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How to Get Control of Your Disconnected Data

Sep 13, 2016

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It can happen to anyone. You solve a problem or seize an opportunity with technology, thinking you will come back and connect everything later. Later never comes because you are always dealing with another urgent need.

It’s a common human failing. We have a tendency to handle a current problem without thinking into the future. Suddenly, the future is here, and we aren’t ready.

The result is that we can find ourselves with disconnected data, as in these examples:

  • You have holes in the succession plan because it doesn't connect to recruiting. TA doesn’t see the gap until the vacancy occurs.
  • Recruiters don’t get turnover analysis so they can target the right people. New hire turnover is too high.
  • Learning opportunities aren’t targeted to performance gaps because LMS and talent management don’t inform each other.
  • Mobile applications can’t offer the right learning and resources to customers because they aren’t connected to the LMS.
  • Offline learning isn’t being captured to evaluate mentoring programs.
  • Sales transactions don’t alert CRM and LMS to target the new or returning customers.

Technology Is Not the Problem in Data Integration

The first reaction is often to seek a technology solution that will fix the problem. With the growth of solutions in analytics, a dizzying array of providers promise to be the end of your data troubles.

But the problem isn’t technology. It’s a lack of strategy and governance.

Our first recommendation is to develop a strategy around data and how you will use it. Planning data management, data governance, application integrations and data integrations are essential components of business strategy planning. The current competitive environment and the speed of business decision-making demand a managed approach to data streams and a robust analytics team to capitalize on it.

Data Management and Governance

According to the Data Governance Institute, whether you need a formal governance program depends on whether your current management can manage your data without a new bureaucracy. We recommend formal governance as soon as possible, even if it is only to create a set of standards and the means to govern them.

Merge Applications and Data Integration

A recent Gartner report points out a divide between application integration and data integration. Too often, the two types of integrations are managed by different teams. Application integration is project-oriented, with the focus on one or more related business processes. An analytics team drives data integration, quality, and delivery across the organization and needs access to clean, accurate, and timely data.

According to Gartner, vendors are “behind the curve, with very few providing unified application integration and data integration capabilities.”[1] But you don’t have to wait for vendors to catch up. You can unify your applications and data integrations teams right now.

Gartner’s recommendation is to bring your integration teams together under an Integrations Strategy Group. Whatever you call it, it makes sense you don’t want two teams working on the same problems but never talking to each other. Imagine if the people working on the first transcontinental railroad, building from the east and west to the center, had not agreed where they would meet.

Make Better Business Decisions with Unified Integration Management

Applications services has much to offer in data management. They have the expertise in how to use APIs to connect data streams. Likewise, data management has a lot to offer application services in data governance and standardization.

The result will be simpler and less costly integrations, better data flow, and more timely and accurate business decisions.

See more about integration strategy in our article on Integration Strategy for Cloud Applications.

References:

1.  “Implement an Application and Data Integration Convergence Strategy with Three Best Practices.” Gartner, September 2015.

Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.

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