Integration Resolutions to Solve All Your Problems in 2012

Loraine Lawson
Slide Show

Data Integration Remains a Major IT Headache

Study shows that data integration is still costly and requires a lot of manual coding.

Happy New Year! How are you doing on your resolutions so far? Did you run this morning? Turn down that doughnut? Don't worry if you didn't - you've got a whole year to get it right, and if the past is any indicator, you should be able to find plenty of others struggling with the same goals.


Typically, we aren't very creative when it comes to New Year's resolutions. They tend to follow common themes, year after year: Lose weight, get fit, learn something new, spend more time with family and friends, travel, volunteer, get organized, save money, drink less and/or stop smoking, and, my favorite, enjoy life more.


These resolutions look pretty personal, but I actually think they'd be great for data management and integration. Let's look at how you might use these to set new data goals for 2012.


Lose weight. Companies are dealing with obscene amounts of data because there are no clear rules for when they can delete it without violating laws or compromising risks, says Harry Pugh, a veteran leader in technology policy and governance. But IT can't afford to keep everything - so this year, put your data on a diet by setting clear policies on what provides the key nutrients for the business and dump the data junk.


Get fit. A lot of integration work comes from slow and lumbering practices, such as hand-coding. Want to be a lean, mean integration machine? Put lean integration practices on your to-do list. Companies that practice lean integration reduce their integration development and delivery time by up to 90 percent and see about 50 percent productivity improvement on average.


Learn something new. In a 2011 survey, TDWI found that organizations are only using about 40 percent of their data integration tool's functions. Maybe they don't need those extra capabilities - but then again, maybe they do. The only way to know for sure is to learn something new about the tools you have by making sure your IT team receives training on whatever data management solution you may use. And what if you don't have a data management solution? Then make your resolution to learn about what's available.


Spend more time with family and friends. IT wants to be taken seriously as a business partner, but when was the last time you hung out with business users? I realize they may not be your family and friends per se, but you may find your job is easier if you're at least friendly with the business side. While we're on the subject, make the time you do spend with business users more productive by focusing on listening - not talking.


Travel to new places. It's easy to get in a rut, but in IT, that can be dangerous. Often, it's the business side that pushes IT to explore new places and new solutions, whether that's a laptop computer, a mobile phone, SaaS or cloud computing. This year, get ahead of the game by exploring new places and technologies and how they can make life easier for you and business users. Obviously, you'll want to explore the options coming out of cloud and with Big Data - but don't forget more cutting-edge developments from the semantic web, semantic integration, MDM in the cloud and Linked Data.


Volunteer. Become an IT department that volunteers solutions rather than always throwing up obstacles. Look for new ways data management and integration can support business initiatives. If you're looking for ideas, read my blog - I often share case studies and successes I've found. Then voluntarily bring these ideas to your CEO, your CMO, your CFO or whatever business leader you think would benefit most from your idea.


Get organized. One of the reasons that integration costs so much is there's so little planning and organization. Integration is treated as a to-do item on bigger projects. Get organized by starting an Integration Competency Center. You won't regret it.


Save money. Drink less/stop smoking. Enjoy life more. By focusing on the data resolutions I've already mentioned, you should find you're able to save money on integration interface development, speed up deployment times and better support business strategies. That, in turn, will save your IT department and your company money, which should reduce your stress, making it easier to give up those crutches of overindulging and smoking.


With healthier lungs, fewer hangovers and fewer integration headaches, you'll have no problem at all realizing that last resolution and enjoying life more in 2012. Voil - all your problems solved by focusing on integration. You're welcome.


I'd love to hear your data or integration resolutions for 2012. Give me a shout-out on Twitter @LoraineLawson .

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