Interesting times for EII

Is that a blessing or a curse?

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Comment The EII (enterprise information integration) market is going through interesting times. This article discusses a number of the things that have happened or that have been reported to me.

First, Business Objects bought Mediance, a company of which I had not previously heard. Mediance was active in the EII space but it is by no means clear from the company’s website whether it actually had a product. Be that as it may, this means that Business Objects now owns Mediance while it also has a partnership with Ipedo. What the company has said is that it intends to embed EII capabilities within its platform. But how long will this take? How will this affect its partnership with Ipedo and the companies’ joint customers? My guess would be that Business Objects will want to retain the partnership, perhaps with the Mediance stuff focusing on SQL processing and Ipedo being used when XML is required.

Secondly, SAP has bought Callixa. The fact that Callixa has been bought is hardly surprising, since it has been trying to sell itself for some time. What is interesting is that it is SAP that has bought it. This also raises questions as SAP too has an existing partnership, this time with MetaMatrix. Moreover, MetaMatrix isn’t just about EII: its product is based on repository technology and the company also markets master data management solutions based on the same platform. So, perhaps a similar position will evolve where Callixa technology is used for a limited solution subset and MetaMatrix for broader capability.

The third point I want to raise is about IBM, this being based on discussions both within IBM and with its competitors. My view is that WebSphere Information Integrator is one of the leading products within the EII space. It certainly has the broadest range of capabilities. However, it appears that it is largely being marketed to DB2 shops. Of course, this is the easiest place to make sales but I think this is a mistake. IBM has the opportunity with this product to establish a dominant position in the market but it needs to go out to non-IBM environments if it is to establish this position. Moreover, it is almost too late: it needs to do this before SAP has finished integrating Callixa and before Business Objects has completed the integration of Mediance and before SAS gets its marketing together over its EII capabilities, and so on.

Finally, one further comment: a vendor mentioned to me that a VC company it had been talking to had commented that it thought that the market for EII was not as buoyant as it used to be. Now, I don’t know where this particular company gets its information from but it should clearly sack them. All the vendors I talk to report increased interest and business and the likes of Business Objects and SAP would not be buying Mediance and Callixa if they didn’t think there was a market.

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