In a Bloor Research survey exploring the comparative costs and use cases for data integration technology, Informatica scores big, ranked tops for suitability across a wide range of use cases and as the clear value choice

Organizations have been battling a love/hate relationship with data integration technology for years. Some are enthralled by its promise of connecting systems and business processes while others are unimpressed with what they view as overly complex and costly software.

With no definitive picture of the types of projects data integration platforms are used for, on what scale, and whether this differs by integration product, Bloor Research set out to drill down into the costs involved with different products. Its goal: To arrive at a comparison by vendor of total cost of ownership (TCO) over a three-year period, to shed light on how data integration platforms ranked in terms of suitability for a range of projects, and to evaluate their ability to boost productivity and be cost effective on both an initial and on-going basis.

Informatica found most suitable.

At least 50% of survey respondents ranked Informatica most suitable in more than 5 of the 6 scenarios

The results of the survey, culled from 292 responses from companies using data integration tools or in some cases, hand coding, showed dramatic differences between vendors and products in both overall TCO and in cost per project and cost per source system. Vendors tracked as part of the study, titled “Comparative Costs and Uses for Data Integration Platforms,” included Actian, IBM, Informatica, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP in addition to hand coding.

Philip Howard, research director at Bloor and the author of the report, said drilling down into the details was necessary to provide a fair cost comparison of data integration products.

"The problem is you can't compare one data integration project with another because one may be much more complex, with far more end points, sources, and targets," he explained. "It's only when you take into account the details that you get meaningful TCO numbers."

Suitability Across Diverse Use Cases

Overall, Informatica data integration products were deemed to be the most suitable across the widest range of scenarios and were also positioned as the clear value choice for non-Microsoft organizations, well ahead of more expensive rivals IBM and Oracle. Informatica was also ranked highly in the category of productivity, which encompasses ease-of-use, productivity, and reusability.

"If you have much more complex projects or if you're looking at general-purpose integration projects and want to be able to reuse capabilities across projects, you're looking at the likes of Informatica, Oracle, and SAS," Howard said. "But Informatica clearly came out ranked as the most cost effective."

One of the primary pillars of the Bloor research was to determine if users felt their data integration tool was suitable across a range of common scenarios, which included:

  • Data migration and consolidation projects,
  • Master data management (MDM) and associated solutions
  • Application-to-application integration,
  • Data warehousing and business intelligence implementations,
  • Synching data with SaaS applications, and
  • B2B data exchange.

Informatica was deemed to have the broadest range of applicability and was consistently ranked among the top three in all six project categories. Hand coding was cited as most suitable by its users for application-to-application integration, while Informatica took top honors for B2B integration and data warehousing. IBM was rated most suitable for MDM, Oracle for application integration and SaaS integration, and SAP for data migration.

A deeper dive into the findings revealed that many organizations are deploying their data integration tools for tasks despite the fact they don't have a high degree of confidence in their suitability for that task.

A deeper dive into the findings revealed that many organizations are deploying their data integration tools for tasks despite the fact they don't have a high degree of confidence in their suitability for that task. Case in point: The research showed that only 14.3% of SAP users thought that product was suitable for SaaS integration projects, yet that same sampling expected to use SAP for an average of five projects over the next three years.