Data integration: The key to operationalizing innovation

md_craig-BW-1443725112By Craig Stewart

It’s not just a tongue twister. Operationalizing innovation has proven to be one of the most elusive management objectives of the new millennium. Consider this sound bite from an executive who’d just participated in an innovation conference in 2005:

The real discussion at the meeting was about … how to operationalize innovation. All roads of discussion led back to that place. How do you make your company into a systemic innovator? There is no common denominator out there, no shared understanding on how to do that.[1]

The good news is that, in the 12 years since, cloud computing has exploded, and a common denominator clearly emerged: data. Specifically, putting the power of data – big data, enterprise data, and data from external sources – and analytics into users’ hands. More good news: An entirely new class of big data analysis tools[2] has emerged that allows business users to become “citizen data analysts.”

The bad news: There hasn’t been a fast, easy way to perform the necessary integrations between data sources, in the cloud – an essential first step that is the foundation of citizen data analytics, today’s hottest source of innovation.

Until now.

The SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud is a mature, full-featured Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) built in the cloud, for the cloud. Through its visual, automated approach to integration, the SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud uniquely empowers both business and IT users, accelerating analytics initiatives on Amazon Redshift and other cloud data warehouses.

Unlike on-premises ETL or immature cloud tools, SnapLogic combines ease of use, streaming scalability, on-premises and cloud integration, and managed connectors called Snaps. Together, these capabilities present a 10x improvement over legacy ETL solutions like Informatica or other “cloud-washed” solutions originally designed for on-premises use, accelerating integrations from months to days.

By enabling “citizen integrators” to more quickly build, deploy and efficiently manage multiple high-volume, data-intensive integration projects, SnapLogic uniquely delivers:

  • Ease of use for business and IT users through a graphical approach to integration
  • A solution built for scale, offering bulk data movement and streaming data integration
  • Ideal capabilities for hybrid environments, with over 400 Snaps to handle relational, document, unstructured, and legacy data sources
  • Cloud data warehouse-readiness with native support for Amazon Redshift and other popular cloud data warehouses
  • Built-in data governance* by synchronizing data in Redshift at any time interval desired, from real-time to overnight batch.

* Why data governance matters

Analytics performed on top of incorrect data yield incorrect results – a detriment, certainly, in the quest to operationalize innovation. Data governance is a significant topic, and a major concern of IT organizations charged with maintaining the consistency of data routinely accessed by citizen data scientist and citizen integrator populations. Gartner estimates that only 10% of self-service BI initiatives are governed[3] to prevent inconsistencies that adversely affect the business.

Data discovery initiatives using desktop analytics tools risk creating inconsistent silos of data. Cloud data warehouses afford increased governance and data centralization. SnapLogic helps to ensure strong data governance by replicating source tables into Redshift clusters, where the data can be periodically synchronized at any time interval desired, from real-time to overnight batch. In this way, data drift is eliminated, allowing all users who access data, whether in Redshift or other enterprise systems, to be confident in its accuracy.

To find out more about how SnapLogic empowers citizen data scientists, and how a global pharmaceutical company is using SnapLogic to operationalize innovation, get the white paper, “Igniting discovery: How built-for-the-cloud data integration kicks Amazon Redshift into high gear.

Craig Stewart is Vice President, Product Management at SnapLogic.

[1] “Operationalizing Innovation–THE hot topic,” Bruce Nussbaum, Bloomberg, September 28, 2005.

[2] “The 18 Best Analytics Tools Every Business Manager Should Know,” Bernard Marr, Forbes, February 4, 2016.

[3] “Predicts 2017: Analytics Strategy and Technology,” Kurt Schlegel, et. al., Gartner, November 30, 2016. ID: G00316349

Don’t Let Cloud Be Another Silo: Accelerate Your AWS data integration

Gone are the days when enterprises had all of their apps and data sources on-premises. Today is the era of big data, cloud and hybrid deployments. More and more enterprises are rapidly adopting different SaaS applications and hosting their solutions in public clouds including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. But soon enterprises realize that their SaaS applications and on-premises data sources are not integrated with their public cloud footprint and the integration itself becomes an expensive and time consuming undertaking.

Continue reading “Don’t Let Cloud Be Another Silo: Accelerate Your AWS data integration”

Cloud Analytics Powered by Cloud Data Integration

This week on TechRepublic, Matt Asay wrote about the rapid rate of adoption of cloud analytics in the enterprise: BI wants to live in the cloud, but IT may not let it. His article shares some great stats and industry analyst insights about cloud analytics adoption (and resistance):

  • According to Howard Dresner’s Wisdom of Crowds Cloud Business Intelligence Market Study, the percentage of enterprises currently using public cloud BI increased by more than 17% from 2013 to 2014, and by more than 53% since 2012.
  • Gartner data showed 45% of surveyed enterprises looking to cloud BI solutions in 2014, up from 30% the previous three years.
  • Gartner analyst Joao Tapadinhas said, enterprises “will move the analytics app closer to the data,” because, he continued, “As more data sources move to the cloud, it makes more sense to also adopt cloud BI solutions because that’s where the data is. It’s easier to connect to cloud data using a cloud solution.”

