Four Data Integration Trends to Watch in 2008

Loraine Lawson

We're full into the holiday season, which means everyone is either on vacation or at an office party. Here's a trade secret from the world of newspapers: The real reason you see so many year-in-review and prediction articles in both trade and mainstream press is because writers can never reach sources during the last two weeks of every year.

Everyone else is on vacation or holding an office party, it seems.

Much of these year-in-review pieces are completely skip-able. The prediction pieces are fun and intriguing, but rarely remembered and so useless.

Still, there are worthwhile exceptions, such as today's article in Enterprise Systems. "The Year in Review, The Year Ahead" manages that rare feat of offering both useful reflections from 2007 and insightful predictions for 2008 on data integration and business intelligence.

The first part talks about the buyouts in business intelligence and performance management. That's a big yawner, so I'll sum up: No pure-play BIs, dashboards are pretty, yada, yada, yada.

Skip on down to the fun stuff, which, for my money, begins at the section subtitled, "Data Integration Still Front and Center." Here you'll find a nice wrap-up on major vendors that updated or, through acquisition, solidified their data-integration offerings.

But the predictions about what we can expect next in data integration are even more useful. Here's a summary:

  1. Data integration in 2008 is only going to become more important for businesses, thanks largely to master data- management initiatives and the continual pressure of regulatory compliance.
  2. Data quality will move front and center for vendors and businesses. If you think about it, this makes sense. Now that you can integrate all that data, you want to make sure it's accurate and useful, right? Mergers and acquisitions in 2007, a trend expected to continue into 2008, are the main drivers behind this. According to one expert cited in the article, Gartner predicts the market for data-quality tools could reach nearly $700 million by 2011.
  3. Collaboration. The article notes that more and more specialists are joining the data-integration and quality team within organizations. All these people will need tools to help them collaborate on processes. The focus on social technologies also will help drive collaboration as a key aspect of data management.

Of course, if the article is correct and all these people join data-quality teams, then I'm going to go out on a limb here and throw out a fourth prediction of my own: 4. You'll hear more about the need for a chief data officer in the new year. I feel pretty confident about this, and not just because we're always hearing about how companies need another new CXO.


First, it makes sense. Data increasingly is the lifeblood for enterprises, whether you're dealing with sales or customers or actual product fulfillment. And when you have a team of high-salary workers grouped together to address an ongoing business challenge, it makes sense that there'd be an executive-level person overseeing that function.


Second, there's precedence, since this role already exists in a few -- or, to be precise, at least three -- companies, including one in the financial sector, according to Wikipedia. In fact, this role is so new, you can still find old press releases announcing that Dr. Usama Fayyad was named the first chief data officer of Yahoo In 2005 -- a title he still holds.

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Dec 19, 2007 2:41 PM Francis Carden Francis Carden  says:
I agree that data is *a* lifeblood for enterprises but data on its own is pretty plain and boring! Integrating data is actually quite easy but thats not all there is to it. The issue making integration hard in my humble opinion is the business logic. The logic surrounding the data is what makes data the most useful and for me, really is *the* lifeblood of the enterprise. I think this is as true today as it was when the first data application was built.Now, I could probably infer that by data, you actually meant the post business logic data and not that just out there stored in a file store of some type. However, I think this is where organizations have continued to get into trouble, my blurring these two so very different pieces of the enterprise application architecture. Adding business logic around data that must exist somewhere breaks the simplicity of data into such complexity, it is one of the key reasons data is so hard to integrate. The theory goes that web services solve this by re-use. Maybe thats true but Im already seeing multiple versions or copies of the same services so they can be used in different ways. Each version of these services may be wrapped in yet more business logic, at the server or at the client or both. Even more business logic may exist at the consumption side and before you know it, you have a new breed of legacy applications with many of the same problems as before.Its there a panacea? No, not really. Web services does help, having a new CXO will definitely help too but in the mean time, addressing data integration issues, post business logic by building APIs at all layers (including the presentation layer) will at least solve the business problems pains when a new merger comes along. After all, a merger or acquisition is all about time to market and integration is one of the most critical pieces.OpenSpan enables the creation of API's where none exist. The consumption of data, services, business logic and real-time UI's will rule in 2008 - IMHO. Reply
Dec 21, 2007 9:22 AM Loraine Lawson Loraine Lawson  says:
I've been thinking about this for a good 24 hours now.I'm 99.9 percent sure I meant data, not business logic. I can see how the business logic would be more important, but really, as a metaphor, if the straight data is the blood, then the business logic would be the bones. Or the muscle. Or the organs. Or some other critical biological tissue that needs blood.I can understand how business logic would be the big problem, ultimately. But I think that's too thin a slice of the pie I'm lumping together as data integration. Then again, what may be simple for one company may not be simple for another - mostly I'm thinking of staff experience and skill restraints. Otherwise, I can't for the life of me figure out why a fax is the third most used method for information integration. (See the Sept. 21 about E2Open's survey asking companies what technology they used to to synchronize orders, forecasts and inventory status. The top choice was e-mail, followed by EDI and then a fax machine! http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/mia/?p=221)Maybe others will chime in here. Reply
Mar 30, 2011 4:42 PM Sara Sara  says:

Over the past few years of using Data Integrator, I've found it to be an extremely powerful tool for integrating cloud-to-cloud or cloud-to-on premise. It has enabled simple integration for mere mortals like myself with a limited programming background and has been an incredibly flexible and powerful tool with our development staff enabling complex processes to be built and executed in the cloud.Wedding updos


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