How do the major vendors of master data management for customer data stack up? Taking a shot with its evaluation is Gartner and its newly released Magic Quadrant report on this field.

Like other Magic Quadrant reports in other fields, this one plots the Leaders, Challengers, Niche Players and Visionaries on a four quadrant graph, with one axis representing Completeness of Vision and the other, the Ability to Execute.

Leaders, which fall into the quadrant with the highest vision and executing ability in the Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management of Customer Data Solutions, include IBM (InfoSphere MDM Advanced Edition and Standard Edition), Informatica and Oracle.

IBM (InfoSphere MDM Advanced Edition)

Gartner has separately evaluated IBM’s Advanced and Standard Editions of its Infosphere Master Data Management offering. Although IBM is moving to integrate the two, currently the products are offered individually.

Gartner points out that the Advanced Edition is part of the company’s overall, strong Information Management portfolio that includes business intelligence, performance management and warehousing. It also notes that IBM’s MDM market position has strong momentum and the product provides a “good prepackaged data model," as well as services. 

It isn't all positive however. Cautions raised by Gartner include the complexities of the various versions of the MDM product, the fact that a prepackaged product is not always the best solution and a relatively low score among customer reviews.

IBM (InfoSphere MDM Standard Edition)

This product’s strengths also include the company’s strong MDM portfolio, as well as the versatility of its registry-style “system of reference” implementation approach, the fast time-to-value, a relatively low service-to-software cost ratio, excellent scalability and a strong vertical focus, especially in healthcare and government.

Downsides include complexity and inconsistencies in the MDM portfolio of several editions, the fact that the Standard Edition -- largely acquired from another vendor -- is not positioned for a transactional centralized style and limitations in multi-domain implementations.

Informatica

Informatica MDM, also judged as a Leader, is praised for providing good vendor viability and a flexible MDM product that is capable of supporting multiple domains, as well as global reach, a strong partner ecosystem and continuing innovation.

Negatives include being behind the mega vendors of IBM, Oracle and SAP in terms of overall MDM revenue, customer base size and business process knowledge. Additionally, Informatica’s client-driven data model, doesn't offer the same kind of prepackaged data model, business services or internal workflow as other vendors do, so it may not appeal to everyone.