Informatica has made two major announcements. The first is that it has acquired Agent Logic and the second is that HP will be embedding and selling its technology.
Agent Logic is a CEP (complex event processing) vendor with a particular focus on (US) government agencies. It has had some significant success in this arena, not least because one of its VCs was In-Q-Tel, which is funded by the CIA. So, why has Informatica bought them?
Well, from a technical point of view it enables two types of processing that Informatica describes as Event-driven Active Data Integration and Identity-aware event processing. In the case of the former this means supporting real-time data integration within an event-driven architecture and, perhaps more importantly, allowing automatic responses based on rules written against those events. As far as the latter is concerned, it allows you to match identities associated with data events to better detect and correlate patterns across them. In this latter context, you can see how linking Informatica's identity resolution capabilities with Agent Logic would make sense.
There is a question that relates to what CEP is about. If you think about it as events that are processed by business rules then it is analogous to loading data into a warehouse. However, you can also think of it in terms of BI. In that context this acquisition is slightly worrying in that Informatica has been burnt before when it tried to enter the BI arena. However, the company is quite aware of this and is strictly viewing CEP in the first of these contexts, so the company is being quite clear that it is not entering the BI space. The Agent Logic group will continue to market the product as a stand-alone capability (in conjunction with Informatica's other products where appropriate) within its existing market and Informatica will seek to extend its reach to non-US governmental environments. Otherwise, Agent Logic is seen purely as complementary to Informatica's existing offerings and will be sold into commercial environments as an extension to these.
Which takes me on to the HP partnership. Of course, Informatica and HP have been partners for many years and this has grown closer since the introduction of HP NeoView with the two companies working together to integrate the two technologies. Also, HP has expanded its presence in the BI market, not least in consulting and services, and it sees Informatica's data integration platform as something that it can market and sell as a part of its positioning as a complete solutions provider. It will be doing this in three bundles: in conjunction with NeoView, as a part of a services offering for master data management, and as part of its information quality management services.
One of the interesting parts of this arrangement is its future. HP can sell the current set of Informatica bundles to meet appropriate customer solution requirements. If new customer use cases emerge over time, HP and Informatica can expand the scope of the agreement to include other offerings. Since HP is in the BI space then it could potentially use the Agent Logic technology within a Bi context even if Informatica doesn't.
Of course, the one question that I must ask—even though I know I can't answer it—is what exactly are HP and Informatica announcing? Technically, they maintain that they are just good friends but is this really an engagement? Time will tell.