Talend recently announced version 5 of its information management platform, which emphasizes unifying its various components. Through a combination of development activities, acquisitions and partnerships, Talend has been steadily building its portfolio of information management capabilities. In addition to its core data integration capabilities, it has added data quality, master data management, application integration and with this release business process management (BPM).
In its progress, Talend has exploited the open source model well. Not only has it developed a large community of users for its free version, but it has successfully used awareness and interest in the open source product to build a community of 2,500 paying customers for the commercial versions of its products. The open source concept also has influenced Talend’s acquisition and partnership strategy. Sopera, acquired by Talend last year, was an open source vendor, and the BPM capabilities in version 5 are based on a partnership created 18 months ago with open source vendor BonitaSoft.
Like other software vendors in the information management market, Talend developed its portfolio as independent products, which resulted in an array of somewhat disjointed capabilities. This problem was made worse with the acquisition of a completely independent set of products from Sopera. Customers should welcome Talend’s efforts in version 5 to create a unified information management platform. Our ongoing research in information management investigates the importance of capabilities such as data integration, data quality, master data management and application integration. Other vendors are combining these capabilities as well, but Talend has chosen to go further by adding BPM capabilities. Too many software vendors and enterprise IT departments expect customer organizations to adapt their business processes to how technology products work rather than the other way around. This misguided approach is the central theme of my post “What Is Wrong with Business Intelligence?”, and these same issues affect information management. I expect more vendors to embrace BPM as a way to combine business intelligence and information management into business processes.
With this release Talend also extends its big-data and cloud capabilities, which can be complementary. Our Business Data in the Cloud benchmark research shows the importance of cloud-based data sources. Within 12 months 40 percent or more of eight different lines of business will be using cloud-based applications. Talend’s new cloud capabilities include connectors for Amazon RDS instances of Oracle and MySQL. Talend 5 also includes a REST interface for applications that require or support it. Our Hadoop and Information Management benchmark research shows that over half the organizations tackling big-data issues are using or evaluating Hadoop to meet those challenges, and in this release Talend extends its big-data capabilities to support HBase, a database component for Hadoop, and continuous streaming of information into or out of the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS).
On a minor note, Talend has renamed its open source products around the “Open Studio” theme. So now each of the four products are named “Talend Open Studio for…”. The open source version of BPM is available from BonitaSoft, so it doesn’t follow this same convention.
Now that Talend has unified its information management products, one of its remaining challenges will be to compete with integrated BI and information management suites. End users need information such as metadata and lineage to flow through both sets of products freely. But can an independent vendor provide the same level of integration as a suite vendor? Informatica, one of Talend’s competitors in the information management market, has shown that it is possible to succeed as an independent vendor. It will be important for Talend to maintain close partnerships with as many of the BI vendors as possible so it can fully support the features end users require.
Based on customer growth, it appears that Talend is succeeding with its current strategy. The new release should make the products both easier to use and more broadly applicable. If you are looking for an information management platform independent of your database, applications and BI environments, I recommend considering Talend.