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Four Data Integration Trends to Watch in 2008

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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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