Are you still doing point-to-point integrations between your IT applications? If you are, please stop. It makes life difficult for your IT support staff, increases your overhead costs, and makes it harder for you to be agile and to evolve your integrations as business needs change. Instead, consider whether this is the right time to pivot your integration strategy towards adopting a “data hub.”
Enterprise data integration isn’t a solution; it’s a goal that you aspire to achieve wherein all of your company data is aggregated in one place, organized, cataloged, secured, and accessed in a consistent way. Your company data and the individual IT systems that are used to manage your data will change as time passes, but if you are successful in managing your enterprise data and do it in a consistent way, the disruption of system changes to your business can be reduced.
What is Enterprise Data Integration?
Enterprise Data Integration is the consolidation of business information and other data sets from a variety of sources into a single interface that can be used across your company. This doesn’t mean you have to copy all the data into one place (that is data warehousing). Enterprise Data Integration is all about exposing data in source systems to enable integrations to be effectively developed and managed.
The data sets that you integrated don’t have to fit together seamlessly into a common schema (enterprise metamodel) or even be in the same format. One of the biggest value points for enterprise data integration is the ability to combine data from different source formats – relational databases, columnar or vector databases, spreadsheets, data warehouses, OLTP systems, and data subscriptions are just a few examples. By consolidating the different datasets into a common catalog with a consistent set of APIs and subscription mechanisms, you provide both application developers and business analysts the ability to easily access the full breadth of your company’s data assets.
A data hub is a technical solution for enabling Enterprise Data Integration. Most data hubs are built upon an IPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) solution that enables great levels of flexibility on what data can be integrated and providing a robust set of data management capabilities. A data hub is a common service modeled after the “pub-sub architecture) that is used by applications across the enterprise to both publish available data that others can subscribe to as well as a facility to consume data from other sources. Instead of doing a bunch of direct point-to-point integrations, a data hub gives your organization a one-stop-shop for all its data needs. As new data sources are added (when you deploy a new platform, app, or adopt a new SaaS solution), the data from the new system is published in the data hub for others to consume.
Why you need a Data Hub for Enterprise Data Integration
To achieve the goal of enterprise data integration, you will need a data hub to serve as a traffic director for data flowing between systems. At the most basic level, the data hub provides a set of publishing and subscription capabilities. But a well-implemented data hub will give you a whole lot more.
- Security and Access Control – Most organizations, apply some sort of constraints via data access policies on who can access what types of company data. For example, you probably don’t want customers or some types of employees accessing Finance and HR data. You might also only want some parts of your sales and marketing team to see what new products and services are in the development pipeline. Using a data hub gives you the ability to classify your enterprise data and control who is authorized to access various data sets.
- Cost Savings – Reduction in the technical debt created by point-to-point integrations. Without a data hub, it is easy for data integrations between IT systems to evolve into an uncontrolled mess that looks like a pile of spaghetti. Not only does this make understanding your integrations more difficult, but point-to-point integrations also take a lot of effort to maintain and keep running. Over time, the technical debt becomes an operational cost burden on the organization. Data hubs enable you to create more integrations without the administrative overhead costs.
- Agility – A data hub rapidly increases the implementation and integration time for new systems. Without a data hub, a new application project will need to go searching for the data it needs, negotiate custom interfaces with upstream and downstream systems and the project team will then need to develop the point-to-point integrations. This process can often add weeks or months to a project timeline. With a data hub, all the enterprise data is available in a single place, with a consistent set of APIs, a defined set of access policies, and a centralized subscription process. You select the data you need and keep moving. This enables IT development teams to deploy new business apps and integrate SaaS solutions faster to enable business agility.
Actian DataConnect is the industry-leading solution for enabling enterprise data integration within your organization. A full-featured IPaaS solution, DataConnect provides all the features you need to implement a data hub for your organization – giving you the ability to connect anything, anytime, anywhere, and manage your integrations efficiently and securely.
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