Finally viable: Best-of-breed enterprise environments

It’s one of the oldest, most contentious rivalries in the enterprise application arena: What’s better, best-of-breed environments or single-vendor suites? Since the turn of the century, suite vendors have argued that their approach avoids the steep data integration challenges that can be inherent with best-of-breed. On the flip side, point solution vendors say that enterprise suites pack in a lot of “dead wood” but don’t offer the real functionality, or customization potential, that is needed.

However, unlike religion and politics, this is one argument that is headed toward extinction. The biggest barrier to best-of-breed strategies — data integration — is, hands down, easier by an order of magnitude today, thanks to built-for-the-cloud app integration solutions that eliminate previous barriers. As a result, best-of-breed application environments aren’t just viable, they’re readily attainable.

Two dimensions of data integration

There are two ways in which data integration has dramatically improved with native cloud solutions: on the back end, between the applications themselves, and on the front end, from the user experience perspective.

On the back end, one of the first-order implications of a robust data model is the number of connectors a data integration solution provides. SnapLogic has hundreds of Snaps (connectors) and that’s not coincidental. Our library of Snaps proves our suitability to the modern world; it’s an order of magnitude easier to build and support a SnapLogic connector than an Informatica connector — the integration tool of choice for last-century best-of-breed environments — because our data model fits the modern world.

As a result, customers are up and running with SnapLogic in a day or two. In minutes we can show customers what SnapLogic is capable of doing. This is in comparison to Informatica and other legacy integration technologies; here, developers or consultants can work for weeks or months on the same integration project and still have nothing. They can’t deliver quickly due to the limitations of the underlying technology.

The ease of big data integration with SnapLogic has profound implications on the user experience. Instead of having to beg analysts to do ETLs (extract, transfer, and load) to pull the data set they need, SnapLogic users can get whatever data they want, themselves. They can then analyze it and get answers far faster than under previous best-of-breed regimes.

These are not subtle differences.

The economics of cloud-based integration

The subscription-based pricing model of cloud-based integration services further democratizes data access. Instead of putting the burden on IT to buy and implement an integrated application suite — which can cost upwards of $100 million in a large enterprise — cloud-based integration technology can be acquired at a nominal per-user fee, charged to a corporate credit card. Lines of business have taken advantage of this ease of access, making their own technology moves with the full knowledge and support of IT.

For IT organizations that have embraced their new mission of enablement, the appeal of cloud-based data integration is clear. In addition to allowing business users to work the way they want to, the cloud-based solution is infinitely easier to customize, and deploy and support globally. And it offers an obvious answer to the question, “Do I want to continue feeling the pain of using integrated app suites or do I want to join the new century?”

Find out more about how and why SnapLogic puts best-of-breed integration within every organization’s grasp. Register for this upcoming webinar featuring a conversation with myself, industry analyst and data integration expert David Linthicum, and Gaurav Dhillon, SnapLogic’s CEO and also an Informatica alumnus: “We left Informatica. Now you can, too.”

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James Markarian is CTO at SnapLogic. Follow him on Twitter @jamesmarkarian.

From helicopter to enabler: The new face of enterprise IT

Can an IT organization effectively run a 2017 business on 25-year-old technology? As someone who played a large hand in developing the data integration technology in question — at Informatica, where I was CTO for nearly two decades — I can tell you that the answer is simple: “No.”

A vastly different primordial landscape

That said, I know that when Informatica was created, it was the best technology for data integration at the time. The world was a lot simpler in 1992: there were five databases that mattered, and they were all pretty similar. There were just a few ERP systems: Oracle, SAP and a young PeopleSoft. Informatica was ideally suited to that software baseline, and the scale-up UNIX platforms of that era. The web, obviously, was not in the picture.

IT organizations were also a lot simpler in 1992. If any business person wanted new tech functionality — a new workstation added to a network, or a new report from a client/server system — they put their request into the IT queue, because that was the only way to get it.

IT is still important; it’s just different

Fast-forward 25 years to 2017. Almost everything about that primordial technology landscape, when Informatica roamed the world, is different. For example, now there’s the web, the cloud, NoSQL databases, and best of breed application strategies that are actually viable. None of these existed when Informatica started. Every assumption from that time — the compute platform, scale-up/scale-out, data types, data volumes and data formats — is different.

IT organizations are radically different, too. The command-and-control IT organization of the past has transformed into a critical enablement function. IT still enables core operations by securing the enterprise and establishing a multitude of technology governance frameworks. But the actual procurement of end-user technology, such as analyzing data aggregated from across systems and across the enterprise, is increasingly in the hands of business users.

