Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Agile Integration Serving End Users Directly

Social media is beyond ubiquitous, putting the power of communication and availability of information in the hands of everyone individually and collectively. It has moved from being a thrill for the eager to being a fact of life even for the reluctant. Social sharing of unstructured data is proliferating, and its management is the subject of much conversation, posting, tweeting, and blogging.

But what does this mean and how does it relate to individuals who need structured data? Isn't it time for an end user to be able to access data without calling the boss, who calls the IT department, who calls the consultant, who plans the project, that gets a team, that does an analysis, that includes everything but the kitchen sink, that has a garbage disposer, that's the only thing that works, with which the project finally gets euthanized?

It's time to think about what this means to data integration: lean, mean, or otherwise. These days end users are empowered by SharePoint and BI tools and such to determine for themselves what information they need in order to do their job and make decisions. If an end user can sign in to SAP and to Salesforce and to JD Edwards, why can't they use their SharePoint portal or a dashboard to access the same data from those applications? Of course, one of the key reasons is the issues around security. Historically integration has been behind the scenes, working with no visibility to the actual end user. ETL, of course, has none, and EAI is also not end-user aware. Dashboards are designed for specific users who have permission to see the data displayed. Although the dashboard app may have its own login for security, the integration behind the scenes does what it's told without knowing anything about the user.

Agile Integration Software http://tinyurl.com/3yv85bw supports SSS and other layers of security so that an end user of SharePoint, for example, can see live data with updates passing back to the applications, only if the user has privileges to do so. That same security is available out of box in AIS for any vendor software, BPM, or BI that is designed to read and write data to an ADO.Net entity via an ADO.Net driver, or alternatively by web service calls.

For example, Enterprise Enabler® http://www.enterpriseenabler.com/ is an AIS that can be configured in minutes to merge and align data from multiple applications and generate the entity definition and custom connector for SharePoint (BDC) or generate the entity for the ADO.Net driver that is called from WSS or any other ADO.Net Application. If preferred, it can generate a web service just as easily. The SSS end user security is honored in all these models.

So, in response to the expectations of the "me and everybody else now" surge, integration needs to step up to the plate.

2 comments:

  1. Excellent post...thanks for the viewpoint.

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  2. I appreciate your thoughts on the topic of data integration from the end user perspective. All too often, I see BI tools marketed and focused on the IT professional. The real power of these tools, however, is in the hands of business managers who need the information presented in the proper context. When the data is combined with tools to actually do something with the information like social tools and utilities, the real value occurs.

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