Enterprise Data Integration issues due to software complexity
Recently I raised a question to the head of an IT organisation whether he has plans to reduce the number of applications, which his IT department is managing and the answer was “No”. I was surprised, even shocked having in mind the considerable application number and the big issues that IT team is facing in the data integration area.
As a matter of fact most of the IT managers rate data integration issues as the most critical to their enterprises. Since a typical IT organization usually has a collection of isolated, incompatible, disconnected applications and databases and to make things worse that number is constantly increasing, I believe this criticality will only increase in the future.
The question arises why the data integration issue is so important to the companies?
From one side business demands IT teams for faster response times and more data volume to handle out of different fragments of data located in different sources. From other side the existing complex IT software Infrastructure is not flexible to support these demands, and as a result it consumes a substantial part of the company budget. That’s why IT organizations are nowadays aggressively looking into integration topics trying to do things in a more efficient way for less money.
To add to complexity, it’s interesting to note that IT teams primarily focus on integrating internal systems and data sources, rather on connecting their Infrastructure to remote platforms. To summarize, clearly the desire of business and end-users is to simplify the overall IT environment. However, the reality often is a “software chaos”, which is characterized by a large and highly complex software Infrastructure accumulated over years of enterprise software deployments. This situation is calling for the need of improved integration, organization, and management.
You probably ask yourself as an IT manager, why we have this software mess?
Probably, it’s because you do not have software strategy, no strong architects or simply you do not take enough time to listen to them or maybe you are the victims of software production. The sales guys will definitely find a plenty of nice words to sell their products and services to you, even you do not desperately need them. That does not mean you should restrain from the choices of new business software but my advice: “Even if you need a new piece of software – think twice, not only about What?, but also about Why?, How? and about the End Result. Think out of box!” I would rather focus on reducing, consolidating applications or extending current functionality (for instance, buying additional components of the existing software) for new demands rather directly developing or buying new software packages. Otherwise, be prepared for the complex world of integration projects.
Some may say this is an aggressive article. I’d say better be aggressive right from the beginning in building efficient software strategy to stop the enterprise to enter into the data integration issues later.