As services-oriented architecture (SOA) becomes a mainstay across many enterprises, organizations look toward data integration to answer questions and solve silo issues when it comes to business intelligence and master data management initiatives. In fact, according to the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Integration, data integration tools are rapidly becoming part of holistic data suites, thanks in part to vendor consolidation and the trend toward platforms. And we're not done yet: The trio of Gartner analysts behind the report -- Ted Friedman, Mark Beyer, and Andreas Bitterer -- maintain that further mergers and acquisitions in the market are likely as "smaller vendors with valuable technology continue to be subsumed into larger entities to form more complete data integration tools portfolios."
The key players remain the same as last year; in fact, no vendors have been added since the last Magic Quadrant, and only two -- Cognos and Business Objects -- were dropped, following their acquisitions by IBM and SAP, respectively. Both of those larger vendors are now in Gartner's Leaders quadrant, which this year comprises the following three vendors:
- Informatica; and
- SAP-Business Objects.
IBM pushes forward in terms of completeness of vision; however, Informatica, also a leader, slightly edges ahead in its ability to execute. In addition to improving their traditional data integration tools, the leaders are also beginning to offer newer capabilities, specifically in the area of unstructured data, according to the report.
In the face of the Leaders' stranglehold on the market, the vendors landing in the Visionaries quadrant are opting to differentiate on newer techniques, the report says. "Some, including Sun Microsystems and Tibco Software, recognize the emerging importance of services architectures and, while the Leaders also offer this type of solution, the Visionaries recognize this area of performance as an opportunity," the authors write. Characteristics of Visionary offerings include tight linkage with data quality and analytics and the blending of search with integration. The five Visionaries are:
- iWay Software;
- Pervasive Software;
- SAS Institute;
- Sun Microsystems; and
- Tibco Software.
The sparsely populated Challengers quadrant includes two of the biggest names in the report:
And the Niche Players quadrant sports a quintet of up-and-comers:
- Open Text;
- Pitney Bowes Software;
- Sybase; and
The Magic Quadrant report affirms that users of data integration tools are reevaluating enterprise data and thinking about management in different terms than the ones they relied on several years ago. "Contemporary pressures are leading to an increased investment in data integration in all industries and geographic regions," the authors write. "Business drivers, such as the imperative for speed-to-market and agility to change business processes and models, are forcing organizations to manage their data assets differently.... Simplification of processes and the IT infrastructure are necessary to achieve transparency, and transparency requires a consistent and complete view of the data, which represents the performance and operation of the business."
Achieving transparency and a single version of the truth is a familiar goal, yet the Gartner report reveals that the market might not be ready to take the final step. Although data integration suites are on the rise, the analysts write that no vendor offers every piece to the data integration puzzle. Hence, separate and distinct submarkets continue to emerge and hold steady. The analysts suggest, however, that it won't be long before the smaller niche players converge -- at both the vendor and the technology levels.
According to the report, Gartner estimates that the size of the market for data integration tools reached $1.44 billion at the end of 2007, and that the market itself will see a compound annual growth rate of more than 17 percent between 2007 and 2012.
Gartner imposes a set of specific criteria for vendors to be considered data integration providers, including the requirement that each one deal with one or more of the following scenarios:
- data acquisition for business intelligence and data warehousing purposes within the enterprise;
- creation of integration master data stores;
- data migration and conversions;
- synchronization of data among applications;
- creation of federated views of data from multiple sources;
- delivery of data in an SOA context; and
- unification of structured and unstructured data.
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