Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Busting Data Integration Myths
Written by Laura Monn Ginsburg
Last week Luxent CEO Vivian Keena took on one of the biggest challenges in business today: how do you possibly make sense of and efficiently leverage your data?
In a fantastic discussion with Actian Product and Technology Evangelist Mike Hoskins, Vivian talked through some of the scariest myths about data integration (briefly: it’ll take too long, it’ll cost too much, it won’t really work) and unraveled how easy it is to bust these myths with a focused approach on data integration.
It’s best to start with the myths since, of course, they’re rooted in some reality. When you read sobering stats like a project’s average cost overrun is 66% (McKinsey) or one in six projects has a 70% schedule overrun (HBR), it’s easy to get wrapped up in the worry that your project will suffer the same fate (or worse yet, it’ll end up in the 7% that get canceled before delivery (Gartner)).
But it doesn’t have to be that way. After a career’s worth of helping customers implement, integrate, and see measurable ROI from technology investments, Vivian had a few specific suggestions for organizations who are considering an integration and want to make it successful:
- Fix your data first. You’d think it’d be obvious but many companies are so eager to start their integrations they don’t take the time to actually go through their data first to see what’s good, what’s bad, and what needs to be cleaned before it gets into the new system. It’s a data integration, after all; so if you don’t take the time to ensure your data is how you want it, what’s the point?
- Prioritize what you integrate. A common mistake is to get overly excited about integrating everything that can be integrated vs. considering what should be prioritized for integration. You can always integrate more later but keeping it simple and straightforward to start will help you see what’s possible and be more thoughtful about what’s next.
- Own your integration. Choosing the right vendor and tool is important but equally important is not turning over the entire project and walking away. You’ll want to have a small team that works alongside your integration partner to ensure you understand how everything works and are able to discuss any decisions that need to be made along the way.
- Educate your team. Your team is who will really use the integration every day, so ensuring everyone understands how it works and how to leverage it is critical to it’s ongoing success. Plus, as you experience natural turnover and growth, you’ll want ‘integration advocates’ who can explain the basics to others.