New TDWI Research Delves into Data Integration and the Power of a Platform
A new report from TDWI Research is essential reading for anybody responsible for the future of their company’s data management strategy and/or architecture. In “Modernizing Data Integration to Accommodate New Big Data and New Business Requirements Integration,” TDWI Director for Data Management Philip Russom details a seven-item checklist for modernizing data integration that will really help organizations wrestle with the challenge to do more with data—faster—to support new business initiatives.
One thing that jumped out at me as I read it is that if you’re responsible for data management, change will be constant, and you have to plan for it. Organizations today—yours and your competitors’—are looking to compete on analytics. That will require not just data, but clean, reliable, secure data that can fuel innovation and decision-making. You’ll need to support new business use cases, while dealing with the increasing volume and complexity of data and assessing and adopting new analytics technology.
Calling it a “checklist” sounds slight, but Russom has given a lot of depth to each item on the checklist, and discusses the big trends that will impact your future data management requirements, including:
• Multi-latency data delivery
• Fast data prep
• Enabling self-service data access
• Leveraging new platform types
• Adding right-time functions
• Incorporating multi-structured and non-traditional data
The final issue Russom considers is the value of modernizing your data integration tool portfolio to an integrated platform of multiple data management tools. That, I think, is a very important move to make.
The value of an integrated platform
The challenge with data is to meet the demands of the business, and a hodge-podge of overlapping tools won’t make it easy. Your data infrastructure has to deliver data to serve all business initiatives while you also manage change, work to speed data delivery times, and enable more business self-service of data. The only way to do that is with a standard data management platform that provides:
• An end-to end data management capability
• Code re-use
• Data set discovery and re-use
• Automation and intelligence
• Developer and user abstraction from changes in the underlying data and technology to do analytics
Your existing DW/BI environment is not likely to go away any time soon. It serves a very useful purpose today—delivering high-quality data and insights based on well-managed, structured data. Yet we’re also going to see greater need for new capabilities enabled by new technologies. The change will not be sudden. It is inevitable, but cumulative.
This means you’re looking for a data management platform that will serve your immediate requirements and also allow you to evolve with future, still-unknown needs. It will have to let you both integrate your existing tools and adopt new technology with minimal disruption. Basically, every business has different needs, and you want a single, unified platform that’s able to move at the pace your organization is comfortable with, and that your business strategy requires.
Emerging strategies and best practices
Finding a platform that provides that level of flexibility, lets you transfer skill sets from one project to another, and supports both business-critical decision making and rapid analytics innovation, is no easy task. Surveys such as the one TDWI has in this report are showing that the trend towards integrated data management platforms is strong and growing, but Philip Russom’s checklist is the sort of thoughtful, insightful document that is going to help organizations better understand the challenge, and see the road to success.
Of course, a checklist just gets you started, and I’m hoping we’ll all be reading further insight from Philip soon. The question I’d pose to him would be around the challenge of turning insights into action. Specifically, I’d like to know what he’d recommend in terms of operationalizing useful insights that have been found in the “innovation” side of the analytics environment. I think organizations will benefit greatly as best practices around that “handoff” crystalize.
But don’t let me get ahead of myself—for now, download the TDWI Research paper, “Modernizing Data Integration to Accommodate New Big Data and New Business Requirements,” to see how to continue your own data evolution.