Informatica PowerCenter Review

Informatica PowerCenter mainly performs ETL that is able to extract transform load from a variety of data sources and it has a good GUI interface.

What is our primary use case?

ETL ; Extract Transform Load from data base to data warehouse based on specific business rules.

How has it helped my organization?

Informatica PowerCenter satisfies our customers need; thus making Extract Transform Load from data base to data warehouse based on specific business rules.

What is most valuable?

There are two valuable features. The first is the main typical functionality that the PowerCenter gives, that is the ETL. The ETL is able to extract transform load from/to a variety of sources, like Oracle, Microsoft's SQL Server, and Big Data. 

The second is the capabilities of the GUI interface; drag and drop solution. 

It's a powerful tool and might be the first ETL tool based on Gartner to extract, transform, and load data operations.

What needs improvement?

The licensing cost for Informatica is very high. Other all-in-one solutions offer much lower prices. 

Also, sometimes with data capture, the solution doesn't support some data types so you must find an alternative, Informatica Data Replication, for instance. You end up buying two very expensive products to get just a little bit more functionality. They need to offer an all-in-one package.

I'd like Informatica to provide more use cases. We have a huge knowledge base, but use cases in specific domains like healthcare, banking, and financial transactions would be helpful. There are some tools that exist for making predictions in different domains. I want something like that in Informatica so we can see use cases that showcase better management, better quality, and better governance, in different domains.

The solution needs better support and training. Informatica can do a better job in making it clear at the beginning what is supported and not supported, and what the licenses include and do not include. That way we are better able to communicate with the clients and to get assistance from support. It would also save us time in raising issues with support if we knew what was covered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is mainly written in Java programming language. If someone is working as a data engineer and he is not from a computer science background, he may fear there are some errors, specifically in Java packages that Informatica has built. It is not yet stable, but some hotfixes in the big data edition of Informatica, in versions 10 and 10.1, work well to patch any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is very scalable but at the same time, it is very expensive. It's a scalable platform and is distributed, but on the other hand, you have to pay for many separate things. For instance, a real-time integration like a cloud connector for grabbing data from the cloud may be advantageous, but the disadvantage is that the whole package would cost a very huge amount of money for the license. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support and their approach is good. They have a support portal and support tickets. If you open a ticket it has multiple levels of severity from level one to very high or critical. 

Also, you can buy a support policy for 24/7 support. 

Sometimes, we've had issues where customers complain so we have to keep pressuring support and escalating the matter to upper management to get things fixed in a timely fashion. However, this doesn't happen too often. The process as a whole is good.

What other advice do I have?

Our company has many locations, in the Middle East and Africa, but we're mostly based in Cairo, and have about 100 engineers using the solution.

In terms of advice, I would give to others considering using the solution, I'd say this: they should start with a datasheet of every product on Informatica. Licensing is expensive, so you should study the needs of the customer or your business and make a compliance matrix between the products and what the company needs. You'll run into big problems if your customer's needs aren't met in the Informatica products you choose.

I would rate the solution at a seven or eight out of ten. They're still far away from offering a holistic solution for better management, and there can be more enhancements in use cases, but it's a good solution.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
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