Three core pillars of a data-driven enterprise

TORONTO — It’s great that organizations are increasingly becoming data-driven in light of the multiple channels through which they must operate, but a failure to keep up can mean dragging down the business or worse, said an Informatica Corp. exec.


The complexity of today’s organizations is such that they must operate through a matrix of call centres, agents and dealers that pose real-time data demands, said John Schmidt, vice-president of global integration competency centre practice with Redwood City, Calif.-based data integration vendor Informatica.


“Is your data an asset or a liability?” Schmidt asked the audience of Informatica users at the Toronto stop of the Informatica 9 World Tour. The company launched Version 9 of its data integration platform November 2009.


The three core pillars of a data-driven enterprise, said Schmidt, are timely, trustworthy and relevant data — in other words, data that’s under control when you need it for your organization’s business processes. “The competitive differentiation for your company is your data,” he told the crowd. MORE ON Informatica updates data integration platform


Schmidt said there are numerous pressures that push an organization to transform into a data-driven enterprise, like risk, mergers, IT modernization, system consolidation and adoption of new technologies.


And while exponential data growth is great for the information it provides a business and its users, Schmidt said data proliferation beyond the corporate firewall, on mobile devices, with suppliers and in cloud apps, must be handled, otherwise it becomes fragmented. “If we don’t manage it, the volume can become unwieldy,” he said.


One user of the Informatica platform, Toronto-based online casino software provider Cryptologic Ltd., was in the audience and spoke to ComputerWorld Canada about the data challenges facing the company. “We had several data sources and it was very difficult for us to get the proper information because the data was very discrete,” said Deepti Radke, a CRM/ETL developer with Cryptologic.


The company set the goal to standardize data residing in myriad systems, including SQL Server and Oracle database, that up till then operated largely independently, said Radke.


Cryptologic is also currently using a customized version of Informatica’s master data management (MDM) offering. Radke said Informatica’s acquisition of MDM vendor Siperian Inc. last January will be helpful to them in terms of the capability it will add to the existing platform.


Another user, University of Toronto, also has an initiative to aggregate multiple data sources both from across the IT department and from other units on campus.


“There were certain business problems we couldn’t solve without bringing together data from multiple sources,” Diana Avon, a data warehouse developer with the University of Toronto, told ComputerWorld Canada.


One such business problem that data integration would help the university resolve, said Avon, was reporting on the amount of funding provided to students.


Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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