Whether we're discussing the impact that the tsunami of big data is having on organizations or the cloud application takeover of traditional on-premises applications, the common foundation of such trends is an increasing demand for data. More accurately, there is a need for data that has been integrated and translated into a business context for analysis. That demand is making effective data integration -- already a key component of data warehouse environments -- even more important to business success.
Data integration involves taking data -- often from multiple sources -- and transforming it into meaningful information for business executives, data analysts and other enterprise users. As the need to share the growing volumes of data being generated and collected by organizations increases, turning to commercial data integration platforms is one way to help manage -- and simplify -- the process.
(This is the first article in a four-part series on data integration platforms. This article lays the groundwork, while part two will examine specific use cases for buying a data integration tool. Article No. 3 will help you determine which features are most important to your organization, based on your needs. The concluding article will examine the leading commercial data integration platforms, comparing and contrasting their features.)
(Learn more about data integration and all things BI in my Business Intelligence Guidebook - From Data Integration to Analytics. Chapter 11 is on data integration design and development and chapter 12 is on data integration processes. )