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 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 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 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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Why enterprises must meet millennials’ expectations

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Millennials’ attitudes in the workplace have gotten a bad rap, the roots of which are explored in this extremely popular video by author and speaker Simon Sinek. But this blog isn’t a slam on millennials’ expectations for job fulfillment. It’s about meeting their expectations of how easy it should be to use enterprise technology — and that’s a good thing.

A very vocal majority

Since 2015, millennials have been the largest demographic group in the US workforce, numbering 53.5 million. They are now mainstream enterprise tech consumers, and there’s a thing or two we can learn. For example, millennials came of age using smartphones. In fact, 97% of millennials aged 25-34 own a smartphone. And I doubt that a single one would want to give up their smartphone for a separate flip phone, music player and camera.

The reality is, we live in an age where people expect multiple utility from technology, a driving force in innovation. How about a washer that also dries your clothes, that’s pretty rad. Or the motorcycle helmet that puts an entire dashboard of information right in front of your eyes, that’s radder still.

Expectations for multiple utility are similarly all over the workplace, and millennials are approaching the data consumption challenge with a clean slate. They say it should be easy, like a smartphone, and be self-service. Once again, millennials are clamoring for multiple utility.

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SnapLogic meets millennial expectations of modern business

This is an area where SnapLogic trumps legacy technologies. On its best day, the 25-year-old data integration technology offered by Informatica creates ETLs (extract, transfer, loads) and has some other capabilities added on. But at its core, Informatica was designed to deal with batch, relational, ETL-like kinds of problems. Unfortunately, no one in the working world, not even retiring Boomers, lives in batch mode. Business change happens in real-time, and our data and analytics need to support that.

From day one, SnapLogic has been designed to solve all kinds of data-in-flight problems in the enterprise. These include, as we called them in the last century, application integration problems like connecting Salesforce with SAP, or data integration problems, providing information feeds to solve modern analytic sorts of questions. We can use SnapLogic to solve problems with technologies that weren’t widely available in the last century like predictive analytics, machine learning, or wiring up large industrial enterprises with IoT sensors, to give you new profit pools and help do a better job of building products.

That’s the kind of multiple utility that people expect from their technology — it’s not about feeds or speeds, it’s about having a smart phone versus having a separate phone, camera and music player. That’s just so 1992, you know?

This is the “match point” that SnapLogic can defend into eternity. Hundreds of our customers around the globe testify to that. Almost all of these companies had some flavor of Informatica or its competitor, and they have made the choice to move to SnapLogic. Some have moved completely, in a big bang, and others have side-by-side projects and will migrate completely to SnapLogic over time.

Want to learn more about meeting today’s lofty expectations for enterprise tech? Read SnapLogic’s new whitepaper that captures my conversation with James Markarian, SnapLogic’s CTO and also an Informatica alumnus: “We left Informatica. Now you can, too.”

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The need for speed: Why I left Informatica (and you should, too)

guarav_blog_headshotInformatica is one of the biggest, oldest names in enterprise technology. It’s a company I co-founded in 1992 and left over 10 years ago. Although the reasons why I left can be most easily summarized as “disagreements with the board over the direction of the company,” it all boils down to this: aging enterprise technology doesn’t move fast enough to keep up with the speed of today’s business.

About a year after I left, I founded SnapLogic, a company that has re-invented data integration for the modern enterprise — an enterprise that is increasingly living, working and innovating in the cloud. The pace at which enterprises are shifting operations to the cloud is reflected in stats like this: According to Forrester Research, the global public cloud market will top $146 billion in 2017, up from $87 billion in 2015.

Should you ride a horse to the office?

need-for-speedGiven the tidal wave of movement to the cloud, why would a company stick with Informatica? Often, it’s based on decisions made in the last century, when CIOs made strategic commitments to this legacy platform. If you’re the CIO of that shop today, you may or may not have been the person who made that decision, but here you are, running Informatica.

Going forward, does it make sense to keep running the company on Informatica? The truthful answer is it can, just as you can run a modern company on a mainframe. You can also ride a horse to the office. But is it something you should do? That’s where I say “no.” The direct path between a problem and a solution is to use appropriate technologies that are in synch with the problems being solved, in the times and the budget that are available today. That is really the crux of Informatica inheritance versus the SnapLogic future.

It’s true that the core guts of what is still Informatica — the underlying engine, the metadata, the user interface and so on — have to some extent been replenished. But they are fundamentally still fixed in the past. It’s like a mainframe; you can go from water cooling to air cooling, but fundamentally it’s still a mainframe.

The high price of opportunity cost

IT and business people always think about sunk costs, and they don’t want to give up on sunk costs. Informatica shops have invested heavily in the application, and the people, processes, iron and data centers required to run it; these are sunk costs.

But IT and business leaders need to think about sunk opportunity, and the high price their companies pay for missing out because their antiquated infrastructure — of which Informatica is emblematic — doesn’t allow them to move fast enough to seize opportunity when they see it.

Today, most enterprises are making a conscious decision to stop throwing good money after bad on their application portfolios. They recognize they can’t lose out on more opportunities. They are switching to cloud computing and modern enterprise SaaS. As a result, there’s been a huge shift toward solutions like Salesforce, Workday and Service Now; companies that swore they would never give up on-premise software are moving their application computing to the cloud.

Game, set, match point

In light of that, in a world that offers new, ultra-modern technology at commodity prices, you start to realize, “We ought to modernize. We should give up on the sunk costs and instead think of the sunk opportunity of persisting with clunky old technology.”

This is the “match point” that SnapLogic can defend into eternity. Hundreds of our customers around the globe testify to that. Almost all of these companies had some flavor of Informatica or its competitor, and they have made the choice to move to SnapLogic. Some have moved completely, in a big bang, and others have side-by-side projects and will migrate completely to SnapLogic over time.

Need more reasons to move fast? Read SnapLogic’s new whitepaper that captures my conversation with James Markarian, SnapLogic’s CTO and also an Informatica alumnus: “We left Informatica. Now you can, too.”

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James Markarian: Was the Election a Referendum on Predictive Analytics?

In his decades working in the data and analytics industry, SnapLogic CTO James Markarian has witnessed few mainstream events that have sparked as much discussion and elicited as many questions – around the value and accuracy of predictive analytics – as our recent election.

In a new blog post on Forbes, James examines where the nation’s top pollsters (who across the board predicted a different election outcome) possibly went wrong, why some predictions succeed and others fail, what businesses who have invested in data analytics can learn from the election, and how new technologies such as integration platform as a service (iPaaS) can help them make sense of all their data to make better predictions.

Be sure to read James’s blog, titled “What The Election Taught Us About Predictive Analytics”, on Forbes here.

Connect with SnapLogic at AWS re:Invent

This week, the SnapLogic team will be supporting one of our partners, Amazon Web Services, in Las Vegas for the annual AWS re:Invent conference. This gathering of the global AWS community will feature hands-on labs and bootcamps and cover topics such as infrastructure maintenance, and improving developer productivity, network security and application performance.

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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

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