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August - 2006 - issue > Company Profile
Information-Automatica!
Sanjeev Jain
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
Enter Informatica’s development center at Bangalore. An air of seriousness envelops the room filled with engineers pouring over their work. Suddenly you jump up to cheers, laughter and claps. Look around inquisitively and S. Suresh, the Vice President and Managing Director of Informatica Business Solutions explains jubilantly, “That’s Dinesh Rathi, one of our engineers, who’s just been awarded the ‘INFA Star’.”
“I feel excited, on top of the world,” quips Rathi as he takes congratulatory messages from his colleagues.

A mix of seriousness and fun, Informatica develops data integration software products used by a wide variety of users in the telecom, healthcare, insurance, government organizations and financial services industries across the world.

Data Integration
Industries across the world generate huge amount of data everyday. It forms the lifeblood of organizations in their business. However it is humanly impossible to combine data residing at different sources and providing the user with a unified aspect of it. Data integration emerges at this point with increasing frequency as the volume and need to share existing data explodes. But as the requirements are huge, it has been the focus of extensive research. Numerous companies have spawned around this segment.

By default and design, Informatica is the top data integration vendor. Informatica has grown since its inception in 1993 on the idea that data warehouses should not be “handcoded,” but instead can be built more efficiently with tools that are metadata driven and powered by high performance and scalable engines with user friendly graphical front ends. Today it has 1100 employees worldwide with about 140 sitting in India.

Technology Vision
“Informatica has a product for solving any and all data integration problems,” says Suresh, a decade-old veteran in the company. He was involved in the core team that developed Informatica’s first flagship data integration product. Over the years the company launched several variants of its products in the market to create newer challenges in the data integration space.

Techies at the Bangalore center, its biggest outside the U.S., are trying to adapt their product to latest technologies like Ajax and Eclipse and are graduating to servers that are either based on current Java technology or other proprietary technology that Informatica has developed till date.

“We’re adopting next—generation technology that’s currently ruling the market,” Suresh explains. He ensures that products developed and perfected over ten years of engineering hold good stead even today. By ramping up newer technology to products, it should last another ten years. Suresh says, “If techies can really see, they are solving the complex algorithmic problems based on next—generation technology components. ” Shankar Subramanian, Senior Manager, says, “Our product does not need people to do coding. They just need to leverage existing Java codes.”

Technology Makes Them Grow
Companies are spending fortunes on retaining their data. This has made data integration a $11 billion industry. They depend on a provider like Informatica to create software for integrating data. Informatica, as one of the early entrants in the Data Integration space, has had a head start.

“The traditional analytical market is worth $2 billion and the operational data integration market is worth $9 billion,” Suresh says adding that this is a growing phenomenon, which has constantly given a fillip to the company’s progress. Revenues for the second quarter of 2006 stacked at $80.8 million.

Subramanian says the company wants to double revenues and grow 100 percent every year. It has set a target of reaching $1 billion in 5-6 years. If the present trend continues and Informatica grows the same way as it has been doing over the last few years, the $1 billion mark is not a distant rainbow.
“Both, the market and environment are stable.

We are a mid-sized company and hence have more stability when compared to startups and more visibility when compared to big companies,” Suresh says enthusiastically. “We do real exciting work here that is not secondary to anything. We are peers to other offices,” says Rathi, a technical lead with Informatica.

Stars and Sponsors
Lakshmi Rajan, HR manager explains, “Every employee gets stock options and can expect to make good money as stocks are doing well.” Besides, the company offers referral bonus to its employees. Informatica employees are living their dreams. With every product release the team celebrates, sometimes involving trips abroad.

In April, the global customer support group were off to Canada. Client meetings interspersed with the enjoyment made the trip a successful and memorable time for them, they recollect with nostalgia. Movies, restaurants, amusements parks are all frequent additions and employees enjoy every bit of it. In fact, in the third quarter of this year, Informatica India is flying its staff and a guest to Thailand. This not only rewards the employees but also acknowledges the support the employees get from their friends and family.

Global Teams

Informatica, like most other companies, does not differentiate between its India development center and centers across the world. Suresh explains that when the company is global, its team is also global. Anyone can contribute to anything from anywhere.
“What we have set up here pretty much mirrors the global R&D organization set up where there isn’t much of a difference between the U.S. team and the India team. The headquarters has given us complete freedom in doing our own R&D and enhancement of our products,” informs Suresh. Every quarter, based on their performance, employees are awarded the ‘INFA Star’ honor. In July this year, two employees from their Bangalore office, Dinesh Rathi and Wilson Vivek, were honored with it. This is an indication of the quality work the India team is churning out, says Suresh.

Returnees

Hiring is not just a process; it is a company wide mission. So off they go to some top engineering colleges or hire from other companies to get the best brains working for them. “The people we get from colleges and other companies are people with good aptitude for learning and solving problems,” Suresh adds. “So when somebody comes to work for us, there are seniors who associate with the new entrants and guide them.” They learn, they gain and they use the skills these seniors bestow.
Suresh reasons this for Informatica’s low attrition rate. Whoever leaves the company commands respect in other companies and are very well received, says he.

So much has been the influence of the work culture on the employees that some who were smitten by the India market syndrome and left their jobs have returned to work for them. They found other companies not a place fit for their talent. “If three or four more return, I am sure it will discourage employees from leaving our company.”

Rathi, who joined a startup in Delhi in March 2005, came back to Informatica within three months. He says it was the work on high-end technology that made him come back here. “This is the place where one gets rewarded and recognized.”
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