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Interview: The Information Difference’s Andy Hayler Highlights Findings from the 2014 MDM Landscape

The Information Difference has just published its 2014 MDM Landscape, their annual industry snapshot highlighting the leading master data management solutions and current market conditions. We were lucky to catch up with Andy Hayler, CEO of the Information Difference, to get his take on this year’s MDM landscape.

1. What can you tell us about the MDM market in 2014?

Master data management (MDM) is still one of the fastest growing enterprise software markets. We estimate that the market for MDM software was worth $1.16 billion with an annual growth rate of 9%. The pure software license revenue for MDM software was at $640 million, with maintenance and vendors’ MDM professional services revenue at $198 million and $326 million respectively.

2. What about the cost split between people and software? Have implementation profiles for MDM projects changed?

The ratio of services to license remains unchanged. It is still 4:1, or four dollars are spent on people for every dollar of software licenses. With such a high allocation to people-costs it’s vital for MDM purchasers to understand and evaluate how much of an implementation burden their technology choice imposes. As was noted in prior research notes, implementation burdens can vary a great deal between solutions.

Some vendors offer multiple MDM products: a basic product and advanced bundles that includes a number of related and somewhat integrated technologies for additional license cost (workflow tools, and data quality tools are the most common). Others solutions include all required MDM features in one fully-integrated solution. Some vendors utilise model-driven architecture–the persistence layer, system and user interfaces are generated from an underlying MDM model–others require substantial of software development throughout implementation. The takeaway is that the MDM evaluation team needs to understand the level of integration required by the solution selected. This cost and time drag can matter a great deal, especially if you have time-sensitive deadlines to meet.

3. As the only analyst firm studying the variation in implementation costs between fully-integrated solutions and bundles, do you have any advice for those currently investigating MDM technology?

Absolutely. Understand what is and is not included in the solution. For those elements that are not included get estimates from your vendors about integration costs and include questions on implementation experience in your reference calls. You want to collect data points on how long and how challenging it was to move from the design to implementation phase. Also, you may want to make sure that the references provided match the use case of your MDM project—for example if your team is implementing a governance-heavy use case speaking to references that have implemented customer data quality use cases may be irrelevant.

Finally, request a pilot or proof-of-concept. As part of your proof-of-concept, be sure to include development scenarios so that your users and technical teams have the opportunity to evaluate the level of feature integration and the development experience. An approach that has worked quite well for some customers is to include change management scenarios as part of their evaluation. In such cases the customer does not reveal what–data models, hierarchies, workflows–will change as part of the pilot. After the change is requested, the evaluation team observes how and how quickly the vendor ca respond. This technique provides a great deal of insight into the real development and change management process.

4. Can you describe how the MDM landscape works?

The landscape diagram represents the market in three dimensions. The size of the bubble represents the customer base of the vendor. The technology score is made up of a weighted set of scores derived from: customer satisfaction as measured by a survey of reference customers, its maturity in the market and the breadth of the technology in terms of its coverage against our functionality model. Market strength is made up of a weighted set of scores derived from: MDM revenue, growth, financial strength, size of partner ecosystem, (revenue adjusted) customer base and geographic coverage. The Information Difference maintains profiles on each vendor that go into more detail. 

5. It looks like there’s a separation between the pure-plays and the megavendors, why should MDM purchasers evaluate pure plays?

Bear in mind that the large vendors we have listed all own more than one MDM solution. What this means is that their financial performance is an aggregation of all the revenues from their collection of MDM products. That said, the reason why large vendors acquired so many MDM vendors is important. Historically each MDM solution was well-suited for a specific use case. This meant, for a vendor to gain comprehensive coverage across all domains and use cases the larger vendors needed to acquire multiple companies. Customers need to decide which criteria are most important to them for their particular use case. Sometimes these requirements may be satisfied by different solutions. One size does not fit all.

The upshot is that it is of vital importance to focus on your organization’s master data management requirements and evaluate the vendors that best fit those needs. High-level analysis, such as our Landscape, are useful for gaining a high-level perspective on the market but are unsuitable for ascertaining if a specific vendor’s solutions are appropriate for your use case.

But this is why the Information Difference developed the MDM Select methodology. The Information Difference MDM Select Methodology evaluates MDM solutions across 200+ functional checkpoints that are relevant to MDM technology buyers. Prospective buyers rank the importance of MDM features to them and MDM Select then produces a listing of vendors that meets those requirements most precisely, based on weighted scorings of the vendor products against the customer’s own requirements.

ON: If my organization is interested in using MDM Select, what do we do? And are there any other services that the Information Difference provides that might help prospective MDM buyers?

Sure, more information about MDM Select can be found on our website here (http://informationdifference.com/products/mdm-select/index.html).
Also, we can be contacted here (http://informationdifference.com/contacts/contact/index.php).