Why We Think Gartner’s 2016 Magic Quadrant for Data Integration is a Big Milestone for Open Source

This week, Talend was named by leading analyst firm, Gartner, Inc., as a Leader in its 2016 Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools.  For those of you who do not know what that is, the Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) is one of the most respected and relied upon research report that gauges for the success, capability, and overall strength of both an entire market segment and the players by which it’s comprised. A Gartner Magic Quadrant is often the ’first point of reference’ used by executives and IT heads worldwide when making a purchasing decision on new technologies. Thus, membership in this elite grouping is a key milestone for any tech company or technology. In the case of the 2016 MQ for Data Integration Tools, we see Talend’s inclusion in the Leaders quadrant as a huge win for the Open Source community.

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Initially, Open Source software, whose code is published in a full and editable form for everyone’s use, was viewed as freeware’ or a ‘cheaper alternative’ to more mature, hardened, proprietary software solutions delivered from the likes of SAP, Oracle or Informatica. However, over the years, the benefits of Open Source have proven to significantly outweigh those initial negative perceptions. Whereas at one time, enterprise companies perceived the use of Open Source software to be a risk, with “no support” and “public code contributions” that made it possible for any “rogue actor” to maliciously modify the applications in question and cause untold havoc on its users. The real truth about Open Source is that enterprise customers appreciate how it allows them to “try before you buy,” as well as provides the backbone or pipeline for enabling the rapid development and completion of software that drives many aspects of business today. In fact, the Open Source world is evolving more rapidly than the proprietary world because of the sharing that takes place among developers.

It's no secret that Hadoop and Apache Spark are the hottest technologies in big data, but what's less often remarked upon is that they're both Open Source based. Talend has placed a significant bet of its own on Hadoop, Spark, and Open Source in general, which is widely known and definitely well understood by both its customers and the analyst community. All the more reason we feel that our position in the Leader’s Quadrant this year is notable.

I think the most important truth about Open Source, and one that Talend’s inclusion in the Gartner MQ helps to solidify, is that no one knows how something should work better than the people who have to use it every day. It’s a universal truth about developers, that is hard to hear for them, but nonetheless it is a fact: Developers build the thing they think they need to build, in the way they want to build it. This simple fact is the reason that Open Source, community-driven software is so important. When it comes to software, the user experience and the capabilities the user needs far outweigh what any one developer or group of developers think the users need. The strongest software tools from a community-driven standpoint, are those that take constant and consistent feedback and suggestions from the community, publicly track that feedback, and move to incorporate the community-driven features into the product. This “community loop” is not only inherent to the success of Open Source software, but also a key element of the way in which we develop our solutions at Talend. It’s also something that a large majority of legacy software entities don’t do very well, if at all.

Talend’s Open Source differentiation is exactly why, as my colleague, Ciaran Dynes, noted in his blog, this year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools represents a “changing of the guard,” if you will, in the data integration market, giving companies a clear alternative to legacy (slower to innovate) incumbents. This is no doubt why brand-name customers like GE, Citi, Siemens and Lenovo continue to make Talend their vendor of choice and look for ways to deploy our solutions ‘wall-to-wall.’

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