Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

Informatica Goes Heiler for PIM and Product Information Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 2, 2012 11:03:02 AM

Informatica is a Hot vendor when it comes to our Value Index for Data Integration. When it comes to meeting the business need for consistent and high-quality product information, Informatica just raised its prospects with its announced takeover of Heiler Software. Until now, Informatica has lacked a product information management (PIM) offering. Germany-based Heiler Software, whose presence has continued to grow in Europe and North America, was recently ranked as a Hot Vendor in our Value Index for Product Information Management, as you can read in our no-cost executive report. Informatica’s purchase brings complementary products together from one supplier and will help organizations provide a higher quality and volume of product information throughout business processes, and help place business, rather than IT, in the role of creating, using and sharing information.

PIM, as we define it at Ventana Research, is the process, information and technology people use to establish a single reliable view of products, which can be used in an enterprise to provide information about customers, partners and suppliers to promote efficient business processes, which in turn can improve customer service. Unfortunately, some IT analyst firms have tried to coopt the term for what is really master data management, which based on buyers’ purchasing of PIM products for their business agenda has been a false and unfortunate path. Our research found that 48 percent of PIM investments come from the business technology budget, with only 28 percent from the corporate IT budget. Business buys PIM but not MDM. Heiler and other PIM vendors have therefore focused efforts to leverage their software for business to give customers improved efficiencies and profitability while improving customers’ and suppliers’ experiences in accessing consistent product information.

Our recent benchmark research on the trends and maturity of the product information management market (about which an executive report of the findings is available at no cost) shows that managing the disparate product content and data in organizations is a challenge. Today, less than a fifth of organizations are very satisfied with their current PIM efforts due to incompatible tools and the array of existing manual (45%), database-centric (41%), custom code (37%) and spreadsheet (29%) approaches. Key challenges include having consistent product information across channels, complete product attributes to meet buyer expectations, and consistent prices. Getting access to product data from varying ERP, SCM, PLM, marketing, catalog and other stores of images and videos is no easy task, and requires dedicated software. Our research also found that organizations that use PIM and MDM together will find exponential value in their investments, yielding not just efficiency and profitability improvements but also improved customer satisfaction.

When Heiler announced this takeover to its shareholders and customers, it acknowledged the larger opportunity it will have as a part of Informatica. Heiler and its customers recognize the need to provide better access to product information inside the enterprise and out to the broader business network of customers, partners, suppliers and manufacturers. Heiler customers should see increased value in their investment within the first year after the completion of this transaction in the form of a portfolio of tools to help their business and IT efforts. Heiler customers that lack the resources to tackle data issues such as integration and quality along with a strong master data management backbone will like what Informatica can offer.

Competitively, with this acquisition, Informatica steps beyond IBM, Oracle and SAP, who have an IT- and data-centric approach to master data management technology but lack a unified business approach to improving business processes. Top competitor Stibo, which is a Hot vendor in this category, will have a new global competitor to reckon with, as Informatica should bring renewed marketing and sales investment to capitalize on Heiler’s current products. Riversand, Enterworks and Agility will enjoy more market attention. The PIM market is getting interesting, and we expect more growth and even acquisitions.

Informatica, which continues to grow through acquisitions related to any type of data integration, will now be in the PIM market, where it should not re-label or alter Heiler’s position. If it does, it will not be able to maximize the value of the Heiler investment it is planning to make. The purchase of Heiler is a positive step for Informatica, which continues on a path to be a multibillion-dollar provider of software related to data and information for business and IT. Informatica software provides adaptability in its ability to integrate with existing business processes and PIM technology, and our research has found adaptability to be the top vendor and product consideration for PIM purchases. Informatica customers will gain access to a new software offering that will help leverage their current software investments by providing applications and tools for business to help govern and improve product information across business processes. With more than half organizations planning to improve PIM processes in 2013, Informatica will be well poised to take advantage of this opportunity.


Mark Smith

CEO & Chief Research Officer

Topics: MDM, Operational Performance Management (OPM), PIM, CIO, Data Governance, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM)

Mark Smith

Written by Mark Smith

Mark is responsible for the overall direction of Ventana Research and drives the global research agenda covering both business and technology areas. He defined the blueprint for Information Management and Performance Management as the linking together of people, processes, information and technology across organizations to drive effective results. Mark is an expert in technology for business from Performance Management, Business Intelligence, Analytics to Information Management across finance, operations and IT. Mark has held CMO, product development and research roles at companies such as SAP, META Group, Oracle and IRI Software. He has experience across major industries including banking, consumer products, food and beverage, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and retail and consumer services.