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Application integration: Ensure
current, open, and clean data

Deploying a new application? Keep data integration and quality a priority to avoid common pitfalls.

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Gartner predicts that organizations will spend one-third more on application integration in 2016 than they did in 2013.

Getting an application up and running is not of concern anymore. With the widespread adoption of cloud- and SaaS-based applications, we are no longer constrained by lengthy, multiyear projects—application owners can deliver functionality to the business in a matter of weeks.

New concerns are integrating the application with legacy, on-premises systems and making sure the new data is readily accessible for downstream systems and analysis.

Plan integration early, save later
Even though application and data integration remains an expensive, time-consuming component of an enterprise application deployment, it is the one mission-critical aspect that can determine the success of the project. Gartner predicts that organizations will spend one-third more on application integration in 2016 than they did in 2013. In fact, by 2018, more than half of the cost of implementing most new large systems will be spent on integration.1

As you prepare to deploy a new application, keep these aggressive figures in mind. Think about how you can incorporate more integration elements into the design phase in parallel with new feature rollouts. Map out data flows and focus on how you can eliminate potential custom integration points.

Emphasize current, open, and clean
Build integration time and resources into your deployment plan. Focus on data availability, easily accessible formats, and quality by prioritizing the following:

  1. At go-live, make sure your new application is using the most current data by synchronizing with existing enterprise applications and data warehouses. Define a checkpoint in the plan so it doesn’t get overlooked. This will avoid duplicate or missing data sets.
  2. Ensure that the data in your new application is readily available to existing applications and analyses. Look for ways to build open interfaces and integration points to avoid data lockdowns. There are tools available that make data integration easy without the need to write customizations.
  3. Incorporate ongoing data quality rule validations and management in your new application. Research shows that if you don’t, your data quality will erode 1 percent to 1.5 percent a month, according to estimates from Bloor Research.2

Benoit J. Lheureux, research vice president at Gartner, has said that if application integration doesn’t become a true area of expertise, companies will find themselves at a serious competitive disadvantage within the next few years.3 It is time to start building that expertise now if analysts’ predictions come true.

For more information about ensuring the quality of your data across your enterprise, download Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Data Quality Tools.

1Dinesh Chandrasekhar, “Gartner Predictions 2013 for Application Integration: My take,” softwareag.com, November 2012.
2Philip Howard, “Data Migration,” Bloor Research, May 2011.
3Speech at Gartner’s Application Architecture, Development & Integration (AADI) Summit in Las Vegas, November 2012.

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