Economy Hasn't Dampened Data-Integration Plans


It's a good time to be a data-integration specialist, it seems. But then again-when is it ever a bad time to be a data-integration specialist?


This week, Enterprise Systems examined the impact of the recession on enterprise data-integration projects. While there's little hard and fast data about this area, the analysts and vendors say data-integration projects seem to be moving forward, in part because integration is critical to business intelligence (BI) implementations.


Overall, IT departments are facing budget cuts, but Computerworld reports CIOs have been able to save their staffs and many IT initiatives, largely because business executives hope technology will make their companies more financially efficient.


As the Enterprise Systems article points out, data integration is a foundation of most such technology projects, particularly BI and any project where you hope to eliminate silos or reduce applications.


Philip Russom, senior manager with TDWI Research, noted he's seeing fewer new ERP or CRM deployments, although he noted ERP and CRM consolidation projects are still in the works. Yet, companies are still committing to data integration and BI tools:


"Firms are, however, making carefully selected incremental improvements to pre-existing infrastructure. In my BI-oriented world, that means that I've seen companies commit to new tools and new solutions in data integration, data quality, and related stuff like master data management."


Data integration and SOA expert David Linthicum wasn't surprised at the Enterprise Systems article, noting that spending for data integration reflects an overall willingness to spend on tactical solutions, but not strategic initiatives.

"What we're seeing is the simple fact that data integration, relatively speaking, is cheap when considering the benefit. Clearly, the lack of data integration within many enterprises is hurting productivity. .... the fact of the matter is that things like business intelligence and other activities which have direct tactical benefit actually become more popular during downturns. Left out in the cold are more strategic activities where the value is much longer term."