Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Jonathan Fries, AppDynamics Blog, Sujoy Sen, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Data Virtualization for BI Agility – a One-Trick Pony Won’t Cut It

Data virtualization thus needs to be built-on data integration to truly enable BI agility

In a recent article, CIO.com said that analytics and BI will be the top technology priorities for CIOs in 2012, based on a Gartner Inc. survey of IT executives. However, if you look back in time, reports show that BI was a top priority even then. Although we have fast-forwarded many years, the priorities haven't really changed. BI is still top of mind.

Granted, the amount of data that needs to be processed is growing by the day, and the need for businesses to have timely insight into things that matter is becoming more immediate. But wasn't this the case earlier as well? Businesses have always had this mindset - hence the reason for growth and continuous innovation.

What's new? Nothing, on the face of it. Except that with all things being equal, the fundamental problem, or shall I say problems, seem to have taken a backseat, yet again. We seem to keep talking about the symptoms instead of treating the issue at hand. In a recent report by Gleanster, LLC, the biggest challenges for enabling BI agility, are:

  • Breaking down data / departmental silos
  • Integrating with applications (e.g., CRM), operations and other platforms
  • Achieving acceptable data quality

The report also points out that the most commonly used metrics by businesses are time-to-decision or time-to-response to information requests; information access (comprehensiveness, accuracy, and consistency); and volume and quality or actionable insights. These, in essence, are the fundamental requirements that need to be fulfilled to the hilt in order to enable BI agility.

For those in the know, this is not something BI tools can address on their own. A recent blog by Forrester Research, Inc., states that traditional BI approaches often fall short because BI hasn't fully empowered information workers, who still largely depend on IT, and because BI platforms, tools, and applications aren't agile enough. Now that we have this background in place, I can start my analysis.

Based on what we are seeing in some ongoing polls, without the underpinnings of a self-service driven agile data integration strategy in place, BI agility will continue to remain a pipedream. Yes, of late, data virtualization has emerged as an agile data integration approach that can enable BI agility. But as all solutions are not created equal, let's try to address the challenges we discussed with the proposed solution.

As I always say, the devil's in the details. Data virtualization built on data federation does one thing and only one thing very well - it accesses and merges data from several different data sources, in real-time, without physical data movement. It can turn many data silos into one and integrate with applications. But how about data quality? Is federated data truly ready for consumption? All I hear is silence.

A BI tool won't do anything to improve data quality as it simply assumes the availability of the most current and accurate data. What happens if there are inaccuracies and inconsistencies after federating data across various systems in real time? A more fundamental question - what if you cannot effectively analyze and profile the federated data in the first place? Well, you need further processing.

Did you read the fine print? I think it just said, deal with it. Or worse yet, I have also heard the excuse - BI tools do not expect consistent and accurate data. Very convenient wouldn't you say? Bottom line, you not only lose the time advantage that you gained in not moving the data physically, but you now have to deal with quality and consistency on a reactive basis. So much for an agile data integration approach.

We discussed quality and consistency. Now, how about the role of business users? Shouldn't the analyst define business entities, analyze and identify issues with the data, create rules to correct inaccuracies and inconsistencies, and then play a key part in making sure the federated data is as requested? Ask any BI professional, business users know the data the best. Data federation does little to get them involved.

Next, let's talk about the role of IT. Is it just about prioritizing a backlog of growing requests, building out the solution, testing and then deploying it? Shouldn't IT interact with the analyst instantly and throughout the process? This is critical to IT building exactly what the business wanted. Without self-service, agility can't be ensured. However, data federation has been typically a coding-heavy IT tool.

Although data federation has been around for a long time, it hasn't gone too far. Data virtualization built on data federation seems to be a case of doing the same thing again, and expecting a different answer. Federating data across many diverse data sources, in real time, without physical data movement, is what I call, par for the course. To enable BI agility, you need to go beyond looking under the hood.

Since data virtualization built on data federation cannot profile both data sources and logic, apply complex data quality rules and advanced data transformations on federated data as it is in flight, involve the business user early and often, and reuse the virtual views not just for BI tools, portals and composite applications, but also for batch - it looks like we have a choice to make?

The choices are - manual coding, further processing using other tools, and custom solutions. Really! Is this truly a choice you have the luxury or the extra budget to make? Are you going to sign-up for a solution that promises agility and then leaves a major portion of the task to you or to another tool? What's even more dangerous is that lack of critical functionality is simply passed off as good-to-have.

The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools, October 27, 2011, says it well - it's "the ability to switch seamlessly and transparently between delivery modes (bulk/batch vs. granular real-time vs. federation) with minimal rework." Data virtualization thus needs to be built-on data integration to truly enable BI agility. Having said that, I believe the days of a one-trick pony are numbered.

•   •   •

Don't forget to join me at Informatica World 2012, May 15-18 in Las Vegas, to learn the tips, tricks and best practices for using the Informatica Platform to maximize your return on big data, and get the scoop on the R&D innovations in our next release, Informatica 9.5. For more information and to register, visit www.informaticaworld.com.

More Stories By Ash Parikh

Ash Parikh is responsible for driving Informatica’s product strategy around real-time data integration and SOA. He has over 17 years of industry experience in driving product innovation and strategy at technology leaders such as Raining Data, Iopsis Software, BEA, Sun and PeopleSoft. Ash is a well-published industry expert in the field of SOA and distributed computing and is a regular presenter at leading industry technology events like XMLConference, OASIS Symposium, Delphi, AJAXWorld, and JavaOne. He has authored several technical articles in leading journals including DMReview, AlignJournal, XML Journal, JavaWorld, JavaPro, Web Services Journal, and ADT Magazine. He is the co-chair of the SDForum Web services SIG.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
A critical component of any IoT project is the back-end systems that capture data from remote IoT devices and structure it in a way to answer useful questions. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle large data sets, but they are not well suited to many IoT-scale products and the need for real-time insights. At Fuze, we have developed a backend platform as part of our mobility-oriented cloud service that uses Big Data-based approache...
trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vice president of product management, IoT solutions at GlobalSign, will teach IoT developers how t...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.