When we published our most recent Market Update on MDM, just last August, there were half-a-dozen pure play vendors in the transactional MDM market. Now there are half that number. I need hardly ask the question "what's going on?", because it's obvious that the market is consolidating. Nevertheless, it is worthy of comment since the acquisitions of Amalto by Talend, Siperian by Informatica and Initiate by IBM do not all represent the same approach. In particular, the first two are strategic while the third is tactical.
Talend acquired Amalto last year and the company recently launched the combined offering. This is a stack play by Talend that now offers data integration, data quality and MDM in a combined offering, albeit that registry-based MDM is not offered in this release. While the companies were not partners particularly before the acquisition they were both open source vendors and they were both French so this all made sense.
Informatica is already a stack vendor and it felt that now was the right time to extend its stack. Especially as the company (now with revenues over $500m) is starting to be thought of as a gorilla. In this case the company has been a long-time partner of Siperian's. Siperian embeds Identity Systems (owned by Informatica) in its technology and also the majority of Siperian customers use Address Doctor (also part of Informatica) for cleansing purposes, while the two also had many joint customers. Again, this makes sense from a strategic viewpoint.
IBM's acquisition of Initiate is another kettle of fish. The two have not historically been partnersindeed Initiate was a partner of Datanomic for data quality purposes and, in any case, IBM already has its own MDM solutions. So this is a tactical purchase to gain market share and to acquire a (stronger) foothold within the healthcare market, where Initiate has traditionally been particularly successful (along with government). The problem, of course, is precisely that IBM now has three MDM solutions and it hasn't completed the process of integrating the first two yet, which raises all sorts of questions. As one tweet put it: IBM will need an MDM solution to manage its MDM solutions.
Of course, the same also applies to Oracle with its own rash of MDM solutions plus, now, Sun's.
Apart from the bad news for Datanomic, these purchases raise questions for the remaining vendors in the space: can they survive without a stack? If they need an exit strategy (Stibo probably doesn't because it's part of a larger, but non-IT, group) is there one actually available? Unless HP decides to dip its toes into these waters (which it would most likely do simply by buying Informatica) there doesn't look to be anyone out there to acquire you unless they want to buy market share, which is going to be increasingly difficult to gain with all the big players in the market. Niche markets here we come!