I was over at Informatica this afternoon talking with a couple of their guys about a wide range of topics… seriously, we covered everything from alternative fuels to third party enterprise software maintenance. What I really appreciated was that this was truly a conversation without agenda, the kind of experience that is rare these days.
As much as I enjoy online communities and interactions, there really is no substitute for a one-on-one meetup.
Informatica is a company that has an interesting history, beginning as the prototypical venture deal that was profitable when they went public on $13 million in venture capital (if memory serves me correctly).
Through the bubble this company almost imploded as they hired a bunch of enterprise software "veterans" who attempted to take the company into analytical applications from their core ETL roots. Why? Well becasue BI is sexy and that’s what everyone was moving into.
What happened as a consequence of that is that Informatica turned a stable of partners into a pack of competitors. This should serve as a case study for any company that is dependent on a partner driven sales model.
After that near death experience the company retrenched and revamped around integration offerings, since evolving a really interesting set of products around "integration in the cloud" for software as a service offerings. While we didn’t talk about products at length today, one of the "heh that’s pretty interesting" moments was when Steve told me about their offering for Salesforce.com that enables customers to suck all of their SFdC data and store it offline.