Enterprise Data Integration - Benefits and Challenges
Enterprises rely on an increasing number of tools, programs, and components to keep business operations on track. All too often, this mix of software is unable to communicate. When team members need to input or retrieve the same information from multiple sources, the result is inefficiency, frustration, and duplicated efforts.
The good news is that organizations have a potential solution available to address these issues: enterprise data integration.
What Is Enterprise Data Integration?
Enterprise Data Integration is a process for joining two or more data sets into combined databases. The goal of enterprise data integration is to both integrate data from various sources and to make it accessible and usable by the organization.
Enterprise Data Integration Benefits
Enterprise Data Integration adds efficiency to processes across the network by reducing the number of systems each team member needs to access. This is welcome news for team members who need to stay abreast of a long list of software systems to perform daily functions.
Enterprise data integration efficiency benefits include:
- Reduced logins and user training
- Streamlining data into a "single source of truth" (SSOT)
- Fewer steps to complete processes or find information
Improved Data and Information Quality
Enterprise data integration elevates data quality, clarity, and value through automated validation across the system as information is added and shared between applications. It also allows companies to more easily comply with government compliance requirements like ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) and EAR (Export Administration Regulations). These regulations require companies to retain data for specified periods and produce it on demand. This process can become cumbersome and time-consuming when data exists across separate systems, in the cloud, and on-prem.
Increased Visibility and Availability
Enterprise data integration can add overall speed to data retrieval and analysis processes.
Tracking down data across multiple systems takes up far too much time for many organizations. Enterprise data integration reduces this frustration by centralizing access to information. Users no longer need to log in and out of different systems each time they need data from specific places on the network. Integration gives organizations a unique, all-encompassing viewpoint of how data is used throughout the network to accomplish organizational goals.
Enterprise Data Integration Challenges
While enterprise data integration can improve the way organizations operate across multiple systems, there are a few associated challenges.
Inadequate Conflict Resolution
As an enterprise implements data integration, there will be inevitable conflicts to resolve. It’s essential to develop a plan to address these instances with a consistent process. Conflict resolution plans must include enough information that even someone new to a project or position is able to resolve the conflict.
Conflict resolution response might look like this:
- The system identifies a conflict.
- The system sends a notification to a specific team member.
- The team member follows the detailed steps listed in the notification to resolve the conflict.
Data Transfer Delay
Today’s integrations should work as close to "real-time" as possible, but not all enterprise data integrations can be setup to instantly share information. It is not uncommon for an integration to only share its data once a day. This data is often used to prepare for important meetings such as Portfolio Review, Audits and/or Gate Meetings. It is critical that team members understand when and where their data will be available. Managing these expectations can significantly reduce team member frustration.
As employees across an organization become reliant on system integration systems, it becomes vital that the system experiences as little downtime as possible. The infrastructure supporting these systems must provide robust, high availability and offer clear disaster recovery plans.
Making a Decision About Enterprise Data Integration
As you weigh the decision to invest in enterprise data integration, carefully consider the related benefits and challenges. Evaluate how often team members need to access data across multiple sources and how your organization might benefit from centralizing access to this data.