2014: The year of the business user 

Data integration will stop being a middleware technology and become a business process, controlled by IT but driven by the business.  

“We’ve removed the constraints on accessing the data, but you still need people who have some basic statistical knowledge to get some value from it.”

—Charlie Betz, data architect, analyst, and author

If 2013 was the year of big data, then 2014 will be the year of big data for the people. Investments in first-generation data integration technologies are nearing the end of their life cycle. The business knows what it wants from data and is looking to the next generation of tools to provide value.

Three major factors will lead IT to hand over data integration capabilities to business users:

  • Data integration will be treated more as a business process and less as middleware.
    Data integration is at an inflection point. It is more than an IT puzzle for data architects to solve. It is becoming a business process and policy issue that must be addressed across the organization. In 2014, the integration platform will become the largest business system in the enterprise (it always has been, but now it will get the recognition).
  • Next-generation data integration architecture will empower business users.
    IT’s traditional business intelligence processes are now too slow to keep up with demand. To succeed in 2014, you will need to recognize this by providing tools to business users in need of access to real-time data. A next-generation data integration architecture can give business users the access they are demanding while maintaining your data governance requirements. Plan for data governance and self-service to become an integral part of daily business operations.
  • It is time to fully embrace big data.
    According to Gartner1 , investments in big data increased in 2013 and will continue to rise in 2014. Gartner’s September report, “Survey Analysis: Big Data Adoption in 2013 Shows Substance Behind the Hype,” suggests that some organizations are already “engaging in game-changing activities” with big data. According to the report, 42 percent are developing new products and business models and 23 percent are monetizing information directly.

The business will begin to handle data integration tasks that IT used to do, while IT will take on the role of business system enabler. As the IT staff hands off data analytics, business users will need to be trained in more than the technology, says data architect, analyst, and author Charlie Betz.

“Even if you have the easiest interface in the world, you might still find that only 10 or 15 percent of people could deal with it. The gap is not in the technology. The gap is in people’s education and training and ability to understand data,” says Betz.

“We’ve removed the constraints on accessing the data,” he says, “but you still need people who have some basic statistical knowledge to get some value from it. How are they able to translate a business problem into a formulation that the data can answer?”

If you are among those organizations engaging with big data, look to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools as a roadmap.

Gartner, “Survey Analysis: Big Data Adoption in 2013 Shows Substance Behind the Hype ,” September 12, 2013.

Related content


Architecting for big data

The Internet of Things produces data at rates beyond human comprehension. It may also overwhelm your data environment.


Traditional BI cannot keep up with the real-time demands of the business

Business users need actionable insight based on the latest information, so you need to build a foundation for agile BI, real-time analytics, and operational reporting.


Automation key to eradicating inefficiencies

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