David Loshin at SAS writes about the growth in products enabling data integration across cloud and on-premise environments. Now more organizations are using applications in the cloud, their data is becoming dispersed. Worse, crucial enterprise data is being stored in ways that run counter to organizations' efforts at semantic consistency.
It seems as though, just once everybody's got the idea that consistent meaning is vital for using data as an asset, some application-driven force comes along to undermine it. The PC did great things but there was a real downside in the fragmentation of corporate data which followed the spread of PCs in enterprises. Much of the work in data management over the last few decades has been about remediating this situation without undoing the benefits of personal computing. Now the move toward cloud computing is providing a fresh impetus toward fragmentation and data disharmony.
Loshin notes several benefits to the new generation of data integration products. The last, and as he acknowledges the most important, is: “[They] will allow for incorporation of data standardization and validation rules to ensure proper alignment at the integration point.”
Break that down and the word “alignment” takes a key role. With the proliferation of cloud apps, data is getting misaligned. Decision makers need to spell out the risks involved in allowing this situation to persist and grow. The need for data standards never goes away. The underlying rationale stays the same. The technology changes – and this can obscure the continuing salience of standards. But technology is just the surface. Data is the depth. Data is our business.