The Unexpected Business Uses of Data-Synchronization Tools


Data synchronization is a critical part of many integration projects. If you're consolidating CRM systems, undertaking a master data management project, building support for real-time fraud detection or just trying to provide better customer service, then you're probably going to need data synchronization.


In fact, data synchronization tools and techniques "are used today at an unprecedented level," according to The Data Warehousing Institute, thanks in part to <strong>the increase in both transactional and operational data-integration projects</strong>.


TWDI recently published a free checklist on data-synchronization tools. It's titled a checklist, but I thought that was a bit of a misnomer-it's more of a FAQ, detailing the numerous uses and attributes of data synchronization, but written in the format of a list.


To be honest, I thought "data synchronization" was a bit self-explanatory, and it's not like this is exactly a new thing. But I actually found the report very illuminating, because it speaks directly to how data synchronization can support specific, strategic business needs without being overly technical.


Mind you, there's still a healthy dose of technical information in the report, but it manages to remain useful and accessible to business readers. For instance, the report explains there is a difference between data synchronization and data replication, even though many data-synchronization tools are built with replication technology. In fact, many data-integration tools-including enterprise application integration and ETL-can be used or contribute to data syncing, according to the report.


Primarily, the report speaks to when you would use a data-synchronization solution and how data synchronization aids other technology initiatives. Here's the primary business-use cases the report describes:

  • On-going synchronization of customer data across multiple CRM and CDI solutions, which helps improve data integrity.
  • Synchronizing operational data across ERP applications.
  • Real-time data delivery-especially if you're interested in improving customer service, cross-selling, up-selling, detecting fraud or material management.
  • Providing database high availability, because it can handle the "bidirectional active-active configurations that are becoming the standard architecture for database high availability."


As I said, the report is free, but you do have to fill out a standard information form. It's written by TDWI analyst Philip Russom and sponsored by GoldenGate Software, which, of course, sells a data-synchronization product. (Incidentally, if you're curious about GoldenGate, I recently interviewed GoldenGate Vice President of MarketingSami Akbay, about why real-time retail data is taking so long.)