IT Still Struggles to Justify Data Integration Strategy

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    Strategic Integration: 10 Business-Building Tips

    According to Gartner’s recent Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools, many organizations still don’t have a strategic, comprehensive approach to data integration. But there is a growing awareness that it’s needed, especially as CIOs face:

    • Pressure to collect and integrate data for business needs and changes
    • Requirements for data delivery support
    • Urgent demand for real-time or within a minute data to support business agility

    That doesn’t mean it’s an easy sell to the executive suite, however.

    “For most organizations, pursuing and investing in data integration as a strategic and coherent enterprise capability remains an uphill justification,” the report notes in the Market Overview section. “Addressing requirements early with the business is crucial, because it is easier to architect than to retrofit characteristics that must be present in an architecture for a multimode, multipurpose data integration environment that flexibly operates beyond conventional bulk/batch movements, to include non-bulk approaches for replication, federation and message-based integration.”

    Other market trends that factored into this year’s Magic Quadrant ranking include:

    • A strategy that places data integration central to the enterprise’s information infrastructure. Just as organizations realize they need a data integration strategy, there’s also awareness that data integration must be the centerpiece of their overall information infrastructure, and they want tools that will support that. Big Data plays a huge role in this trend, as companies look for tools that can integrate large, diverse datasets.

      “In a move away from meeting data integration requirements with disparate interfaces and tools, forward-thinking enterprises are beginning to pursue the architectural concept of a data integration hub capable of managing the exchange of entity information– such as in relating to customers, products or suppliers–and transactional context,” Gartner writes.

    • Pressure to rationalize enterprise IT tools. Gartner clients say their organizations want to “reduce the number of tactical data integration tools with a chosen or enforced enterprise standard.” Going back to that theme of strategic integration, businesses want tools that can promote a shared-services approach (can you say “SOA”) to integration. A related trend: Organizations want tools that are flexible enough to use for multiple integration scenarios throughout the organization.
    • Support for federated and virtual views of data in logical data warehouse architectures.
    • More demand for vendors who put a high priority on customer support and service. “Buyers are also focusing strongly on the availability of skills both within a provider’s installed base and via system integrator partners and of forums in which they can share experiences, lessons and solutions with their peers,” Gartner writes.

    As for the Magic Quadrant ranking, Talend, which ranked as a visionary, is offering a free download of the report, but if you’re busy, IT Toolbox’s Vincent McBurney provides an excellent mashup that compares this year’s quadrant with 2012’s quadrant, so you can easily see who moved where.

    As usual, IBM and Informatica ranked the highest, but basically traded places this year. SAP, Oracle and SAS rounded out the leader quadrants.

    Gartner didn’t drop any vendors, but this year the IT research firm added Adeptia as a niche player and Composite Software as a visionary.

    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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