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 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.

While the company’s references scored well on company-related factors, the score was lower on product-related issues. The report found that clients are looking to Informatica for a better UI, improved workflow and real-time response times, as well as better monitoring, measurement and reporting.

Oracle (Siebel UCM)

Database is synonymous with Oracle. Its MDM portfolio includes Oracle FCH, Oracle CDH and Oracle Siebel UCM -- all of which are positioned for different market segments. UCM is the company’s lead solution, as Gartner evaluates it separately from CDH because of the different positioning.

Strengths include the company’s strong MDM portfolio that covers multiple data domains and use cases, its continuing market position and momentum, the strong vertical industry variants and proven scalability and increasing support for Social CRM.

Downsides include the complex multiple offerings, a model whose design lacks the ability to multi-domain, a prepackaged data model that doesn't appeal to everyone and below-average customer reviews in several non-product areas, such as responsiveness to new feature requests or an easy-to-understand pricing structure.


Gartner left its Challenger quadrant empty on this report, and only Tibco Software qualified as a Visionary. Niche Players were identified as SAP (NetWeaver MDM), Oracle (CDH), SAS DataFlux, SAP (MDG-C), VisionWare and Orchestra Networks.

Tibco stands out as selling its MDM as part of a platform that includes middleware, analytics, business process management and data quality, all of which enable business optimization and real time intelligence.

Orchestra Networks received praise for its flexible data model with multi-schema support, but lacks experience in B2B and is still a small player.

MDG-C offers a solution for customers looking at a “single vendor to supply them with core business applications and application infrastructure,” it integrates well with SAP’s ERP offerings and it provides good data quality. But the relatively young product is part of a confusing MDM portfolio from SAP and is not designed for distributed authoring.

SAP NetWeaver MDM offers many of the same benefits as MDG-C, and is cited for its good data quality, UIs, workflow and custom data stewardship. Unfortunately, product momentum has slowed as MDG-C enters the market, its appeal is mostly to SAP customers and customer reviews fall short in several areas -- such as pricing transparency, internal workflow capability and monitoring ability.

SAS DataFlux’s attributes include a strong foundation on the DataFlux Data Management Platform and a graduated approach that enables customized solutions. These strengths however, need to be weighed against some functionality gaps, SAS’ main "claim-to-fame" of being primarily in analytics and the company’s weakness as a global player.

VisionWare is strong in the governmental sector and has provided strong customer references, but Gartner notes that it is still a small company. Additionally, its ties to Microsoft limit its range of customers and puts it at risk of competing with Microsoft’s evolving SQL Server 2012 MDS.