Moving to a “Data Integration First” Strategy

Data Integration FirstWant to transform your business? You need data integration. At least, that’s the good advice from Julie Hunt.

“Forward-moving businesses and their data needs comprise a whole new world that is constantly changing. This new data-smart world is built on expanded approaches to data integration that have become known collectively as Modern Data Integration. If businesses want the right kind of data to underpin advanced analytics processes or to create multi-dimensional views of customers, data integration must be pursued as a strategic function that aligns with business objectives.”

Of course, geeks like me have been saying that for years, and a few indeed did listen. However, today most enterprises don’t view data integration as a strategic direction for the company, and far too often it gets placed in the “tactical technology” bucket.

Data is strategic, both data that you own and data that you don’t. The ability to bring the right data together, at the right time, leads to a business that can make decisions around almost perfect data.

For example, a manufacturing plant can figure out just the perfect number of products to produce by leveraging internal data, such as sales over the last 5 years, and external data, such as weather trends that are likely to affect sales. Moreover, they are able to see the resulting demand calculations in near real time, and thus save millions in inventory overages or shortages.

While this is a simple example, one can take this concept to more valuable and complex levels. For instance, a bank can make automatic trades based upon 100+ different data flows coming from internal and external systems. Moreover, enterprises can take advantage data analysis capabilities from machine learning-based systems, or predictive analytics. All are part of today’s modern data science, but all need data integration to bring that data forward to be analyzed.

“Vital data needed by organizations frequently is found not only outside the enterprise data warehouse but outside the enterprise. Businesses are pressed to recognize the value that can come from integrating data from a variety of sources.”

While this may seem old school, data integration it’s really something that most enterprises have yet to adopt. Indeed, those that have are leading their market, while those that have yet to get around to it are not.

The end result is “natural selection” of enterprises that understand the strategic value of data integration and build it into their overall IT strategy. This does take time, money, and technology but the ROI from these efforts is more than 200 percent, on average, considering all business benefits.

So, why can’t business get in gear? Most won’t read this blog, but will stumble onto the value of data integration by accident. This will typically be around a proof-of-concept project that pays huge dividends. Learn from those.