IT staff caught in 'data integration mire'

Companies are still relying on manual processes to complete the increasing number of data integration projects.

Companies are still relying on manual processes to complete the increasing number of data integration projects.

A survey of over 400 senior IT staff by analyst Forrester, on behalf of application infrastructure software provider Progress Software, found that IT staff were still “mired in manual processes and ad hoc fixes”.

With the demand for real-time globally accessible data increasing, IT staff are faced with ever more data integration projects. But the survey found that manual efforts remain the dominant approach for the integration of data silos.

The survey found that 87% of respondents rely on newly developed code to integrate data, while 80% still manually change schemas as required. According to the findings, while these percentages will slightly decrease over the next two years, manual processes will continue to trump automation.

Hub Vandervoort, Progress CTO for the enterprise infrastructure division, said, “These results are a clear call to action for the vendor community to provide minimally invasive and easy-to-use tools, while providing support for data federation without the need for extensive schema changes.”

The research found that 55% of respondents had undertaken four or more integration efforts over the past two years, and the majority of respondents did not see this number decreasing in the near future.

In addition, 48% predicted that the number of integration efforts will increase during the next two years, while 41% said it will stay the same.

The survey results identified service-oriented architecture (SOA) as a growing solution across enterprises to achieve successful end-to-end data management and integration results.

While 44% of enterprises use SOA today, 59% of respondents reported that they plan to use SOA for integration efforts over the next two years.

Although popular, manual approaches have some significant drawbacks according to the respondents.

Among those who write code for each integration effort, 75% reported increased maintenance costs due to application complexity and 71% suffered from increased cycle time to integrate new applications.

Also, 71% of respondents who rely on schema changes to support new applications, said that one of their challenges is a slow response to required application changes.

Two-thirds (66%) reported problems with unforeseen breakage of other applications dependent on the same data.

More details about the results are available here:

Next generation data integration

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