In other words, the role of IT is changing, but the importance of IT isn’t. It’s like parenting; as your kids grow your role changes. It’s less about helicoptering and more about enabling. Parents don’t become less important, but how we deliver value evolves.

This is a good analog to the changes in enterprise IT. The IT organization wants to enable users because it’s pretty impossible to keep up with the blistering pace of business growth and change. If the IT organization tries to control too much, at some point it starts holding the business back.

Smart IT organizations have realized their role in the modern enterprise is to help their business partners become more successful. SnapLogic delivers a vital piece of required technology; we help IT organizations to give their users the self-service data integration services they need, instead of waiting for analysts to run an ETL through Informatica to pull the requested data together. By enabling self-service, SnapLogic is helping lines of business — most companies’ biggest growth drivers — to reach their full potential. If you’re a parent reading this, I know it will sound familiar.

Here’s another way to find out more about why IT organizations are embracing SnapLogic as a critical enabler: readSnapLogic’s new whitepaper that captures my conversation with Gaurav Dhillon, SnapLogic’s CEO and also an Informatica alumnus: “We left Informatica. Now you can, too.”

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Making Workday Faster for Vassar College

Last week we attended Workday Rising in Chicago where we talked to attendees about integrating Workday with the rest of their IT ecosystems. The real stars of the show, however, were our customers from Vassar College who gave a brief presentation at our booth to discuss their journey from finding the need for an integration vendor, to assessing different platforms, to ultimately choosing SnapLogic’s elastic integration platform as a service (iPaaS).vassar-college-image-edited

Continue reading “Making Workday Faster for Vassar College”

Webinar: Introduction to iPaaS – Drivers, Requirements and Use Cases

Synerzip webinarIf you have heard the term “iPaaS” but still aren’t quite sure what it means, join us tomorrow, Wednesday, July 20th at 10am PST, for a webinar in partnership with Synerzip to hear more about this increasingly recognized term and why you might be ready to adopt an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solution.

Continue reading “Webinar: Introduction to iPaaS – Drivers, Requirements and Use Cases”

Integration is Like Oxygen: You Don’t Miss it Until it’s Gone

idg_logoLast week InfoWorld featured an in-depth interview with SnapLogic founder and CEO Gaurav Dhillon: Q&A: SnapLogic Tackles App Integration in the Cloud Era. He was asked a number of questions by John Gallant, chief content officer of IDG US Media, including:

  • Why was SnapLogic founded and what has been the path to date?
  • What are the specific challenges that you’re trying to address?
  • What are the looming integration issues here that people should focus on more?

There is also a great discussion about the state of enterprise software and the vital role that integration technology plays in the era of cloud computing, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things. In this series of posts I’ll feature some of Gaurav’s responses. Here he is asked about integration in the modern, composite enterprise. I encourage you to read the full discussion here. Continue reading “Integration is Like Oxygen: You Don’t Miss it Until it’s Gone”

Self-Service Integration in the Spotlight at #GartnerAADI

Jason Bloomberg has kicked of a series of posts this week focused on Enterprise Architecture (EA) and the increasingly important role of Enterprise Architects. His first EA Communique is: Supporting the ‘Citizen Integrator’ with Enterprise Architecture.  When it comes to the need for self-service integration, he notes:

“Traditional integration tooling is IT-centric, typically requiring deep technical knowledge. EAs must instead be able to recommend tools like SnapLogic whose ease of use facilitates citizen integrators, while simultaneously supporting the governance needs of the IT organization.

Tools like SnapLogic shift the context for enterprise integration away from how ‘traditional’ IT has thought about integration: middleware-centric and complicated, and therefore slow and inflexible. Yes, the danger here once again is falling into the bimodal trap: if ‘slow’ IT remains in control of integration, then people will find ways around it – invariably leading to governance issues.

You can read the full write up here. Continue reading “Self-Service Integration in the Spotlight at #GartnerAADI”

CIOs Must Shake Up Their Integration Strategy to Enable Digital Transformation

Gartner_integration_iPaaSLast week Gartner published a new report called CIO Call to Action: Shake Up Your Integration Strategy to Enable Digital Transformation. In a summary of the report on LinkedIn, Gartner VP and Fellow Massimo Pezzini concludes:

“A move toward do-it-yourself, self-service pervasive integration carried out by specialists and nonspecialists – including LoB developers, SaaS administrators, data analysts and business users – is imperative to support strategies such as digital business, bimodal IT, post-modern ERP and analytics.”

Continue reading “CIOs Must Shake Up Their Integration Strategy to Enable Digital Transformation”