One thing has remained constant for the past 10 years - in every major CIO survey, Application / Data Integration has been at the top of the list of must-do initiatives. Many of the other top initiatives (such as Data Warehousing or Business Intelligence) rely on integration technologies as a necessary foundation.
What these surveys don't show is the tremendous upheaval in the very nature of these integration initiatives. The very nature of applications and data are in accelerating flux. Well, today, I found a study that shows this (OK...technically, a study found me).
My news feed picked up a nice gem this morning in the form of some new primary research. The rather mundanely-titled report ("2011 Application Connection Priorities") shows the distribution of answers to key questions regarding data and application integration - current implementations and near-future plans. It was done by Gatepoint Research and is being distributed by SnapLogic (the Cloud integration company created by integration luminary and Informatica founder Gaurav Dhillon).
This report, though, is light on interpretation and analysis. From a 20 minute scan of the report, it was clear that the survey results hide a number of very valuable, but buried, jewels - that truly deserve attention. These are items which really capture the changing face of data, applications and the integration needs of the market. It is an "upheaval" - no question about it.
This upheaval will drive (and is already driving) a change in the way that we bring applications and data together - and how we use all of that data. It's far more significant than the shift from Mainframes to Client/Server in the late 1980's and early 1990's. The impact on the organization (and the software vendors who supply technology solutions) is almost certain to be greater as well.
It is shaking the foundations of the technology vendors in critical areas such as application integration, data analysis/analytics, customer service, marketing/lead generation, and so many others. It's the kind of market shift that creates new categories of software, forever changes other categories, and dooms some segments and vendors to an unpleasant lingering decline. Organizations which are not already planning for this change may find themselves painted into an expensive and difficult to get out of corner.
This survey is the most recent validation of the "more of everything" problem I've been writing about (more data, more formats, more interfaces, more platforms, more places, more often, more change, more data dimensions, more potential headaches).
At first glance, it will probably take me three or four postings spread out over next 2-3 days to do this report justice. There's a lot hidden in the Gatepoint Research's report - if you take the time to dig through the responses and understand the implications when you relate them together to synthesize "the big picture".