A Caution to Marketing: Integration Not as Easy as It Looks

Loraine Lawson
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Top Predictions for Big Data in 2014

Marketing budgets for information technology may top the CIO’s budget within four years, according to Gartner’s predictions.

Much of that is driven by Big Data adoption, but I admit to smirking a bit at a recent Chief Marketer article, “Marketing Tech Integration Remains a Challenge.”

The article talks about integration, of course, as well as mobile device and data security. I have to think at some point, marketing will wave the white flag and admit that there’s a really good reason that IT is an entire division — but who knows? Maybe it will end up mirroring the evolution of web site management, with marketing running things for a while before settling into a partnership with IT.


My guess is that marketing does not want to be in the integration business, which is a lot less fun than exploring Big Data. In fact, even IT departments procrastinate systems integration, according to a recent TNW (The Next Web) article, “Six Tips for a Successful System Integration Project.”

It’s written by David Akka, managing director for the UK-based Magic Software Enterprise. It’s a mostly vendor-neutral piece, although he is strongly for only using a third-party tool.

“Resistance to change, the level of risk involved, and the investment required with no immediate benefits are just some of the reasons why most IT departments put off system integration projects,” Akka writes. “But with enterprise mobility becoming a reality, on-line collaboration on the rise, and new cloud services coming on board, there is an urgent need to update systems to manage data securely and effectively throughout the enterprise.”

Some of the six tips — such as recruiting a business champion — are standard fare for any IT project. Still, it’s worth a read for the integration-specific advice, including the discussion on deciding whether you need process-based integration or data synchronization/ETL-style uploading.

One unusual piece of advice is not to worry about the costs of the integration. That’s pretty bold advice, considering how expensive integration can be. The author argues that the cost of system integration pays off in real-time data and improved business processes.

“Integration can bring significant value, and not necessarily where you expect; so rather than being concerned about the costs, think about the costs advantages you are missing,” he writes.



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