Tag Archives: data integration

TDWI Webinar Review: David Loshin & Liaison on Data Integration

The most recent TDWI webinar had a guest analyst, David Loshin of Knowledge Integrity. The presentation was sponsored by Liaison and that company’s speaker was Manish Gupta. Given that Liaison is a cloud provider of data integration, it’s no surprise that was the topic.

David Loshin gave a good overview of the basics of data integration as he talked about the growth of data volumes and the time required to manage that flow. He described three main areas to focus upon to get a handle on modern integration issues:

  • Data Curation
  • Data Orchestration
  • Data Monitoring

Data curation is the organization and management of data. While David accurately described the necessity of organizing information for presentation, the one thing in curation that wasn’t touched upon was archiving. The ability to present a history of information and make it available for later needs. That’s something the rush to manage data streams is forgetting. Both are important and the later isn’t replacing the former.

The most important part of the orchestration Mr. Loshin described was in aligning information for business requirements. How do you ensure the disparate data sources are gathered appropriately to gain actionable insight? That was also addressed in Q&A, when a question asked why there was a need to bother merging the two distinct domains of data integration and data management. David quickly pointed out that there was no way not to handle both as they weren’t really separate domains. Managing data streams, he pointed out, was the great example of how the two concepts must overlap.

Data monitoring has to do with both data in motion, as in identifying real-time exceptions that need handling, and data for compliance, information that’s often more static for regulatory reporting.

The presentation then switched to Manish Gupta, who proceeded to give the standard vendor introduction. It’s necessary, but I felt his was a little too high level for a broader TDWI audience. It’s a good introduction to Liaison, but following Mr. Loshin there should have been more detail on how Liaison addresses the points brought up in the first half of the presentation – Just as in a sales presentation, a team would lead with Mr. Gupta’s information, then the salesperson would discuss the products in more detail.

Both presenters had good things to say, but they didn’t mesh enough, in my view, and you can find out far more talking to each individually or reading their available materials.

TDWI Webinar – Preparing Data for Analytics with Liaison Technologies

Tuesday’s TDWI Webinar was titled “Preparing Data for Analytics,” but that’s not what it was about. It was still interesting, just misnamed. The focus was, as would be expected with Liaison being the sponsor, about how managing data in the Cloud can enhance the ability of some companies to support BI.

It started with Phillip Russom, an in-house TDWI analyst talking a bit about preparing data without ever using the words extraction and transformation. The most interesting point he made was an aside in the main presentation, but one that should be brought to the fore: What’s SMB?

Most of us think of SMB as Small-to-Medium sized Businesses. His point was that it’s really Small-to-Medium sized Budgets. Many folks involved in enterprise software understand that you often don’t sell an enterprise license up front. A software vendor will sell to a department or a business division with a smaller budget that needs to get something done. Then the tactic is to expand within the enterprise to build it into a major account. Mr. Russom makes the great point that the tactics to sell into the smaller groups in an enterprise are very similar to those uses to sell to smaller businesses, so maybe there are opportunities being left on the table by smaller vendors.

His other key point needs a webinar of its own. He mentioned that companies looking for Cloud analytics should “make sure Cloud solutions are optimized for data and not for applications.” It’s the data that’s important, how you get it and how you prepare it. That’s what has to be supported first, then applications can access the data. Sadly, he said that and moved on without any real details on what that preparation means. I’d like to see more details.

The main speaker was Alice Westerfield, Sr. VP of Enterprise Sales at Liason Technologies. Her main point followed Russom’s lead in by pushing that a good analytics platform requires moving from an application centric approach to a data centric one. No surprise, Liaison has one handy. Most importantly, it’s a Cloud approach, one they’ve been offering before Cloud became the buzzword.

Alice was brief but focused on their history of supporting integration in the Cloud. The four main benefits she mentioned were:

  • Data Integration
  • Data Transformation
  • Data Management
  • Data Security

That makes sense and we all know how important the last one, security, matters before people are willing to perform the first three on the Cloud. However, it’s the changing nature of the data game that means I want to focus on the first, data integration.

While Liaison talks about the benefits of leveraging their years of integration skills rather than reinventing or needing to take new integrations and install them in an on-premises solution, there’s another Cloud aspect that I think is critical. Most businesses use a mix of applications and many are already on the Cloud. Add to that the mobile nature of today’s generation of BI solutions which are provided in the Cloud. It makes sense for many SMBs to leverage that. Why take data from Cloud apps, move them on-premises and then move them back to the Cloud? Using a service such as Liaison simplifies and speeds the process of meshing data from within and outside of the firewall and then providing wide access to knowledge workers through the new BI interfaces.

For the foreseeable future, there will continue to be reasons for keeping data within the firewall, but for most data and most companies, a solution such as Liaison’s would seem to be an opportunity to quickly integrate data and share it as broadly as required.