A CIO.com article this week details troubles an Australian insurance company was having melding the disparate database systems of a number of acquisitions over the past few years. This problem is not uncommon, and the software industry has responded with a number of tools designed to make the process easier.
It turns out, though, that these tools are rarely enough for what some call the holy grail of data integration: a fully reliable customer data integration (CDI) platform. That's why many firms are turning to the CDI hub when faced with chronic integration issues. Simply put, the hub is a central repository for all customer data acquired from multiple sources. It sounds simple, but it isn't. It requires a major commitment of time and resources, plus an understanding that to be effective, the hub needs to support many types of data and data movement processes. It also needs a comprehensive approach to data lifecycle management, and to provide access across platforms and organization heirarchies.
A number of vendors have come forward with their own versions of CDI hubs, but the consensus is that no single provider is capable of offering the comprehensive, multi-environment solution that some organizations require.
Sound like a pain? You bet. And we haven't even begun to scratch the surface. But then again, nothing worthwhile is ever easy, is it?