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Former Gartner Analyst Bill O'Kane on the 2021 MDM Magic Quadrant

Just in time for the holidays, the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management Solutions is now available!

After leading or collaborating on many iterations of this report over eight years — and participating in the market since 2019 after leaving Gartner to join Profisee — I was eager to see the results from my esteemed former colleagues.

As always, I urge every reader of this document to not simply view the quadrant diagram or even just the vendor summaries but to read the entire document.

I very much enjoyed diving into this new content Gartner and found it to be accurate while resonating than ever with the market vision and strategy here at Profisee.

2021 Gartner MDM Magic Quadrant Key Takeaways

At the market level, there are several spot-on observations, and I must admit, one final item that is shocking.

Some of the highlights include:

  • The critical role of master data management (MDM) in digital transformation is finally being recognized.
  • Small- and mid-size enterprises (SME) are substantially increasing in their adoption of MDM.
  • The revenue shift from larger to smaller MDM vendors is here to stay.
  • Faster MDM deployments are increasingly becoming the norm.

Key Takeaways for those considering using the 2021 Gartner MDM MQ as an evaluation tool:

  • Make sure that your candidate vendors understand and can document how MDM will deliver real business value as quickly as possible to ensure program success.
  • Consider your candidate vendors’ ability to identify areas where MDM will be required for a successful digital transformation initiative and how to best align the MDM efforts to deliver maximum benefit to your larger goals.
  • Ensure that your candidate vendors embrace an open integration strategy with adjacent data management solutions and capabilities (e.g., governance, data quality, data integration, analytics, etc.) that facilitates both out-of-the-box and proprietary integrations.

2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant Master Data Management Trends

After digging into the 44-page report, I identified 4 key trends in Gartner’s 2021 Magic Quadrant for MDM Solutions:

Trend 1: No MDM, No Digital Transformation

Gartner reports that business requirements driven by digital transformation initiatives are causing both new MDM programs to start and existing MDM programs to be rethought.

This certainly aligns with what we’ve seen at Profisee. We spent much of this year landing at least one net new customer each week.

The majority of these were new implementations, but we’ve also seen an increase of prospects with legacy MDM solutions in place that are just too expensive to expand or enhance. In fact, these hubs often function as data sources for Profisee!

Trend 2: SMEs Discover (and Can Justify) MDM

While we at Profisee have several large enterprises as clients, most of our business is with substantial mid-size (and, indeed, some smaller) organizations.

This historical affinity (attributable to our low total cost of ownership, ease of configuration/deployment and the high value we place on being a trusted partner to our clients) has fueled astronomic growth in our customer base in 2021, and certainly shows no signs of slowing down in the year to come.

Trend 3: Smaller Vendors Continue to Take Bigger Slices of the Pie

Gartner continues to observe a shift in new MDM software revenue, calling out double-digit growth in smaller vendors like Profisee while some of the larger vendors (not limited to “mega-vendors”) saw continued shrinkage.

This trend began to take shape several years ago and appears to show signs of accelerating based on the numbers in the report. This is likely driven by several factors, not the least of which is the final trend below.

Trend 4: Faster is Better — But Must Provide Business Value

Gartner reports that improving business outcomes is now shown in its market data as the primary driver of MDM programs, while no less than 50% of implementations are now taking less than six months to deliver that value (up from 33% in the previous cycle).

Profisee has truly been far ahead of the curve in this regard. In fact, Gartner called out in the 2020 MDM MQ that Profisee had more implementations taking three months or less than any other MDM vendor. This has always been one of our “sweet spots” and we continue to accomplish it regularly with our clients.

Finally, it is also significant that Gartner called out Profisee’s Business Impact Roadmap (BIR) process as a strength in delivering business value for our customers. No other vendor was cited as having such a focus on business outcomes and value, and it’s great to be recognized for something so important to us!

A Final Note on the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for MDM

Lastly, it is with some surprise and sadness that I note that Gartner states this will be the final iteration of the MDM Magic Quadrant research.

This is not necessarily an uncommon decision for Gartner to make with converging software markets, as they have recently retired MQs in other markets like Data Science, Machine Learning, Business Process Management and others.

And while they provide some justification for this decision — both in the MQ itself and in the recently published The State of the Master Data Management Market research (subscription required) — in terms of overlapping capabilities with adjacent markets (some of which appear to be vulnerable to the same treatment in the future), I find it hard to align this development with the growth in MDM client inquiries.

In fact, Gartner notes elsewhere in the MQ that the rate of client inquiries specific to MDM rose 28% from March through December 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, and all indications are that it continues to increase.

While we at Profisee have maintained our position as a Challenger this year — and as always are grateful for the huge effort (and believe me, I know) that Gartner analysts expend in the production of this report — we will continue to find new ways to innovate and ultimately help our clients be even more successful.


Bill O’Kane
VP & MDM Strategist @ Profisee

Want more critical insights on all 16 vendors evaluated by Gartner? Download a copy of the full report today.

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