Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Gerardo A Dada, Xenia von Wedel, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez

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
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for ...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
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...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2017 New York The 7th Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Chris Matthieu is the co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, a revolutionary real-time IoT platform recently acquired by Citrix. Octoblu connects things, systems, people and clouds to a global mesh network allowing users to automate and control design flo...
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...