Strategic Integration: 10 Business-Building Tips
Ten ways that companies can use integration and integration-related strategies to build business.
Cost consciousness made an impact on the data integration tool market this year, prompting customers to seek out low-cost and "good enough" capabilities and to have more interest in open source solutions, according to Gartner's most recent Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools.
Over the past few weeks, the press releases bragging about placement on Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools have been rolling in. I figured if I waited patiently, someone would eventually offer a free download of this report. One of the vendors from the leaders' quadrant usually does.
Sure enough, Informatica and Oracle stepped up and are offering an open link to the report on Gartner's site. Actually, I'm guessing about Oracle based on the URL. I actually found the report via Competitive Intelligence Radar, a subscription service for businesses that just happens to maintain a list of analyst reports you can find online for free.
As such, Gartner continued to note growing adoption of solutions such as those from Pervasive Software, Microsoft, and Syncsort, and others with offerings priced far below the levels of the market leaders. In addition, the level of activity around open-source solutions continues to grow, since these are viewed by buyers as providing a more attractive cost model. Talend, Pentaho, and other open-source providers in this market see increasing benefit from this trend.
Another shift brought about budget-conscious companies: Customers focused more on support and service, in part to make up for their own reduced staffing, according to Gartner.
I also read with interest that more vendors are offering a wider selection of integration tools. In the past, vendors tended to fall firmly into specific types of technologies-ETL, EAI, mashups. The current trend seems to be for vendors to broaden their range-a trend no doubt fueled in part by consolidations in this space.
The report contained bad news for those of you who still don't get the strategic part of data integration and management: Gartner warns the difference between how companies manage data could lead to a competitive disadvantage for the laggards:
... the gap between those organizations treating data management (and specifically, data integration) as a strategic competency and those approaching it in a reactive, tactical fashion is growing. Those that focus solely on running the business and growing the business - business as usual, with a focus only on implementing data integration architectures as cheaply as possible and optimized for narrow needs - will continue to fall farther behind their competition.
If you've read this blog over the past year, you probably won't be surprised to learn about some of the other trends, including the convergence of data integration tools and data quality tools, more focus on data services, more solutions for dealing with big data and more options for cloud integration.
I think it's always easier to actually view the Magic Quadrant graph, but for those of you who don't have time, here's my summary:
Leaders: Informatica ranked the highest in terms of the best ability to execute, while IBM ranked slightly further along in completeness of vision. Both edged out SAP, which in turn beat out Oracle, in the leaders quadrant on both ability to execute and completeness of visionary.
Challengers: Microsoft was the only entrant in this quadrant.
Niche Players: Syncsort and Pitney Bowes Business Insight-a small group that fits when you consider the trend for data integration vendors to extend beyond niche markets.
Visionaries: Crowded into the visionary box were SAS/DataFlux, iWay Software, Pervasive Software and Talend-with SAS/Dataflux remarkably close to pushing over the line into the leader quadrant and iWay Software not far behind, although ranking farther back in terms of completeness of vision.
If, for some reason, the report isn't available on Gartner's site, you can also download it from Informatica, which also happens to be offering Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management of Customer Data, released in October, and the Magic Quadrant for Data Quality Tools, released in June.