Informatica Touts Key Partnerships

April was a busy month for data warehousing specialist Informatica Corp. (www.informatica.com). The company notched agreements with database vendor Sybase Inc. (www.sybase.com) and the global data warehousing arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwcglobal.com).

Aftermath its mid-February unveiling of a series of business analytic applications, Informatica has sought to reinvent itself as a purveyor of business analytic applications that tap the underlying strength of its data warehousing capabilities.

Its partnership with Sybase enhances its data warehousing portfolio, but its alliance with PricewaterhouseCoopers will augment Informatica’s analytic push by transferring some of PricewaterhouseCoopers key intellectual property -- including supply chain and procurement analytic software -- to the Informatica brand.

Sybase, it seems, may benefit most from its global OEM partnership with Informatica, analysts say. Sybase was beginning to be outflanked by the moves of rival Informix Corp. (www.informix.com) in the data warehousing space.

In December 1999, for example, Informix acquired Ardent Software, a provider of data integration technologies for data warehousing and business analytic applications. As part of its Warehouse Studio Initiative, Sybase OEMs a data extraction, transformation, and transport (ETT) tool, which it calls PowerStage, from Ardent, which markets the same tool under the brand name DataStage. Sybase’s Warehouse Studio comprises a set of integrated analytic applications, data models, and tools for building and managing business intelligence solutions.

As of December 1999 Sybase found itself obtaining a crucial component of its Warehouse Studio suite from one of its fiercest competitors.

Analysts say the deal with Informatica, if nothing else, gives Sybase an effective alternative to dealing with the combined Informix-Ardent.

"The partnership provides additional options for Sybase's Warehouse Studio customers and prospects while diminishing the presence of rival database vendor Informix in Sybase accounts," says Mike Schiff, director of data warehousing strategies at Current Analysis Inc. (www.currentanalysis.com).

According to the terms of their partnership, Sybase will resell Informatica’s PowerMart data integration software with both its Warehouse Studio suite and its Adaptive Server IQ, a database platform for business intelligence. Additionally, the agreement with Informix gives Sybase the right to globally resell other products from Informatica's family of data integration software products.

Despite the addition of a new partner, Schiff says existing or potential Warehouse Studio users need not worry that the functionality of their ETT toolset will suffer.

"While Informix's acquisition of Ardent may have been the catalyst for the Sybase-Informatica OEM and reseller agreement, this should not be construed as an indication that the ETT functionality available to Sybase users will suffer," Schiff explains. "Both Informatica's PowerMart and Ardent's [Informix's] DataStage are industry-leading products."

Informatica’s second major April partnership, an alliance with PricewaterhouseCoopers, looks to tap into the exploding business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce market. The two companies announced an alliance to jointly develop, sell, and support analytic solutions for B2B markets.

As far as the alliance is concerned, officials from both companies insist the fit is a natural one.

"PricewaterhouseCoopers and Informatica have complementary strengths that, when combined, will offer a wide range of capabilities uniquely designed to address the multichannel analysis requirements of industrial-strength B2B e-businesses," says Mike Schroeck, managing partner of global data warehousing practices at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The two companies expect to deliver software and services to help organizations better evaluate their overall business performance. Additionally, PricewaterhouseCoopers will receive a $30 million equity stake in Informatica in exchange for transferring its supply chain and procurement analytic application software to Informatica.