Datanomic: a textbook case

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Oracle is acquiring Datanomic. Rumours have been floating around about Datanomic being acquired for some weeks so it hardly comes as a surprise. Figures have not been disclosed but no doubt they will keep Datanomic’s shareholders warm at night.

For a change, I am not going to discuss how this will impact the market or whether this is good or bad news for Datanomic customers. Instead, it is worth talking in more depth about Datanomic itself.

Datanomic was founded a decade ago and for a long time it was a classic case of a company that had its head buried in the technology sand but without the marketing skills or focus to make much impact on the data quality space in general. While I always liked the technology it seemed that whenever I met with the company it had a different CEO and different staff.

While changes in personnel aren’t necessarily commonplace I have lost count of the number of companies that I have met that have great technology but the marketing skills of a turnip. What they seem to think is that the technology, on its own, is enough. It isn’t.

So, how did Datanomic turn things around? It decided to target a specific sector, notably financial services and, within that, the sanctions market. That is, anti-money laundering and the like. As one of Datanomic’s competitors said to me recently: “Datanomic owns the sanction market”.

This, it seems to me, is a great example of what to do: become a specialist, a domain expert if you like, to the extent that you effectively have no competition. Of course this is not the only way to create differentiation but when it works, it really works.