From time to time we feature vendors or products that are relevant to the data management community. Today we have an article from Jitterbit, the makers of a data integration products that has both an open-source version as well as an enterprise edition. As you know, we are huge fans of open-source technologies (this site is built on an open-source platform), so we are happy to have the following article from Dan Oxenburgh of Jitterbit.
Without some form of data governance, an information-based business will be extremely inefficient. Consider a common scenario in which an organization has customer data in several of their enterprise systems. These various systems are touched by a number of different groups including sales, marketing and support, – all of whom are constantly updating this customer data. This situation leads to a long list of process issues, for example: If a contact is updated by two systems and two different users, which change takes precedence? If the customer then updates their information through a web portal, what happens? The number of combinations and questions is nearly endless.
Data Governance: The Building Blocks for a Well-Managed Organization
Sharing and reusing data across applications, systems, and processes within the enterprise is a critical step in cutting costs, boosting productivity and becoming a more efficient organization – and by extension – staying competitive and agile. However, you need to do more than simply move data between point A and point B. To achieve tangible results you need to establish a data governance program that outlines policies, processes, and standards for managing your data. Established correctly, a strong data governance program can dramatically improve your organization’s ability to manage risk, maximize operational efficiency, and comply with industry and governmental regulations.
Data governance is the foundation for effective management of not only data but your entire organization. As such there are two key factors in a successful data governance program: the people and the technology.
The Right People
Successful data governance requires strong communication between business and IT. The common problem is that a communication gap exists between these cross-functional teams. Business does not understand the intricacies of complicated integration solutions that are managed and, in many cases, custom coded by their IT departments. On the other hand, resource-strapped IT does not have the time to fully comprehend the goals of the business or to communicate the value of their systems. As daunting as it may seem to connect data between applications, systems, and processes, it can be even harder to bridge the gap between these two groups. As a result, there are two options:
- IT teams need must comprehend business processes, budgets and corporate politics.
- Business team members need the ability to manage metadata and data modeling.
The easiest (and painless) of these options is to give business analysts a data integration solution that is simple enough for them to use, but powerful enough to support a complex data governance program.
The Right Solution
Effective data governance makes your data a valued asset. To this end, you need an infrastructure that is robust, flexible, and guarantees the availability, quality, consistency, and security of your data. This solution must make data:
- Available to users and applications, when, where, and however needed – regardless of source or format.
- High Quality, accurate, and complete.
- Consistent and reconciled across all applications, systems, processes.
- Secure and standardized according to organizational regulations.
This functionality is available in a majority of today’s integration solutions – from custom coded in-house solutions to the complex “blackbox” systems provided by behemoth software vendors. The problem with these solutions is that they are only available to the users who understand the intricacies of these systems – the IT department. As previously mentioned, this leads to a communication gap that can prevent an otherwise successful data governance strategy from ever getting off the ground.
Instead, you need all of the above capabilities wrapped in a system designed with the business analyst in mind.
Enter Jitterbit – Data Integration Simplified
Jitterbit is the popular open source application and data integration suite that provides business users a quick, cost-effective and simple way to design, deploy and manage a broad range of integration solutions. Our focus is the simplification of even the most complex integration projects. To this end, Jitterbit provides a fully graphical UI that allows you to drag and drop your data sources, targets, and web services onto the Process Designer canvas, creating a visual workflow of your entire integration from start to finish.
There is no need to write custom code, all parts of an integration process are pre-defined in Jitterbit and require only that you fill them out through the wizard-driven interfaces.
Jitterbit includes a formula builder that allows you to add powerful logic and conditions, as well as normalize and de-normalize disparate data. The formula builder includes over 100 pre-built functions (e.g. Conversion, Cryptography, Instance, Logical, String, etc.) that allow a tech savvy business analyst to not only define data governance plans but actually create and deploy the rules themselves. Simply point-and-click to add functions – or if you prefer to write your own, the user experience is similar to writing Excel macros. The formula builder also lets you test every function against your data sources and highlights potential issues.
The result is a simple solution to the problem mentioned at the beginning of this post. Jitterbit will allow you to easily add business logic such as “update only data from System A” or data logic such as “sync only records with valid permissions”. Passed records can be immediately synchronized across systems, while failed records can be assigned automated rules such as “insert default values in blank fields” or sent to a reject file for human intervention.
These capabilities are the building blocks for a powerful data governance solution, and can be created and managed by the same people who are establishing the overarching goals for processes and standards within the organization.
With the right people in control of both the project’s goals and execution, establishing a data governance program does not have to be a daunting challenge. By eliminating the communication gap between business and IT, business is able to focus entirely on data governance while IT is freed to expend their resources on other projects. If you’re looking to take advantage of this win-win situation, you should give Jitterbit a look. You can download the open source Community version or try the 30-day trial of Jitterbit Enterprise today. Jitterbit Enterprise is available to customers who purchase an annual support contract. Visit Jitterbit’s site at http://www.jitterbit.com