New data management approaches shift focus from technical to application support.

There is a paradigm shift  under way in both the data integration and data quality markets. With the growing realisation that data is a core business driver business is pushing IT to deliver to ever tighter deadlines. At the same  time, IT departments are being hit by a global skills shortage and are being asked to tighten their belts and do more with less. The focus for business users is to find solutions that are cost effective and that provide ground-breaking ease of use to enable business users to support smaller initiatives themselves.

For our technology partners, providing simpler and more intuitive technology is a definite strategy. This frees users of the platforms to focus on solving complex business problems using data – not on solving complex data integration or data quality problems.

For example, the off the shelf country rules from Trillium Software provide immediate value and save huge amounts of development effort when dealing with name and address data. A less obvious benefit is that the intellectual property packaged in these rules takes a lot of the guess work and trial and error out of developing your own rules – you can leverage and adapt the best practise rules very quickly to ensure a better fit to your data, secure in the knowledge that you are applying best practise principles.

Similarly, Expressor Software’s semantic layer for data integration provides users  with an easily maintained definition layer to manage data integration complexities. So data aware business people can easily convert and map data between “Account #” in system 1 and “Account ID” in system 2.

In either case, business rules defined by business data stewards can be reused, by other business users or by IT, and solution can be deployed through traditional IT channels into robust production environments – so IT can be as involved as they want or need to be.

This approach places a new set of challenges on the traditional IT support desk. Most vendors provide technical support where a system is not working as documented. This paradigm shift now requires application support as the users may not be data quality or data integration experts.  By offering users a support channel for “how to” type questions these vendors are truely enabling the user – with more than just an easy to use, cost effective tool.

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