News & Views

Data Integration – A Necessity or a Smokescreen? Part 2

Most organisations are currently facing the challenge of a rapidly expanding collection of data.  This data is often stored in an array of silos; legacy systems, ERP’s, data warehouses and spreadsheets to name but a few, begging the question, how do you manage it and how do you turn it into a valuable asset.

Creating a data management strategy is the key to success.  Part of this strategy is to consider how to integrate all the disparate data sources.  Consolidating your data into a single repository can provide the business with solid and accurate foundations on which to build reports, dashboards and analytics, as well as the ability to deliver a single view of core processes, such as budgeting, planning and forecasting.

As part of the data strategy, one needs to identify all the data sources in the organisation, and then decide how best to amalgamate data, and from which sources. Consideration should be given to the effectiveness of the consolidation, in other words if you don’t bring all the data available into a single repository, is it worth bringing in any?

The danger of consolidating data in “sections” is that you potentially end up with a greater number of silos than you started with, albeit with more structure and control.

InforData opine organsiations should take a long term view of data integration.  Put together a plan or strategy that includes all the data sources within the organisation, define business names for tabular, coded data that will remain in place for the foreseeable future ie customer, product, address, name etc.  These business names will remain consistent throughout the consolidation process, allowing you to tackle silos of data/disparate systems section by section, but with the overall aim of having a single, fully integrated repository, supported and controlled by a robust data governance charter and a detailed data management strategy.

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