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Introduce IT to self-service data integration

It is time to prove to IT that self-service data integration and centralized IT governance are not at odds with each other.

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“Expect expressions of disbelief from both business users and IT when you announce that 2014 will be the year of cloud-based self-service data integration.”

The business has lost its patience with IT bottlenecks. Its solution? Siloed projects benefiting only those immediately involved. These rogue efforts have resulted in a number of issues for both the business unit and IT. The business has introduced security issues as well as created pockets of data not integrated across the organization. On the other hand, IT has responded by fervently governing data and centralizing the control of it. And this, in turn, has only created more siloed projects and bad feelings.

Enter self-service cloud-based data integration, a secure solution because only the user interface resides in the cloud­. Brimming with promise, this solution relies on managing your projects as part of an Integration Competency Center (ICC). ICCs are one component of lean integration principles, which focus on eliminating waste and promoting agility across the organization.

Too good to be true?

Expect expressions of disbelief from both business users and IT when you announce that 2014 will be the year of cloud-based self-service data integration.

The business has been using cloud-based applications and SaaS (software as a service) solutions as part of their costly and potentially insecure Shadow IT efforts. They will be incredulous when you condone the cloud as a solution. And they may be pleased that you are finally coming around to their perspective with an easy-to-use cloud-based tool. 

You will also be met with disbelief from your developers. IT has long been concerned with the risks that the cloud can present. So to find you advocating not just a cloud-based solution, but also a self-service tool for the business may also strike fear in them.

Reassure IT

Shadow IT can be as mundane as business analysts with Excel spreadsheets. Nevertheless, it contributes to the out-of-control growth of the integration hairball. Centralized control of the data is not going to prevent siloed data projects. Contrary to belief, self-service cloud-based data integration does not give business analysts unfettered access. It does not put data at risk because only the user interface is in the cloud. And centrally governed integration efforts are not in peril.

Thanks to clear visibility into the metadata, you will know who moved what data, where they picked it up from, where they moved it to, when they did it, and how long it took. And all self-service integrations are carefully documented. This leaves IT with complete oversight, an improvement over both Shadow IT and centrally governed approaches. Check out this diagram for clarification.

Rebuild business confidence in IT

The business will benefit from an intuitive user interface delivering trusted data in a timely manner. According to John Schmidt, vice president, Global Integration Services, at Informatica, a big part of the growing cloud trend is its simplified interface. “All you need is a browser—it’s a browser-based tool—and it actually helps walk the user through it. It’s almost like a wizard, step by step, identifying your sources. The sources you’re allowed to play with, the targets you can move data to, some of the things you’re allowed to do are all built into the system. It’s a very user-friendly interface that allows a user to design, build, and deploy an integration.”

With a self-service ICC to handle the simpler, agile integration tasks, business users will no longer face an IT backlog. And IT’s time will be freed up to focus on complex integration projects. With both sides benefitting from this solution, you will no longer have to worry about IT/business alignment. Instead look forward to IT/business collaboration.

For more on self-service cloud integration and its role in a hybrid organization, read “Cloud Integration for Hybrid: Balancing Business Self-Service and IT Control.”

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