Informatica Deal Highlights the Importance of Cloud-Based Data

The participation of Salesforce.com and Microsoft in last week’s $5.3 billion leveraged buyout of Informatica points up the necessity of long-standing data businesses to elevate themselves into the cloud. The data management company, founded in 1993, sought out the involvement of those companies in a deal engineered by Permira Advisers to expand its capabilities, observers say.

“Salesforce and Microsoft both had strategic partnerships with Informatica, and there was a real recognition on the part of Informatica management that, without their capabilities and platforms, they did not have a strong enough link with what’s happening in the cloud,” says Forrester Research analyst Michele Goetz.

Salesforce, meanwhile, obtains a direct conduit to the deep-background financial and customer support data Informatica provides. “One of the key reasons that Salesforce and Microsoft were invited to the table was to offset the size of the deal,” Goetz says. “Having that financial stake provides them with some influence on the board to help direct and drive strategy.”

Consultant Brent Leary, a partner at CRM Essentials, believes the deal could give Salesforce an inside view on the data management business. “I don’t think it will immediately change what Salesforce can offer its customers, but as it moves more quickly into the Internet of Things, the sheer level of its data sources will increase,” he says. “Potentially, this gives Salesforce a better handle on those sources and how they move in and out of their platform.”

To that end, Goetz speculates that the new relationship could eventually help Salesforce drive more value out of its Data.com investment.

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