New Research Evaluates TCO and Productivity of Data Integration Tools

    Factors such as total cost of ownership, initial costs, and impact on productivity are issues that IT, theoretically, should consider when investing in technology tools. And yet, that information is difficult to find on data integration solutions.

    A recent report from Bloor Research changes that. The research firm used survey responses from 292 companies to compare seven integration solutions: Actian, IBM, Informatica, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and handcoding.

    “Our results certainly show dramatic, and sometimes surprising, differences between vendors and products in both overall TCO and in cost per project and cost per source system, as well as variations within the range of common integration scenarios or use cases,” states report author Philip Howard.

    The report evaluates these solutions based on a number of metrics, including:

    • Average time in weeks to develop per source/target
    • Project length per source/target for six common integration scenarios
    • Initial costs for licensing, subscription, and per project per source/target for four integration scenarios
    • Three-year TCO per project per source/target
    • Perceived suitability by use case (application integration, B2B, data migration, data warehouse, MDM and SaaS)
    • Monthly maintenance
    • Annual costs

    Let me put your curiosity to rest: Handcoding is never the winner in these metrics. In fact, it’s relatively expensive, Howard points out.

    One finding that should really give some of you pause is that, even though all the vendors support SaaS integration, the survey shows that none of the products were deemed suitable for SaaS integrations by at least 40 percent of the respondents.

    “This suggests that all the suppliers have some work to do in this area,” Howard writes.

    Otherwise, the findings favor Microsoft and Informatica. Bloor Research suspects that Microsoft’s high ratings may be a result of operating in a Microsoft-centric environment, which really isn’t comparing apples to apples, so to speak.

    In the final analysis, Howard concludes, “For non-Microsoft purposes Informatica is clearly the value choice here and is well ahead of both IBM and Oracle, though Actian may be a good choice for smaller environment.”

    Not surprisingly, if you want to read this report, you’ll need to download it from Informatica’s site.

    It’s worth noting that the report does not include a breakdown of the responses by specific solutions. For instance, out of those 292 responses, how many used handcoding? Were there 30 responses from IBM users, but 125 from Informatica customers? It will be interesting to see whether the other vendors offer counter research or responses.

    With these questions in mind, it’s at least worth a read, largely because it’s the only place you’ll find a comparison of these kinds of metrics (at least, for free). And, the responses are from actual users and reflect their experience with these tools. That in its own right is worth considering, especially when you learn that how satisfied they were depended on the use case. For instance, just because your IT investments tend to favor one major vendor — say, Oracle, IBM or SAP — doesn’t mean you’ll be happy with their integration tool, particularly as you expand the tool’s use to other integration scenarios.

    “The message here is that users should evaluate tools for all potential uses and not just select their normal vendors by default or limit their product assessments to a single use case,” Howard writes.

    This is the first time Bloor Research has conducted this research since 2010.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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