Make your biggest application
the least visible

If CRM, ERP, and payroll are not the biggest applications in your organization, what is? Follow the data for the answer.


Social media platforms are equally responsible for the explosion of data, with users generating 1 billion Tweets every 72 hours and posting more than 35 percent of the world’s photographs on Facebook.

If an application is measured by the amount of resources it consumes and its scope, data migration and integration tools come out on top. This is becoming increasingly clear as organizations strive to connect a host of disparate systems inside and outside the enterprise and integrate growing volumes of different data types.

Department heads often see the individual applications that drive their piece of the business as the most important. Sales and marketing leaders, for instance, would rank CRM as paramount. If you have a broader perspective of your organization, you might counter that a system as wide-reaching and complex as enterprise resource planning (ERP) must be the largest application, or suite of applications. After all, it spans across departments and encompasses critical business applications such as payroll and CRM.

Although these individual applications generate an enormous amount of data every second of every day, the systems that manage that data surpass them in size. Yet data migration and integration systems are not just larger due to the volume of data they manage. They also arguably generate the most value by aggregating and correlating disparate data to form new insights.

Data exhaust

Other factors contribute to the explosion of data. Mobile device usage is growing at an exponential rate, as is the associated data from mobile applications that developers are creating in response to demand. Social media platforms are equally responsible as users generate 1 billion Tweets every 72 hours and post more than 35 percent of the world’s photographs on Facebook.1

These proliferating point solutions connect to their own data stores as well as those of others. Because siloed data-integration projects tend to be the norm, the amount of waste resulting from redundant data and efforts is exploding as well. The lack of central ownership or accountability for data movement and integration only compounds the problem.

Invisible force

Should organizations that effectively manage all of this data claim that they use the “biggest applications”? Not necessarily. If managed correctly, data migration and integration tools should be transparent. Business users, for instance, are concerned only with the availability of clear and consistent data in the appropriate process context, not where it comes from.

Data migration and integration tools get attention when they are inefficient, inflate budgets without providing value, or when they are absent. Companies not taking advantage of centralized data migration and integration tools are missing big opportunities. Implementing a central data integration system will save money, reduce risk, accelerate the pace of change, and increase employee productivity. And those advantages translate into business value for customers.

Data warehouses and analytics systems that can process data quickly and cost-effectively will generate greater business value as the amount of data continues to grow.

For more information, watch The Future of Data Integration, which details next-generation data-integration processes.

1 Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt, The Human Face of Big Data, November 2012.

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