Data on Data

August 10, 2011

The irony wasn’t lost on me, the proliferation of data about the proliferation of data.  Over the last few months, a lot of articles featuring the subject of data have crossed my path, pieces covering a range of topics such as growing volumes, integration struggles, analysis challenges, and so on.  Three articles in particular stood out, and all of them on some level point to the importance of integration—and its role in ensuring the timely and accurate sharing of data among separate systems in support of improved analysis and decision making.  The articles also serve to illuminate the fact that it is possible to have integrated systems without requiring the overhead of a data warehouse.

  1.  “5 Reasons Why Product Data Integration is Like Chasing Roadrunners” talks about the elusiveness of comprehensive data integration, likening it to Wile E. Coyote’s never-ending quest to catch Road Runner in a Looney Tunes cartoon.  The whimsical nature of the core analogy notwithstanding, the article highlights the fact that data integration is a systemic problem in many organizations for a host of reasons.
  2.  “Riffing On Data Dualism” calls data “a powerful and pervasive resource” and raises the question of whether more data is better and lends itself to improved analysis.  It also looks at the impact of data both on decision-making processes and subsequent analysis of resultant decisions while emphasizing the current trend of consuming more and listening less. 
  3.  “Delivering Real-Time Enterprise Information Integration” takes a more holistic look at the issue—“integration strategies…should be perpetual IT projects as part of continuous improvement goals.”  It’s not just about IT, it’s not just about business decisions, and it’s not just about volumes of information.  Integration strategies are a unique combination of both IT and business directives (plus a wide range of other important needs that must be met along the way) and therefore are critical to the overall success of an organization.

 A piece with a different focus that works nicely in parallel with these data discussions is another post from our blog, “’Best of Breed’ vs ‘One-Stop Shop.’”   The best of breed solution supports the widest range of strategic objectives across the breadth of a business.  Considering this type of solution in the context of the commentary about data leads to the strong conclusion that tight integration between up- and down-stream systems is critical in any best-of-breed solution. 

Reflecting on everything I read (while picturing Wile E. Coyote), I realized the high value of PORTIA’s approach to integration and the extent to which it helps solve big problems.  By supporting integration strategies, PORTIA supports both IT and business strategies.  The complete front-to-back workflow for asset management is not supported by a single tool, system, or data set.  Companies are handling more data from more sources while customers are demanding higher levels of service, better risk management, and increased transparency.  Throw in evolving regulatory requirements and the pressure is on to have integrated systems that communicate quickly and accurately.  PORTIA facilitates the integration of vast numbers of divergent data sources, transforming raw data into useful business information—information upon which critical strategic decisions are made.  Under these circumstances, PORTIA helps you turn data into wisdom, helping you provide better service and grow your business.

What are the biggest data challenges you find yourself confronted with?  Do you find volumes of data presenting you with more and different challenges than ever before?  How do you handle these challenges now, and how are you preparing for what is likely to be a never-ending data proliferation?  And most importantly, do you have strategies to transform a big tangle of facts into useful business information?

– Nicole Comeau, Product Manager

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