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Automation key to eradicating inefficiencies

Next-generation data integration promises to increase productivity by providing transparency into the sources and formats of data.  

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“IT needs to turn around information and reports as fast as they can while still maintaining operations and their sanity. Automating the data integration process is a key factor.”

—Claudia Imhoff, president of Intelligent Solutions and founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust

In 2014, business users will start accessing data in real time through tools provided by next-generation data integration solutions. They provide trustworthy data from a vast range of sources and formats through self-service and real-time analytics. No one can build this overnight, but taking the first steps should be among your goals for the first quarter of 2014. Begin by focusing on data integration automation, one of several best practices designed to support this architecture.

“There are two levels of productivity that are reshaped as part of this. First, the productivity requirements of business users—they need information at a moment’s notice,” says Claudia Imhoff, president of Intelligent Solutions and founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust. “Second, there’s the productivity of IT itself. They need to turn around information and reports as fast as they can while still maintaining operations and their sanity. Automating the data integration process is a key factor.”

Taking the first step

The prerequisite for automating data integration is a structured repository for all of your organization’s enterprise applications. Start by creating a definitive list of all of the applications you need to integrate.

Sounds simple. But, depending on your organization’s level of integration maturity, you might be starting from one or more unstructured lists kept in Excel spreadsheets. You need to create one list of all enterprise applications, and then move that list into an enterprise architecture repository that acts as the official list of application systems. That definitive list will need to evolve along with your portfolio of enterprise applications.

Enable your organization’s shift to a next-generation data integration architecture by creating a disciplined process around maintaining your enterprise application portfolios in a structured repository. Include change control and future planning, as well as transparency for different enterprise stakeholders.

Eliminating inefficiencies

Automation provides transparency into the process and eliminates inefficiencies. For instance:

  • Relevant information is stored in a metadata repository and accessed through a role-based user interface. Colleagues no longer need to actually communicate, which is especially helpful in organizations that have moved IT duties offshore.
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  • Rules and requirements are stored in a structured repository, which can be accessed by any data management worker in any time zone at any hour. You won’t need to clarify requirements because users will have visibility into the end-to-end process.  
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  • Instead of wasting time on low-level integration tasks, data managers can focus on more important enterprise integration needs—such as coming to a single version of truth for your organization’s data.

Learn the best way to drive your own efforts in the webinar “Architectural Best Practices for Next-Generation Data Integration,” with Claudia Imhoff.

Learn the best way to drive your own efforts in the webinar “Architectural Best Practices for Next-Generation Data Integration,” with Claudia Imhoff..

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