SAP has agreed to include metadata management tools from Informatica with some of its enterprise resource planning and analytics products.
The combination of the two products is intended to help customers analyze data stored in third-party or legacy systems. It also solves a marketing problem for SAP, as the applications from Informatica will help the company sell into larger enterprises with heterogeneous environments.
Under the terms of their agreement, SAP will embed Informaticas PowerCenter, PowerExchange and Metadata Manager software into its performance management and business analytic applications and the NetWeaver platform for master data management and business intelligence.
Michael Pickett, vice president of global alliances at Informatica, based in Redwood City, Calif., noted that these are among SAPs fastest growing products, reflecting a trend towards greater data volumes and increased fragmentation of data sources.
Larger companies with disparate systems, particularly ones which have added software over the course of several years, have to overcome the hurdle of being able to correlate isolated data stores in meaningful ways.
The Informatica applications allow SAPs software to be "substantially augmented by being able to access data that might be in other systems," Pickett told eWEEK.
Nimish Mehta, senior vice president of enterprise information management at SAP, agreed that the Informatica applications give SAP an edge in selling to large enterprises.
The agreement gives customers access to "unparalleled visibility and management across an enterprise," he said in a statement.
Richard Ptak, principal analyst at Ptak, Noel & Associates, said this particular kind of data federation can help companies interpret seemingly unrelated pieces of information. For manufacturers, for instance, it can be used to correlate error rates for a particular product with batches from various raw materials suppliers. Or it can be used to correlate customer orders, raw materials inventories and production schedules to ensure that raw materials are kept at appropriate levels.
"It can allow you to do what-if analysis and data mining of information that is not obvious but significant to your operations, things that arent necessarily causal but that are linked," Ptak said.
Informatica is hardly alone in trying to help customers federate data. Ptak noted that HP is building a similar application; Oracle and IBM also have similar products on the market.
What has changed, said Ptak, is that until recently customers didnt see the value of federating data across the enterprise.
The agreement with Informatica makes it easier for SAP to sell into large client accounts without having to partner with potential rivals like Oracle. But SAPs 40,000-plus installed base make the company an enticing partner for Informatica, which has approximately 2,285 customers.
Pickett said that Informatica sees the agreement as an opportunity to sell additional products to SAP customers, such as its data quality suite.
One of the advantages of a metadata management application is that it provides customers with an audit trail of data sources and changes to the data. "It gives people a great level of comfort today," said Pickett.