In this weekend’s London Financial Times Sarah Gordon wrote about how Tech superiority is fleeting without an innovative edge. She cited David Mitchell’s novel Cloud Atlas, once a favourite of mine too, where consumers don’t drive cars, instead they Suzuki to their destination and when they want to call a friend they sony them rather than make a call on their cell phone. The book was only published back in 2004 but the brand names already make it seem dated. In 2012 you wouldn’t sony your friends, you’d probably apple them instead.
But as Sarah goes on to write, this week brought several non-fictional reminders of how quickly market leaders in the Tech industry can find their position eroded.
Lack of innovation caused by poor support within a company’s divisions or an overly centralised structure disables the life-support systems that enable an innovative idea to be first fostered, then road tested and then aligned with the organisation’s overall objectives. This gradual ‘opening up to the light’ of an innovation is the key; stress-test the idea too early and it will fail – it needs patience and support to foster and a gradual exposure to the ultimate testing ground, the market, in order that it can adapt to customers’ needs.
It struck me that this is what the Informatica Marketplace is all about; it is a nursery for ideas. They can emerge into a supportive environment and attract attention by the ‘donut-effect’ of bringing vendors and innovators together into the same virtual neighbourhood. Some ideas will still fall by the wayside, many will be re-cycled into other ‘shapes’ that better meet customer demand and the best ideas will either take off in their own right or be considered so good by Informatica that they decide to incorporate a part or whole of that idea into their product suite. Without the Marketplace there is simply no easy route to market for vendors; they become isolated and their innovations wither. The Informatica community also loses the diversity needed to keep an exciting, dynamic and innovative culture alive.
However the jury is still out; the Informatica Marketplace is young; Informatica customers are not accustomed to buying Informatica-centric products from anyone other than Informatica, the economy is tough and it takes time to assess just how many valuable ideas will emerge from the Marketplace eco-system. But what is certain is that the Informatica World conference in May is a great chance to take the pulse of the Marketplace; how many vendors from the Marketplace attend or contribute to the conference, how much publicity does Informatica give to the Marketplace at the conference itself and most of all, how receptive are the Informatica customers who attend the conference to the stalls, talks and pitches of the Marketplace vendors who also attend.
Time will tell but so far the signs are looking good. The first Marketplace Council meeting will take place just before the conference begins and a number of vendors are exhibiting or presenting at the conference. So if you are an Informatica customer who is planning to attend Informatica World 2012 then take some time out to visit the Marketplace vendor’s stands – they’re relying on your feedback to help them develop and grow the innovations that will hopefully bring benefits to the Informatica community now and in the years to come.