issue's article discusses a potential enterprise
data integration problem we all want to avoid.
here are some recent Data Doghouse blog posts
with the most recent ones first:
end of Business Intelligence takeovers?
is ELT the Right Choice?
& Cons of ICC Organizational Models
Sponsorship, Investments and Organizations
Started with an Integration Competency Center
confusing and annoying jargon
Two Titanic Data Governance Mistakes
your customers on drugs?
Down To Business with People and Policies
or "Sent-out" Acquisitions: IBM purchases
Sherman, Athena IT Solutions
Data Integration the Achilles Heel of Software
as a Service?
as a Service (SaaS) applications have created
a lot of excitement and buzz. But combine all
this SaaS enthusiasm with the business intelligence
goals of many organizations and you'll quickly
find that a major enterprise data integration
(EDI) problem looms. The good news is that there
are ways to solve this problem -- but first, let's
understand the challenge.
typical Software as a Service environment
SaaS customer relationship management (CRM) software
has made it the poster child of SaaS success,
with 2007 revenues of $497 million and more than
646,000 subscribers. While there are other software
market categories in which SaaS has been successful,
CRM and salesforce automation (SFA) have been
sweet spots for SaaS for a number of reasons.
the end users are typically salespeople, scattered
across geographies. These employees generally
work in the field, where the customers and prospects
are, and not in corporate headquarters. This has
made it difficult for the IT group to support
sales departments from a software and data perspective.
Second, salespeople often keep their information
to themselves, on their BlackBerrys or mobile
devices, so their sales data is not stored or
accessible as an enterprise data asset. Finally,
the sales workforce has been ripe for a better
CRM/SFA solution for quite a while. The salespeople
have needed productivity tools -- and their employers
have wanted to get that sales data out of BlackBerrys,
so they could start using it as an enterprise
suppose your company is using SaaS CRM. Great
for the salespeople -- but there is a major drawback
for IT. Although the data is now out of the salesperson's
BlackBerry, it is still not within your firewall
or in your enterprise data warehouse. Your SaaS
application has just become another data silo!
data integration vendors rush to offer Software
as a Service tools
few enterprise data integration vendors have developed
new technologies to mitigate the problem. Vendors
such as Redwood City, Calif.-based Informatica
Corp., Oracle Corp. (via its Sunopsis acquisition)
and Austin, Texas-based Pervasive Software Inc.
have developed new tools and services to help
companies extract data locked in the SaaS data
silos. The data integration capabilities vary
by vendor, but often include the initial data
migration onto the SaaS application; pulling data
out of the SaaS application and into the enterprise
environment (such as into a data warehouse); and
finally, data integration or exchange between
an enterprise's off-premise and on-premise applications.
you evaluate these vendors' products and services,
you need to understand what's available and what
style will meet your needs. In order to enable
data integration to and from off-premise applications,
a data integration product could:
a connector to the off-premise application that
could be used with your on-premise data integration
tool. You design and deploy your data integration
scheme on-premise and access the off-premise
application as just another source/target (that
happens to be outside your firewall).
Offer the data-integration capability as an
on-demand (off-premise) service. In this case
your data integration functions and your SaaS
application are both off-premise and you would
use the on-demand data-integration service to
bring data on-premise into your enterprise,
so you could integrate it with other enterprise
all may sound elementary, but many enterprises
start off with just thinking about the SaaS application
and its capabilities, without thinking about data
integration or business intelligence and reporting.
This common oversight shouldn't come as a surprise
to many people. It is often exactly what happens
when on-premise enterprise resource planning applications
are initially deployed -- reporting and data integration
are afterthoughts. I am constantly reminding my
clients that, when deploying new enterprise applications,
they need to incorporate that application's data
in their overall enterprise information architecture.
whether the SaaS application is CRM or something
else -- just make sure that SaaS doesn't contribute
yet another data silo to your organization.
are your thoughts about this? Feel free
your comments here.