Leveraging Information and Intelligence

David Linthicum

Making Data Integration a Priority

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If there is one thing I hear from SOA/EA architects out there is that it's difficult to get the design, development, and deployment teams focused on the data. The real fun seems to be in the services and processes, and thus most work is concentrated there. The data, and integration strategies around the data, is something that most figure is there, will be there, and requires very little thinking and planning.

However, those who neglect the data, and the integration of that data with other systems, are going to find the bitter truth at some point. Data quality issues rise up first, then data consistency issues, and finally the lost faith in the IT system by the end users, and typically a the death spiral at that point. Time to redo things, and that's both expensive, best case...career limiting, worst case.

So, how do you make data integration a priority? It's really a matter of just looking at the business benefits, and thus the business case for data integration. Without a sound data integration strategy you're simply not going to be able to meet the requirements of the business, and can't get more clear than that.

Moreover, you need to consider data integration as something that's systemic to your architecture, and not just an afterthought. Back in the EAI days, it was all about adding a message broker between major systems, and life was good. It's was a Band-Aid at best.

These days it's about managing data from the source, to the target, including any binding to services as required by the SOA. You can't back your way into that, thus architects needs to do...well...architecture, thus a bunch of advanced planning to make sure that the data integration strategy is sound, and brings the value to the IT infrastructure, and therefore the business. In other words, it's needs to be an architectural priority.

Industry expert Dave Linthicum tells you what you need to know about building efficiency into the information management infrastructure

David Linthicum

David Linthicum is the CTO of Blue Mountain Labs, and an internationally known distributed computing and application integration expert. View more

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