Google_BigQuery_SnapLogicSnapLogic recently extended our support for powering cloud analytics with a new set of Snaps for Google BigQuery. As explained on their website, “Google BigQuery enables super-fast, SQL-like queries against append-only tables, using the processing power of Google’s infrastructure.” SnapLogic for Google BigQuery integration is an intelligent connector, what we call Snaps, that enables customers to transfer up to petabytes of data into and out of Google’s Cloud Platform. With SnapLogic, data can be moved at any latency (batch, real-time, via triggers, and Ultra Pipelines) to meet the requirements of a diverse set of business intelligence users. With the SnapLogic Elastic Integration Platform, citizen integrators can easily extract data from a wide variety of data sources and formats and load it into Google BigQuery. Whether you’re connecting to on-premise applications, social media, mobile and big data sources, SnapLogic allows you to connect faster.

Here’s a demonstration of SnapLogic for Google BigQuery. For more information on this Snap and all of our 300+ cloud and big data integration Snaps, please contact us or check out our YouTube Channel to see SnapLogic in action.

Cloud Analytics in the Spotlight: Riding the Wave at #DF14

Salesforce Analytics Cloud Data IntegrationThis week at Dreamforce 2014, Salesforce announced their new Analytics Cloud. They called the new service “Wave” and the headline copy writers jumped all over it. Here are a few of my favorites:

The announcement was brilliantly orchestrated by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who “let slip” via Twitter that there would be a new Analytics Cloud announcement at Dreamforce a few weeks ago. The day before the press hit the wire, he then tweeted: “Good day to catch a Wave: Salesforce Analytics Cloud” with a link to the new app on the App Store. The coverage since has been tremendous.

Suddenly Cloud Analytics is Red Hot. Oracle made a cloud analytics announcement at OpenWorld. Tableau has introduced a cloud data visualization service. SAP has announced partnerships. Many Cloud Analytics pure-play vendors continue to get funded and grow (although the impact of the Salesforce announcement on analytics partners remains to be seen). And the Amazon Redshift cloud data warehouse is said to be the fastest growing AWS service.

But cloud analytics is not a new topic, particularly in the CRM market. When Oracle acquired Siebel (who had acquired a small company called nQuire in 2001), the analytics product line was seen by many to be the “crown jewel” of their Fusion strategy. This despite the fact that Tom Siebel famously claimed to “not have a thorough analysis of the pipeline here with us today on a 2002 earnings call where he tried to explain the company’s big miss.

So why cloud analytics and why now? What are the benefits? What are the challenges? We’re going to be digging into these and other questions this week in a webinar with SnapLogic customer Bonobos. I hope you can attend. In the meantime, this article summarizes a great list of 10 drivers of Cloud Business Intelligence that comes from EMA Research:

  1. Lines of business are pushing their own BI agenda and pursuing their own solutions – often cloud-based.
  2. BI users are becoming more diverse and more demanding in their user experience, and cloud can provide a better (and more mobile) UX.
  3. User communities are maturing. Consumers of BI are a ‘new breed of knowledge worker,’ less timid about technology and more sophisticated.
  4. New technology, from in-memory to big data (NoSQL, Hadoop) is forcing a re-evaluation of existing BI infrastructure.
  5. The economics of cloud enable more companies to get involved with BI, allowing them to widen the scope of BI projects utilize cloud to widen scope economically.
  6. Companies are realizing the value of new types of data from new data feeds.
  7. On-premise data warehouses are under strain from these new requirements and data sources.
  8. Data warehouses are decentralizing – cloud is an ideal platform for decentralized BI architectures.
  9. Cloud can minimize the pain of traditional BI projects.
  10. The CAPEX-based cloud pricing model makes cloud BI projects easier to fund and pursue.

In 2007, I joined a cloud business intelligence software company called LucidEra (after my 1.0 attempt at getting Salesforce to develop an analytics product line). Here’s a presentation from 2007, which summarizes some of the benefits we saw on-demand business intelligence delivering back then. While LucidEra was in many ways ahead of its time, the benefits are as true today as they were then: self-service, ease of use, rapid time to value, lower set up costs, etc. But one of the primary challenges that customers and solution providers must still overcome is the need for robust data integration. Ideally the data integration technology is also cloud-based; it must be able to deliver disparate data to end-users in batch and real time; and it must be as easy to set up and easy to use as the cloud analytics solution itself.

But back to the Wave. When Salesforce jumps into a market, it brings great awareness to what’s possible and the new Analytics Cloud will definitely encourage more and more IT organizations to re-think their approach to data warehousing and business intelligence. I’d like to congratulations my old friend Keith Bigelow and the entire Salesforce Analytics Cloud team on their launch. And I’m excited to say that SnapLogic has partnered with Salesforce to make the new Analytics Cloud possible for our customers. Here’s Keith introducing the primary Analytics Cloud data integration and consulting partners:

Salesforce Analytics Partners

You can learn more about our new Snap and Snap Patterns here and see it in action on our Cloud Analytics webinar later this week, which will also demonstrate getting data into and out of Amazon Redshift and big data integration.

Welcome to the new era of Cloud Analytics, powered by next-generation Cloud Integration!