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'Attack of the Data Silos 2': Coming soon to an enterprise near you

Katherine Noyes | May 21, 2015
Information silos are the scourge whose downfall has been foretold ever since the rise of enterprise resource planning platforms in the 1990s, but today, their demise remains far from assured.

"It may not sound fashionable, but data governance is more important than ever," Forrester's Bennett said.

The business side of the company should own the data, she advised, while IT focuses on making that data available in the right format.

Time, however, is still of the essence.

"Getting the job on time often trumps getting the job done with the right tools using the right data but a week or month later," said Boris Evelson, a vice president at Forrester. "We strongly believe that single version of the truth is not absolute -- it's relative and contextual, and how much are you willing to pay for 100 percent accuracy?"

Evelson recommends creating an enterprise data hub based on Hadoop or another similar, low-cost platform and then creating BI apps as "spokes" off of that hub.

Then, "pick your battles," he said. "Most of the enterprise data should be in the data hub," but "here you give up some of the controls: the data may not be very clean or integrated, but it's all in one place."

Whichever setup works best for now, it's a pretty safe bet this won't be the last time companies wrestle with the problem.

"The evolution of the business-intelligence market can be thought of as a pendulum," said Brad Peters, chairman and chief product officer at BI software provider Birst.

"We started at one extreme of the pendulum: an IT-owned, centrally governed model," he explained. "Then the pendulum swung to the other extreme in response to business-user demand. Today we're seeing the pendulum swing back towards the middle as IT and business leaders recognize the need to find a healthy balance."

 

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