7 Steps to Smarter Integration
Sometimes, change can be worthwhile. The key is knowing what's worth pursuing and what's not.
Kapow Technologies announced today a new platform-Kapow Katalyst 8.0-that offers an intriguing approach to integration. I say it's intriguing because it can "scrape" data from any Web-enabled application, even internal legacy applications where the data may not have been integrated or even brought into a data warehouse.
Before this year, Kapow was primarily marketed as a mashup solution. I've written before about how mashups can be used as a light-weight approach for those smaller integration tasks the business wants but IT can't quite get to. That term seems to have fallen out of favor; although, reading this, I think it's equally feasible some solutions are now offering broader, deeper integration capabilities than the term "mashup" implies, particularly when you consider its ability to extract data from the application logic or database.
SD Times described it as an "extractor that works without APIs." Kapow is promoting it as a browser-based data integration solution, which provides a quick and easy way to bring data into the Web, cloud and even mobile applications. The platform includes a development environment that builds code for the integration and deploys it in one click as an API, according to SD Times. Kapow calls these bits of code "smart robots," and you can actually schedule the robots to run daily data extractions and integrations.
What makes the offering appealing is it gives business users a way to get at data that, for various reasons, IT hasn't gotten around to making available. You know the projects: They're usually one-time or unusual reports that the business may really want, so they're on your to-do list ... but they never quite rise to the level of bigger, harder integration tasks that support broader needs.
That's the sweet spot Kapow and some other technology companies are targeting now, in what TDWI terms an "insurgent" trend in data management.
That's the appealing part.
On the flip side, this is a working man's integration option, and even though Kapow says the data can be "cleaned, standardized, and managed" by its solution, it lacks the full rigors data management workers champion, according to the article.
But as the Bob Eve, the director of marketing for Kapow's partner, Composite Software, pointed out to TDWI, messy data integration problems are becoming the rule, rather than the exception.
It'll be interesting to see how the data management community responds to the TDWI article-and I hope they do. Best practices are great in a perfect world, and they're considered "best" for a reason, but the article does raise good questions about whether there's a time and place for just rolling up your sleeves and getting the job done.