Why data integration tools are not taken seriously

The typical Indian organization does not accord high importance to data integration tools. What are the reasons behind this?

Business intelligence (BI), data consolidation and data migration convergence are driving the adoption of data integration tools in the Indian market. These are the most common usages that one can find in the national scenario. However, the adoption of data integration tools is still not taken seriously by Indian CIOs.

As a result of the lack of meaningful demand for these tools, very few vendors have a direct presence in India. Let us briefly examine the roadblocks to the adoption of data integration tools in the country.  

Quality of data: The fact that most Indian organizations still lack major amounts of electronic data is hampering the growth of the adoption of data integration tools. For example, in verticals like the government, many offices are still lacking basic computerization of their processes. The absence of refined data is probably the biggest barrier that’s stopping people from taking data integration tools seriously.

Cost effectiveness: Data integration tools are still quite expensive in India in terms of licensing and deployment. It doesn’t help that data integration can happen through various other ways. For example, if you are working on data warehousing projects, the data warehousing companies have scripts available which will replicate the functionality of a large-scale data integration tool. Then there are other ways of optimizing the data integration process. For instance, you can use stored procedures within the database. Due to such reasons, many deployers might sideline the idea of buying a data integration tools package. Yet, this should not be interpreted as a lack of interest in the market. It is more about fiscal aspects, which require hiring of talent and custom-coded development of tools. Apart from this, there are a few open source solutions available which are eroding the margins and market shares of the big players.

Lack of skills: When you are buying a data integration tool like Informatica or IBM, you need people for designing those interfaces. Finding someone with the right skill set to take care of the entire data integration lifecycle is hard. The BI, data management and data integration kind of human resources are very expensive to find in the market.

Understanding the data architecture: Data characteristics are different for different verticals. The deployment of data integration tools is most suitable for and generally adopted by companies having a combination of BI and electronic data, hence it is critical for CIOs to understand the different aspects of architecture including data transformation and replication. The early adopters of data integration tools in India tend to be banks, financial services, retailers and insurance companies.

Quality of tools: The adoption of data integration tools can be challenging because it is a fairly new technology for Indian organizations. The process of evaluation therefore becomes critical. Understanding whether the tools will be able to transform the available data sets is also important. The quality of the tools becomes central in such a scenario. The data integration tools should also be able to complement the data integration strategy designed by the CIO. The CIO should do a fair assessment of what the overall cost of the deployment is going to be.

Convincing management: Due to the high costs involved, convincing the management can be a major challenge. A good way is to start experimenting with the open source tools already available. Once the productivity is achieved, the CIO could work toward building a case for adopting data integration tools.

About the author: Bhavish Sood is a principal analyst with Gartner’s technology and service provider research. He covers the database management systems market, business intelligence and data management for the Asia/Pacific region.

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