What’s the hottest data integration tool on the market? It’s Informatica, followed closely by IBM, according to the “2012 Value Index for Data Integration” report by Ventana Research.
That’s the reverse of the most recent Gartner Magic Quadrant, which put IBM slightly ahead of Informatica.
But, actually, it seems you may be safe — with one footnote — choosing any of 11 tools, all of which received Ventana’s top rating of “hot.” The other nine vendors with hot data integration tools were, in order:
Only two of the 13 accessed received the “warm” rating: SnapLogic and Attunity, although SnapLogic was rated hot in usability.
This is the first year for this particular report, but in a recent blog post, Ventana CEO and Chief Research Officer Mark Smith said it’s the culmination of 10 years of following the market.
Smith writes that recent versions of data integration tools are more manageable, usable, reliable and adaptable. They’ve also added new capabilities, including:
- Targets for Big Data environments
- Better integration with business processes
- More support for business analytics
So what makes one vendor hotter than another? In many cases, he writes, the top vendors support better workflow and collaboration across teams.
While vendor tools have progressed, it seems many IT organizations are still a bit backwards when it comes to integration. As part of its research into tools, Ventana also talks with IT divisions about how they manage data integration.
The research firm found that only one in six organizations are at the highest “Innovative” level of maturity in information management, which, it adds, depends on data integration.
Improving integration is not just about technology, the executive summary points out. It’s also about updating skills, processes and gathering data from the organization.
“The research consistently finds that such improvements are not only necessary but desired, as only 2 percent of participants said that improvement to their information processes is not necessary and only 10 percent are very satisfied with how they handle data integration,” the executive summary notes.
Right now, nearly half of the organizations Ventana surveyed integrate six or more data sources and 24 percent integrate more than 20 data sources.
As data grows and more organizations realize the need for an enterprise view of the data, both numbers are expected to rise to 68 percent and 37 percent, respectively, within the year.
But here’s the rub: While 55 percent say data integration is critical to their information strategy, in the last two years, “only 15 percent have completed a formal data integration improvement initiative,” the report states:
Dedicated software for data integration can automate much of this work. Properly deployed, such a tool can save significant time and resources in producing data that is consistent, timely and of high quality. Automation also can save people time in data preparation; more than two-thirds of the organizations participating in our research reported that they spend more time on preparing the data than on productive analysis.
The long and short of it is that more organizations may be forced to invest not just in data integration tools, but in MDM, data quality, data governance and data virtualization.
So what should you look for in a data integration tool?
Well, remember that one footnote I mentioned? Even though 11 vendors rated the “hot” ranking, the tools are not equal across all of the seven categories Ventana analyzed and do not offer the same capabilities. For instance, SAP, SAS and Oracle do not support cloud computing.
Two vendors, SnapLogic and Attunity, were rated as warm, even though SnapLogic rated hot in usability and specializes in cloud integration.
So, if you’re shopping for a data integration tool, you’ll want to consider which features matter most to your company and seek out vendors that offer what’s most important.
If you’d like to read more, the executive summary is available for free download with registration.