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dPaaS: A Disruptive Force in the Integration Space

Rob ConsoliIn this special guest feature, Rob Consoli, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Liaison Technologies, makes a case for the benefits of a data-centric approach to integration called dPaaS (Data Platform as a Service), an integration and data management platform that is fundamentally different from traditional approaches and offers a number of advantages. He brings over 25 years of technology industry experience and has a demonstrated track record of successfully building teams and helping growth-oriented companies navigate cultural and process transitions as they expand operations and global reach. In this pivotal role, Rob leads Liason’s North American efforts to strategically position and sell the company’s cloud-based integration and data management solutions, as well as increase its sales to meet the company’s growth objectives.Consoli holds a Master of Science from Southern Methodist University and a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University.

Let’s daydream for a moment: if you were to hit the lottery tomorrow, what would you do with the money? Would you bury it in small amounts all over the back yard? Maybe stash some under the mattress or in the freezer?

Or, would you invest it in some well-thought out mutual funds, stocks or maybe even a worthy startup as a venture capitalist? Perhaps even donate to some worthy non-profit causes?

My guess is you’d opt for the latter approach, recognizing that simply having the money isn’t nearly as valuable as putting the money to work in a smart way. The fragmented approach of scattering a few hundred dollars here and there would provide no value, prevent you from realizing the full benefit of the windfall and put you at tremendous risk of theft or loss.

Surprisingly, many modern businesses are still operating with a fragmented approach to their data akin to stashing it away in small amounts all over the backyard and around the house. With multiple applications all collecting and storing their own data within these specific silos, the data is locked away inside these applications.

In aggregation, the data has tremendous value. The ability to make correlations and comparisons across various data sets and characteristics could reveal incredibly valuable insights to improve business success.

But, the reality is, making those integrations to aggregate and use the data effectively is extremely difficult, and it becomes increasingly more so every day as new applications and their related data sets get added to the mix.

While every company knows their data is an extremely valuable asset—it has even become THE most valuable for some—many are discovering that more data doesn’t necessarily equate to more “information.” In fact, without proper handling and analysis, data is just bits and bytes offering almost no value on its own. It must be elevated, analyzed and understood with context in order to have value. This is why, despite an abundance of data, information is still scarce for a lot of businesses.

Many factors have contributed to the data explosion over the last few years: the deconstruction of large, monolithic applications which are being replaced or supplemented by multiple niche SaaS applications; the explosion in mobile data and social media, and the Internet of Things are some of the biggest.

Unfortunately, this influx is making it harder than ever to perform the integration and data management operations required to turn data into actionable information. I blame the traditional application-centric integration methodology for this, which requires that businesses grow ever-increasing numbers of tentacles between applications. The problem with this approach is that converting data into information is extremely complex, requiring monumental effort in order to extract, cleanse, de-duplicate and harmonize the data from multiple applications in preparation for running analytics algorithms against it. A couple of months and a million dollars later, you finally get the information that you anecdotally already knew.

And, worse yet, this only solves the temporary challenge. With every new application or data set added to the technology stack, the entire process must be repeated. You’re right back to square one, and every single initiative requires the same large investment of time,  resources and capital to achieve the stand-alone goal. Nothing about this process is future-ready.

Fortunately, a change is in the air. A new way of approaching integration—a data-centric methodologyis picking up steam and poised to fundamentally answer the question, “How can I better integrate my systems to produce actionable information and not be continuously distracted by the minutiae of integrating application tentacles?”

This new data-centric approach to integration is called dPaaS (Data Platform as a Service). dPaaS is an integration and data management platform that is fundamentally different from traditional approaches and offers the following advantages.

  • Integration delivered as managed services – This includes people, platform and processes to manage businesses’ integration needs, whether that’s integrating end points behind the firewall to external businesses, or connecting application to application in the cloud. Why integration as managed services? So that businesses can focus on what matters most: producing and acting on information versus being in the ever-changing business of integration.
  • Unified integration and data management– Traditionally, integration and data management at large organizations have required two Centers of Excellence, two teams and two sets of tools. But with today’s mandate to find insights in real time, this is no longer tenable. dPaaS has an underlying schema-less Big-Data-based repository that overcomes the challenges of storing and processing unlimited data in order to elevate it to actionable information at the right time, for the right people.
  • Compliance – The protection of personally identifiable information (PII), payments-related data and personal health information (PHI) are paramount in any business application. A dPaaS solution offers baked-in functionalities, infrastructure, processes and controls that comply with government and industry standards such as PCI DSS and HIPAA. Again, this built-in compliance posture future-proofs the investment: you may not need compliance now, but when you do add data that requires protection, the dPaaS platform will be ready.
  • Data visibility – In an ideal scenario, data should be fluid so that, with the right context, it can be molded into an information model that is defined at consumption time (much like water that assumes the shape of its container). However, the data consumer should always have full visibility into how the data assumed its current shape. Data lineage that stores the different states of the data in an immutable log is fundamental to dPaaS architecture and a valuable differentiator as compared to traditional data management solutions.

If yours is among the smart businesses looking to use information, and not merely data, as a disruptive and innovative force to gain an edge over competitors—which you should be—now is the time to give dPaaS a look. By providing a comprehensive, end-to-end approach to data integration and management, dPaaS allows your company to leverage the efficiencies and insights today, and have a future ready solution to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

 

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