Information Integration Technologies To Watch In 2006

January 17, 2006

Information Integration Technologies To Watch In 2006

Information Integration Technologies To Watch In 2006

by Dr. Fern B. Halper and Marcia Kaufman, Partners


Many companies will become significantly more proactive in the management of their information infrastructure in 2006.  They will implement technologies like metadata management and Customer/Product Data Integration (CDI/PDI) to gain more control of their information.

Companies often find that their ability to make good strategic decisions is compromised because of the difficulty of getting the right/correct information to business users when it is most needed. This happens because, over time, businesses develop separate data stores for specific regions, product lines, or functional areas – leading to multiple information silos within their company. Mergers or acquisitions further complicate the information infrastructure.  The result is a data jungle. Businesses we have recently spoken with cite the following drivers for information integration:

  • Compliance issues
  • Improving customer service
  • Obtaining a single view of the customer
  • Understanding their data
  • Better decision making through access to all the relevant company data

So what are the technologies we have mentioned and why are they important?


There are numerous definitions found in BI literature for “metadata”. The literal meaning for the term, ?data about data?, is frequently cited, but it is quite vague.  One way to think about metadata is that metadata is the information that enables users to better understand and exploit their data.  Such information can be technical or business related.  Information such as: Who owns the data source?  How is the data defined and how have the definitions changed over time?  How are metrics defined? Who owns these data definitions?  Who has access rights to the data? All are metadata.

For  example, a retail casino en ligne francais bonus sans depot company may have multiple data stores that each has a different definition for the metric ?total number of units?.   The question kasyno internetowe for a business user looking to incorporate this information into some sort of decision casino en ligne bonus sans depot making activity is; “What does unit mean in this context?”

A strong metadata foundation can help companies in a number of ways.  It can help them link together all of the information about their customers, products, and measures in a meaningful way.  Once a common metadata structure exists, companies can get a better handle on who owns the data, who may have changed the data and what the data actually means and how it is used.

This will help to eliminate situations where management receives reports with unreliable, inconsistent data. It will also enable organizations to make better decisions.  A common metadata infrastructure will also permit organizations to be more competitive and respond to opportunities and threats faster because the information is available to make this happen.

Vendors with products in this area include IBM, Oracle, Informatica, MetaMatrix, and Logic Library.

Customer Data Integration/Product Data Integration

Identifying a customer accurately from company data can be difficult, especially when the information infrastructure online pokie machine games gokautomaat has become complex, for reasons such as those cited above.  The aim of CDI technology is to slots solve this problem and create a single view of the customer across multiple applications and systems.  Typically, when companies attempt to assemble a clear view of the customer, they find that kasino they are not just faced with data definition issues but also data relationship issues – customers are simply defined in different ways for different applications. They want one standardized view of the customer which is valid in all contexts. 

Creating a single customer view helps companies to market their products and services more effectively. For example, without it companies may send duplicate mailings to the same person because one data source identifies the person as J Smith and another identifies him as John Smith.  Such activity not only spends scarce marketing dollars unnecessarily, but it delivers a negative message to customers. The key benefits of developing a single customer view include improved customer service, decreased costs, and increased revenue.  

The concept of CDI is being extended to apply to Product Data Integration, as well – in effect, the idea of a single view of product.  CDI and PDI are related to metadata in that they are informed by metadata. CDI Vendors include IBM (with its recent acquisition of DWL and Trigo), Oracle, Data Flux, Purisma and Siperian.

The Bottom Line

Now more than ever, businesses need to understand what information they have across their organization as well as the context of this information, in order to ensure success.  An organization must have a comprehensive view of its customers, suppliers, and partners, to be able to make real-time decisions and take advantage of opportunities.

A coherent metadata structure helps to lay the foundation for bringing all components of a business together in a systematic and organized way through a Service Oriented Architecture.  Hurwitz & Associates believes that these two technologies can help organizations get to where they need to be.  


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