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I recently attended a CTO roundtable where there were a variety of CTOs from different industries and backgrounds with a far-reaching set of concerns and perspectives. It was interesting and educational to hear about what is top of mind for technology leaders from a variety of industries and backgrounds. As interesting as it was to hear the wide range of issues, it was even more interesting to hear about the issues shared by all CTOs.
Two issues in common rose above all others. First, integration is only getting harder, and the need for integration more pervasive. Second, issues that used to be firmly in the domain of IT are quickly becoming the responsibility of business users. Where these two issues intersect was a topic of lengthy discussion: self-service data management.
Let’s look at the first issue—the increasing difficulty of integration. There was consensus that the world of integration is still largely about a variety of legacy, usually relational, databases. And there is general agreement that companies have not successfully solved this problem. But the problem is complicated by database and application polyglot.
Organizations are adding to the already difficult task of legacy integration by adding a variety of big data stores, a host of SaaS applications to perform different business functions, and mixing in myriad open data sources. More data, and more processes, need to be integrated. These data and processes can represent forms that do not reflect traditional integration solutions. This brings us, somewhat indirectly, to the second issue—the move to self-service integration.
There are several things driving the need for self-service data integration:
To this end, the CTO roundtable expressed interest in, and gave unanimous support for self-service data preparation, data blending and application integration. This new generation of tools provides nearly immediate access to data. But more importantly, they provide the user experience and visualization that assists and encourages the business user to explore data, hypothesize alternatives and forge the direction of the company.
The CTO roundtable view of this could essentially be summed up in this way:
Self-service is not just a good idea, it is a business imperative.
Tony Fisher is the Technology Officer of Progress Software responsible for the company’s data connectivity and data integration product portfolio. Prior to his role at Progress, Fisher was the president and CEO of DataFlux Corporation. Fisher guided DataFlux through tremendous growth as it became a market-leading provider of data quality and data integration solutions. He is also a noted author and a sought after industry speaker on emerging trends in data quality, data integration, master data management and how better management of data leads to business optimization. Fisher holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and mathematics from Duke University.
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