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In our definition, information management encompasses the acquisition, organization, dissemination and use of information by organizations to create and enhance business value. Effective information management ensures optimal access, relevance, timeliness, quality and security of this data with the aim to improve organizational performance. This goal is not easily met, especially as organizations acquire ever more data at an ever faster pace. In our business analytics benchmark research of more than 2,600 organizations, almost half (45%) have to integrate six or more types of data in their analyses. More than two-thirds reported that they spend more time preparing data than analyzing it. To assist in dealing with these sorts of issues and others, we’ve laid out an ambitious information management research agenda for 2012.

In recent years the complexity of information management has risen dramatically. The volume of information being processed has increased exponentially and so have the challenges of ensuring consistency and quality and managing governance and the information life cycle. New data types and sources such as comments on social media have emerged and must be integrated into an organization’s information assets. Moreover, in many cases the boundaries between organizations and the outside world with which they interact have become far less distinct, leading to the need for a more expansive understanding of information management. Our Business Data in the Cloud research shows that data is seldom stored in only one repository; the majority of organizations (86%) need to bring together cloud-based data and on-premises data.

We will provide new insights on the dynamics of the information management market as we complete research on Information Management Trends. This research will illuminate the priorities organizations place on data quality, master data management and data governance. It will also explore ways in which organizations are incorporating virtualization and replication for broader and faster data access. The growing volumes and sources of data will require data integration that can help facilitate better linkages across IT and into business. We will assess the vendors and products in a Value Index for Data Integration that will determine what suppliers can be best fit for your enterprise.

Our research will also help organizations facilitate adoption of and use of big-data technologies. Our recently published Big Data research highlights the role of various technology alternatives for managing data on a large scale. More than 80 percent of organizations utilize more than one technology to tackle their big-data challenges, but organizations lack maturity when incorporating these data sources.  Specifically, our research shows that business have not adapted many of their standard processes to deal with big data. We’ll follow up this research by looking at specific vendor capabilities and how they can help extend information management processes to support big data.

Data is increasing not only in volume but in velocity as well – the speed with which data is generated and communicated. Technological developments such as smart meters, RFID, sensors and embedded computing devices for environmental monitoring, surveillance and other purposes are creating demand for tools that can derive insights from huge, continuous streams of event data coming into systems in real time. Traditional database systems are geared to manage discrete sets of data for standard BI queries, but event streams from sources such as sensing devices typically are continuous and their analysis requires different kinds of tools that enable users to understand causality, patterns, time relationships and other complex factors. These requirements have led to innovations in complex event processing, event stream processing, event modeling, visualization and analytics. We’ll be exploring how organizations can capitalize on real-time data collection and analysis in our benchmark research on operational intelligence and complex event processing. We will also assess vendors and products in a Value Index to determine the value of vendor offerings in Operational Intelligence to harvest the events from these streams of data.

Information management continues to be a strategic business imperative. It can help organizations improve their understanding and use of enterprise information and to establish governance of it. To accomplish these aims they must manage the flow of information throughout the full life cycle of data and provide proper data stewardship to support the business while minimizing risk. We need to better use the information through a simpler means of being able to assemble and deploy it to those in business who might even want to receive it through mobile technologies. This is what we call information applications that can help in timely access to information and should be coupled with an information management discipline. Our research will deliver education and best practices that can help you understand how to reduce the costs, time and risk of delivering these capabilities to your organization.

It will be a big year for information management in the forms of technology but also the methods and processes for which to manage and utilize the full value of it within organizations. I look forward to connecting with all of you on LinkedIn or following me on Twitter.


David Menninger – VP & Research Director

Talend recently announced version 5 of its information management platform, which emphasizes unifying its various components. Through a combination of development activities, acquisitions and partnerships, Talend has been steadily building its portfolio of information management capabilities. In addition to its core data integration capabilities, it has added data quality, master data management, application integration and with this release business process management (BPM).

In its progress, Talend has exploited the open source model well. Not only has it developed a large community of users for its free version, but it has successfully used awareness and interest in the open source product to build a community of 2,500 paying customers for the commercial versions of its products. The open source concept also has influenced Talend’s acquisition and partnership strategy. Sopera, acquired by Talend last year, was an open source vendor, and the BPM capabilities in version 5 are based on a partnership created 18 months ago with open source vendor BonitaSoft.

Like other software vendors in the information management market, Talend developed its portfolio as independent products, which resulted in an array of somewhat disjointed capabilities. This problem was made worse with the acquisition of a completely independent set of products from Sopera. Customers should welcome Talend’s efforts in version 5 to create a unified information management platform. Our ongoing research in information management investigates the importance of capabilities such as data integration, data quality, master data management and application integration.  Other vendors are combining these capabilities as well, but Talend has chosen to go further by adding BPM capabilities. Too many software vendors and enterprise IT departments expect customer organizations to adapt their business processes to how technology products work rather than the other way around. This misguided approach is the central theme of my post “What Is Wrong with Business Intelligence?”, and these same issues affect information management. I expect more vendors to embrace BPM as a way to combine business intelligence and information management into business processes.

With this release Talend also extends its big-data and cloud capabilities, which can be complementary. Our Business Data in the Cloud benchmarkresearch shows the importance of cloud-based data sources. Within 12 months 40 percent or more of eight different lines of business will be using cloud-based applications. Talend’s new cloud capabilities include connectors for Amazon RDS instances of Oracle and MySQL. Talend 5 also includes a REST interface for applications that require or support it. Our Hadoop and Information Management benchmark research shows that over half the organizations tackling big-data issues are using or evaluating Hadoop to meet those challenges, and in this release Talend extends its big-data capabilities to support HBase, a database component for Hadoop, and continuous streaming of information into or out of the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS).

On a minor note, Talend has renamed its open source products around the “Open Studio” theme. So now each of the four products are named “Talend Open Studio for…”. The open source version of BPM is available from BonitaSoft, so it doesn’t follow this same convention.

Now that Talend has unified its information management products, one of its remaining challenges will be to compete with integrated BI and information management suites. End users need information such as metadata and lineage to flow through both sets of products freely. But can an independent vendor provide the same level of integration as a suite vendor? Informatica, one of Talend’s competitors in the information management market, has shown that it is possible to succeed as an independent vendor. It will be important for Talend to maintain close partnerships with as many of the BI vendors as possible so it can fully support the features end users require.

Based on customer growth, it appears that Talend is succeeding with its current strategy. The new release should make the products both easier to use and more broadly applicable. If you are looking for an information management platform independent of your database, applications and BI environments, I recommend considering Talend.


David Menninger – VP & Research Director

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