Gartner Magic Quadrant Puts Together Data Integration Leaders
Repeating their showing from a year ago, IBM and Informatica have again been listed as the sole residents of the Leaders Quadrant in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools. While the research firm listed Business Objects, Microsoft, and Oracle as Challengers in the field, a dozen of other vendors populate its Niche and Visionary Quadrants.
The market for data integration solutions -- tools responsible for the access and delivery of data across multiple spectrums to meet the needs of applications and end users -- is beginning to go vertical, according to Ted Friedman, a research vice president at Gartner and primary author of the report. In addition, business drivers such as the imperative for speed and agility are forcing organizations to manage their data assets differently. "IT departments are looking for transparency when it comes to data movement, and transparency requires a consistent and complete view of the data. Data integration is a critical component of an overall enterprise information management strategy that can address these data-oriented issues," Friedman says.
In terms of the technology, vendors have traditionally offered limited data integration tools specific to their respective markets. Most of the activity has involved extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) tools, although the report notes newer offerings comprising data replication, data federation, and other submarkets of tools optimized for a particular style of data integration. The result is a highly fragmented solutions market that has led to equally fragmented data-integration processes in large enterprises, Friedman says. "Technology buyers have been forced to acquire a portfolio of tools from multiple vendors in order to amass the capabilities necessary to address the full range of their data integration requirements."
Lately, however, the separate submarkets have begun to converge, Friedman says, primarily driven by customer demand for consolidated offerings. "Organizations realize they need to think about data integration holistically and have a common set of data integration capabilities they can use across the enterprise," he says. "Vendors are heading towards complete data integration tools that address a range of different data integration styles and are based on common design tooling, metadata, and runtime architecture," he says.
The overall market has expanded at a compound annual growth rate of more than 17 percent, by Gartner's estimate, reaching an estimated size $1.2 billion as of December 2006. Friedman notes that both IBM and Informatica have strong vision; their respective offerings include an integrated data integration suite that will combine many of the market's various tools, such as data profiling and cleansing, data replication, and ETL.
"IBM demonstrates the best vision in the market for extensive data integration capabilities, as it continues to progress toward bringing together all its data integration components," he says in the report. Informatica was noted for its strong support of software-as-a-service and for its continually expanding functionality as it works to improve its data integration suite. "The companies leading this market are those vendors that are organically expanding their capabilities into neighboring areas," Friedman says.
This year's report names just two Visionaries in the field:
- iWay Software, which has moved over the years from the Challengers Quadrant (2005) to the Niche Quadrant (2006) before managing this year to end up as a Visionary -- but almost squarely on the crosshairs of all four Quadrants; and
- SAS Institute, which, like iWay, missed out on the Leaders Quadrant by the tiniest of slivers in terms of its "ability to execute."
Both Microsoft and Oracle were elevated from last year's Niche segment thanks to improvements each made in its ability to execute. Despite the departure of those two big-name vendors, this year's Niche Quadrant remains overwhelmingly the most densely populated:
- Pervasive Software, the only vendor to drop, year-over-year, from the Challenger Quadrant;
- Sybase, which improved enough in terms of its "completeness of vision" to land a hair's breadth away from making the Visionaries Quadrant;
- Cognos, which also slipped in terms of completeness of vision;
- SAP, which announced in October its intent to acquire Challenger Quadrant denizen Business Objects;
- Sun Microsystems;
- Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software;
- Syncsort, appearing for the first time in Gartner's data integration report; and
- Hummingbird Connectivity, a division of Open Text and another new addition to report.
Dropped from this year's assessment were 2006 Niche Players Ab Initio and Embarcadero Technologies, though both were included in the list tallied by Gartner of nearly three dozen relevant vendors that don't meet its analysis criteria. (Ab Initio, in fact, has had a particularly poor run over the last several Magic Quadrants, dropping from Visionary (2005) to Niche (2006) before falling off the grid entriely this year.)
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