The Myth and the Magic of Enterprise Information Integration

Those that know what they're talking about see EII as extending the data warehouse -- not replacing it.
In short, EII is a vital component of the real-time enterprise. This is the magic! It allows us to get at extensive and significant information that really has no place in the data warehouse. Now we can avoid bloating our warehouses with unnecessary data. And we can get instant access to the data we really need. But EII does not do away with the warehouse, and it does not replace it: it augments and extends the warehouse. Of course, EII may have an impact on the operational systems. But what we need to recognize is that as business moves increasingly to 24x7, the impact of the traditional Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) approach also becomes an issue. In either case, IT has to find ways to manage in this new world.

And when it comes to data quality, history, and similar issues, it still remains the responsibility of the data warehouse, ODS, or other data reconciliation approach to fix those problems. In fact, the data warehouse or equivalent is the key source used by EII to obtain cleansed and reconciled data and as the basis for creating those cross-system queries.

The question is not about EII vs. data warehousing at all, but rather how can we combine the strengths of both enterprise information integration and data warehousing for maximum business value? Personally, I think the young ladies have got it right! After all, which would you choose — the myth or the magic?

Dr. Barry Devlin was responsible for the definition of IBMs warehouse architecture in the mid 1980s and is a widely respected consultant and lecturer on this and related topics, and author of a comprehensive book on the subject "Data Warehouse from Architecture to Implementation." Barry currently works on DB2 Information Integrator, where he is part of the team defining IBM's information integration architecture as well as industry solutions and applications of the technology. Barry is 20 years in the IT business, mainly with IBM's Software and Solutions Centre in Dublin. He is a Council Member of the IBM Academy of Technology and an IBM Distinguished Engineer.