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Analysis

Opening Up MDM
Andy Hayler By: Andy Hayler, CEO, The Information Difference
Published: 28th September 2009
Copyright The Information Difference © 2009
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In an important move today, open-source data integration vendor Talend announced that they would broaden the scope of their offerings. To add to their existing data integration and data quality tools they are introducing an open-source master data management (MDM) offering, based on technology purchased from niche French MDM vendor Amalto. This move makes sense for both parties. Amalto is a small vendor which had two distinct product lines, and divesting their MDM offering will allow it to concentrate on its B2B Exchange product. It is very natural that a vendor such as Talend, with a data integration focus and with a data quality offering, would expand its coverage to MDM. After all, every MDM project has a significant data quality component, as well as requiring data integration infrastructure.

There is some work to do for Talend, since while Amalto's technology was heavily based on open standards (and so is an easy technical fit) it also had some peculiarities, such as being based on an XML database rather than a relational platform. Whatever the technical merits of this, this is a complication that may prove a tricky sell to conservative enterprise buyers. It is unclear at this stage whether the company will continue along this path. It will also need to beef up the offering in the area of data governance support, for which Amalto had little to offer. Talend will adopt its standard open core model, which is for a free open-source offering but an enterprise edition, which comes with technical support and some premium features.

The announcement is not in itself earth-shattering for the market, since Amalto was a niche vendor with just a couple of dozen customers (mostly in France). But it does have two more important implications. This is the only open-source MDM offering (other than the Sun “Mural” project, whose future is unclear at present due to the Oracle takeover of Sun) and, as such, may be very appealing to customers who want to dip their toe in the MDM waters but do not want to shell out up to a million dollars on a proprietary MDM hub technology. This in itself could bring some pricing pressure to bear on existing MDM vendors, since customers will use the Talend offering as a stick to beat vendors with in pricing discussions.

It also implies that other data integration vendors may want to bring out an MDM offering (probably by acquiring an existing technology). I have been writing for some years now that Informatica would be a natural acquirer of an MDM technology, since it already has strong integration and data quality software. Rumours have abounded about such a move, but have so far proved incorrect, yet I cannot help but feel that such a natural move edges ever closer after today's announcement.

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