Help for Those Facing First Integration Project

Loraine Lawson

When you write about integration every weekday, it's easy to focus on what's new and different and forget the basics. But as Fernando Labastida pointed out on his blog, there are a lot of integration newbies whose companies are just now starting their first integration projects.

Labastida is a regional sales executive for Pervasive Software, which sells data integration and management solutions. In a recent post, Labastida noted that many companies and even departments within large organizations are facing their first integration projects, thanks to requirements for business intelligence (BI), customer resource management (CRM) or mergers and acquisitions.

His post outlined five decisions IT directors need to make for a successful integration project:

  1. What is the goal of your project?
  2. What kind of integration do you need -- is it a migration or do you need to do extract, transform and load (ETL)? Is it an application integration or B2B?
  3. What are the sources of your data and where is it headed?
  4. What resources -- tools or skill -- do you have or need to acquire?
  5. Will you build or buy?

He offers guidance on how you can answer each of these questions. Of course, since he's a sales executive for Pervasive, he suggests you consider the benefits of buying an integration solution, but that's no reason to disregard the advice. As Philip Russom, an analyst with The Data Warehousing, recently pointed out, data integration technology has matured within the past five years and can actually save you money in the long run.

Although, as Labastida added, you don't need a $100,000 ETL tool if all you want to do is add a mailing list to your CRM.

If data integration is your poison ... errr, project, you might want to also review Gartner's nine tips for data integration costs in 2008.

If, for some reason, you're not involved in an integration project, you can either:

  • Thank your lucky, lucky stars.
  • Jump into the game by picking one of the 2008 integration goals outlined by either Rick Sherman (data) or Robert Pease (B2B).

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 25, 2008 12:18 PM Dylan Jones Dylan Jones  says:
Lorraine - very timely post.I think that although the data integration market has matured, there is now greater confusion than ever over which option to take.Open Source? New entrant? Old stalwharts? In-house? Out-Source? Onshore? Offshore?Data integration also means many different things to different people. Part of the reason I created DataMigrationPro.com was to break down data integration into more defined sectors that could be better covered. I also wanted to create a community where IT and business decision-makers could connect and share their ideas, fears and plans.Data integration is now a vast subject and requires careful planning before you sign off that first project.According to research undertaken by Bloor less than 1 in 5 migrations actually deliver on time and on budget so many are getting it wrong.My advice would be to use many of the business communities available to ask other peers for their advice, learn from those who have travelled the road before you.Get plenty of second opinions and if you are looking to work with a partner to implement the project then demand to speak with their previous integration or migration customers. The quality of system integrators can vary dramatically so be ruthless in finding the right one.Fernando's comments or spot on though, be sure you really understand what you are trying to achieve before you set out on the road to implementation.Dylan JonesFounder-DataMigrationPro.com Reply

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