Tag Archives: liaison

TDWI Webinar Review: What is Data Platform as a Service (dPaaS) and What Can it Do For Your Business?

Yesterday’s TDWI webinar was sponsored by Liaison Technologies, who did the same thing last year. It’s a push for another acronym. While the acronym isn’t needed, the concept is. Data Platform as a Service is just using the cloud to help with data integration. Gosh, complex, ‘eh? I think it’s the natural progression of technology and business, it’s just data management on the cloud. But forget the marketing, let’s talk about the concept.

Cloud data management

The presentation’s first half was delivered by Phillip Russom. He started with some very trivial level setting but then quickly got to a key point. If you’ve been around for a while, you remember Best of Breed. That’s when each vendor focused product company, somewhere in the information supply chain, talked about their openness and how you could piece together a solution from different vendors. That made sense at the time, since many companies were each creating the early version of parts of a full solution.

As Phillip pointed out, times have changed. We now better understand business needs, have learned more about coding the requirements and can access far better hardware than we had fifteen years ago. That means IT is looking for what they couldn’t find back then: An integrated solution from a single or a far more limited number of vendors. They want something simpler than a hodgepodge of multiple systems.

The advantages of the cloud aren’t specific to data management. One very key business driver that was minimized in Mr. Russom’s presentation but brought out later by Patrick Adamiak during his presentation then revisited by both in the Q&A is capex versus opex – something often ignored by technical folks. Having your own hardware and data center is not just costly, it’s part of capital expenditure. Service contracts with a cloud vendor are operational expenses. That means the CxO suite and Board are often happier with that because it’s not as locked it and creates flexibility in the corporate financial picture.

One nit I had with Mr. Russom’s presentation was his statement that cloud is another architecture, like client/server or the web. The cloud and web are client server, that’s not the issue. It’s another architecture in two other key aspects: The already mentioned capex/opex divide, and the way it changes a software vendor’s ability to manage and update their software in comparison to on-premises installations.

One caution he gave that needed more explanation for folks new to the cloud was when Mr. Russom mentioned that you need to ask about the elasticity of the cloud implementation. For those who might not have heard the term, elasticity is the ability to grow or shrink cloud resources in order to match processing demands. In other words, if you get a big data dump from another source, can you quickly access more disk space? Or, from the Web side of the house: You’re hosting a big event or making a major announcement on your Web site: Can site resources be replicated quickly to handle the additional load then released when no longer needed?


I was impressed by the fact that capex was mentioned on Patrick Adamiak’s first slide. Cloud technology has multiple advantages that can be communicated to IT, but it’s the capex/opex issue that will help close the deal in an enterprise setting. Liaison seems to understand the need to blend technical and business messages.

However, most of Mr. Adamiak’s presentation seemed to be about justifying the new acronym. The main slide compared dPaaS with other supposed solutions without admitting there’s really a lot of overlap between them. The columns weren’t as different as he’d like them to be.

His company slides didn’t seem any different than those I’ve seen from the many other firms in the space. Forget all of that, it was in a short webinar with TDWI, so he had limited time.

The fact is that Liaison claims they are where the market is going. They are vertically integrating the information supply chain while leveraging the cloud for its business and technology advantages. For those in IT looking to simplify their world, Liaison is a company that should be investigated.

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.