In today’s competitive marketplace, organizations need to blend data from different business units to provide deeper insight into operations, customers, sales and financial performance. To uncover these insights, organizations must integrate siloed data from disparate applications, systems and data warehouses located throughout the business. Unfortunately, only 52% of data integration projects are successfully completed, according to a recent IDG survey of high-level IT and business decision-makers.
As companies struggle with integrating data silos, inefficiencies in business operations can also leave them vulnerable. In fact, Harvard Business Review estimates that bad data costs U.S. businesses $3 trillion annually.
Integrating data sources and addressing the skills shortage
In the IDG survey, 91% of respondents said the ability to integrate data from any source is critical to their organizations’ strategic goals. Of those respondents who said their enterprises use integrated data to drive major business decisions, a variety of strategies are used to extract value, including big data analytics tools, reporting dashboards and internal data science processes.
The effort to integrate data sources is ongoing with respondents identifying an average of eight data integration projects in their organizations over the past 12 months. As the number of projects increases, the demand placed on in-house IT staff can be overwhelming. In addition to the growing complexity of integrations, the expertise, time and skills required to manage iPaaS and in-house middleware strategies for integration is harder to find. A survey by a global staffing agency demonstrates that 47% of IT employers will increase headcount in the next year; 70% of IT employers say they face a “moderate to extreme” skills shortage.
This talent shortage is exacerbated by the rate at which new technologies evolve and by the ever-increasing security and data privacy compliance requirements. Both of these situations mandate ongoing training to keep staff skills up-to-date and to ensure that new compliance requirements are met.
The benefits of managed data services
To overcome the skills shortage, many organizations are turning to data integration partners to extend the capabilities of in-house IT staff. In the IDG survey, 76% of respondents indicated that they were likely to pursue external managed data services. Not only does managed services free in-house staff to handle day-to-day critical operations, but it also allows staff to focus on the development of new capabilities that will benefit the organization. A data management and integration partner that can address integration needs and provide the flexibility to scale services up or down as needed is an efficient, cost-effective strategy for most companies. This agility is critical as companies address the broader challenges of digital transformation.
A few of the advantages of a managed services model for data management and integration include:
- The external partner is responsible for staffing, as well as maintaining up-to-date skill levels for new protocols, compliance requirements and emerging technologies
- Costs for integration and data management can be blended into the operations budget, creating a predictable, monthly fee – rather than large capital expenditures every time infrastructure expands
- Future updates, expansion of services or access to new technology no longer requires capital investment for software, hardware or staff
There is no doubt that removing data silos benefits all areas of the business, but addressing the challenges of integration in an era of increasing volume and complexity of data requires a new approach.
To learn more about the challenges facing IT leaders and the benefits of managed services, request your copy of the IDG Market Pulse white paper, “Leveraging Data Integration for Strategic Advantage.” You can also learn more about Enterprise Application Integration here.