quadrant are:

  • SAP;
  • Heiler Software;
  • Hybris;
  • Stibo -- a new quadrant member in this report;
  • GXS;
  • Enterworks; and
  • QAD (FullTilt Solutions).

With the exception of IBM and Stibo (which improved its sales to the point where it qualified for the report), the positioning of the companies is little changed from last year, according to White. There are numerous other smaller players, particularly in Europe, he added.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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