5 Data Integration Questions to Ask During Software Selection

5 Data Integration Questions to Ask During Software Selection

The following is an excerpt from Solutions Review’s Buyer’s Guide for Data Integration Tools.

Traditional data integration providers continue to offer legacy capabilities for bulk/batch, message-oriented movement, and replication. However, the space has split into two distinct categories, one for on-prem tools, and the other for cloud-based Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). Traditional products, like those offered by HVR Software, IBM, and Adeptia, still reign supreme in large, enterprise settings, but face increased competition from cloud SaaS vendors such as Dell Boomi, Jitterbit, and SnapLogic.

To help you evaluate prospective data integration products, these are the five questions we recommend asking yourself before making a choice. If you find these questions helpful, check out our Buyer’s Guide for Data Integration Tools, which features five more questions for the providers, a comprehensive overview of the market, and full, one-page profiles of the top-28 solutions, including our ‘Bottom Line’ analysis.

1. Why is data integration necessary to my organization?

Will you require real-time data access and transfer? How much data will you need to move and how quickly? Can you afford some downtime on source/target systems, or do you need them running at all times? Note that all these data requirements are based on your technical and business needs so that you can compare them with what specific solution providers have to offer.

2. What kind of data do I need to analyze?

Is the majority of your company’s data transactional? Is it all structured? If so, a traditional or “legacy” tool may be the best fit for your use case. If the bulk of your data streams to your data lake in real-time via CRM, cloud applications, and customer feedback, then a solution that can integrate with the likes of Hadoop, Spark, and NoSQL repositories is likely appropriate. Be sure to take into account the types of data that run through your business and then match that up with the appropriate provider.

3. What are my data sources and where are they located?

The basic tenant of data integration is moving data from sources (applications) to targets (data warehouse, data lake, etc). Some solutions listed in this guide specialize in the integration of cloud application data with on-premise systems to ensure that your users can access complete, current, and accurate data. Make sure the kind of integration you require is being offered by the vendors you are considering.

4. Cloud, on-prem, or both?

A hybrid approach is a growing trend in the enterprise market as it provides organizations the ability to execute integration in both on-prem and cloud environments. Thus, organizations are able to interchange data to and from either framework as a way to gain business agility, manage cloud delivery, and address the need for data sharing between environments. On-prem integration is certainly not dead, but a hybrid approach will set your organization up nicely for the future, even if cloud exposure is currently limited.

5. Do I need a dedicated data management platform?

Many of the larger integration tools providers have poached core data management capabilities from vendors in horizontal markets. They’ve done in response to market demands surrounding data quality and governance, compliance and security, and managing rapidly growing data stores. As a result, you’ll need to decide whether or not a prospective integration vendor offers enough in terms of added functionality, or if you’ll also need a dedicated data management tool. If the ladder, consult our Data Management Buyer’s Guide.

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Timothy King

Senior Editor at Solutions Review
Timothy is Solutions Review's Senior Editor. He is a recognized thought leader and influencer in enterprise BI and data analytics. Timothy has been named a top global business journalist by Richtopia. Scoop? First initial, last name at solutionsreview dot com.
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