Category Archives: Executive Perspective

Is Data Mapping a Solved Problem?

Many IT professionals believe that data transformation and mapping are “solved problems”.  After all, mapping tools have been around for over 20 years, and thousands of IT organizations use them in integration projects every day.  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, right?

What belies that attitude are the missed integration project deadlines, runtime exceptions, customer chargebacks, vendor scorecard deductions and other business problems that can be traced to data transformation mapping practices.  Mapping is also the single most costly integration activity, accounting for up to 75% of some integration project costs.  Yet few project teams focus attention on ways to improve mapping efficiency and accuracy. Continue reading

Podcast: Replacing Legacy EDI Systems (Run time: 14:45)

I recently sat down to interview Nahid Jilovec on the subject of her recent white paper, “Replacing Legacy EDI Systems“. In this brief (less than 15 minute) podcast, Nahid reviews the business drivers and technical advances that are motivating companies to extend or replace their aging EDI infrastructures. She also identifies the main implementation strategies available, summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of legacy replacement, and makes a strong case for strategic consideration of future business integration needs.

If you haven’t yet read Nahid’s paper, or are looking for a condensed overview of this topic that you can send to a colleague, click here to listen, or right-click on the link to download this informative interview to your MP3 player.

And if you’d like to suggest a business integration topic for a future EXTOL podcast, just reply to this post or drop us a line at

Achieving Business Invisibility

Business visibility has become one of the pillars of modern business management.  After all, in order to manage something, you first need to measure it.  An entire industry has emerged around business intelligence and analytics solutions that aim to make business information more accessible and “actionable”.

Business visibility is important at many organization and decision levels, and can take multiple forms.  Most companies are awash in data that can be used for management and decision-making.  Business integration middleware like the EXTOL Business Integrator makes it easier than ever to consolidate internal and external data (from databases, files, spreadsheets, EDI transactions, web services, and other sources) and automate data extraction, transformation,  enrichment, validation, synchronization, and syndication to internal and external destinations, in forms appropriate for either human or automated consumption.  Scheduling or triggering such data integration activities based on events can help make business decisions more timely and accurate. Continue reading

To Web Services and Beyond…

The recent smash hit, Web Services, has played from coast to coast on the business “Hypo-Tronic Gizmo” for several years now.  One might even suggest that if DJ-Bob had a weekly Top 10 countdown featuring the most prolific debuts in business-hype history, Web Services would be at or near the top (clouds are also floating fairly high these days).  This Hypo-Tronic Gizmo (or HG device) is extremely unique because it plays only what the listener wishes to hear.  For top-level executives the device delivers a simple, “Cha-Ching”.  For mid-level managers it renders a more subtle, “Here we go again”, reprise.  But, for those in the trenches – the technical implementers and end users – it screams, “Fire in the hole!”  Yet, surprisingly, to those who have lived through the budget-blowing and non-committing trends of the past, Web Services has actually delivered a Certified Platinum hit that many advocates had hoped it would achieve. Continue reading

Stay the Course and Avoid the Bling

I was recently driving while listening intently to a radio program as a woman described her inability to survive each day without her Blackberry.  I recalled how years earlier I was able to enjoy my twenty-seventh consecutive year of attending the first round of NCAA’s “March Madness” because I had implemented similar survival techniques and had email available at my fingertips.

This year I returned to the phone outlet and found my Blackberry to be far outdated.  There were phones with a “bling” for this…and a “jingle” for that.  These were electronic office assistants that also doubled as high quality cameras.  Storage capacities were available that rivaled hardware ten times their size, perfect for catching that otherwise useless video moment.  As if my favorite 250 songs weren’t enough, I had an option to carry them all.  I was certain at some point I would be approached by a stranger asking if I might just have Tiny Tim’s, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” available for immediate play. Continue reading