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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

CEO Perspective: Why Data Access and Integration Are Key to Enterprise Success

What emerging technology will enable data delivery? Why is data access so important today? Astera Software's CEO, Ibrahim Surani, shares his expertise.

Ibrahim Surani is the CEO of Astera Software, a data management software provider founded in 1990 that caters to several Fortune 500 companies, including Wells Fargo, Novartis, HP, Xerox, and others. Upside spoke with Ibrahim Surani to get his insights into current industry trends and learn what's ahead in analytics.

For Further Reading:

The Challenge of Integration and the Role of iPaaS

Laying the Foundation to Unlock AI Value at Scale

Looking Ahead: Making Applications More Intelligent and Protecting Sensitive Data in 2020

Upside: What technology or methodology must be part of an enterprise's data strategy if it wants to be competitive today? Why?

Ibrahim Surani: Streamlining data access is critical for companies to stay competitive in the market. Enterprises are sitting on mountains of data scattered across various systems. A major challenge for them is to mine that data from each source and piece it together to create sustainable strategies aligned with business initiatives.

Facilitating data access when integrating data from disparate silos -- such as in mergers and acquisitions, managing data feeds from partners, or merging vendor data -- can save hours of manual labor and ensure delivery of consistent, high-quality information. For example, we helped VinSolutions, an automotive software solutions provider, cut down the onboarding time of new dealers from two months to one hour by simplifying the integration of numerous dealership management systems into their core system.

What one emerging technology are you most excited about and think has the greatest potential? What's so special about this technology?

Data publishing through APIs is fast becoming front and center in data delivery. It has revolutionized the way enterprises manage the flow of information and operations across and beyond the organizational structure.

APIs, although an old architectural technique, are becoming a strategic mandate for enterprises looking to leverage reusability for their data assets. The API-driven model facilitates users in two ways. First, it enables enterprises to share data without moving it or dealing with third-party platforms. Second, the API reusability factor translates to a positive return on technology investments that wouldn't be possible if organizations stuck to legacy solutions.

Embracing the API publishing model will promote business agility and accelerate the data delivery cycle.

What is the single biggest challenge enterprises face today? How do most enterprises respond (and is it working)?

When managing torrents of data, most organizations struggle with creating a holistic view of their enterprise assets. To combat this challenge, they have two options: build an enterprise-grade data integration solution or buy one.

Most enterprises, especially large ones that have an in-house IT department, prefer in-house solutions over enterprise-ready alternatives. As a result, they are unable to leverage the most up-to-date technology, techniques, and patterns to integrate and get a 360-degree view of enterprise data. They are stuck with time-consuming solutions that are hard to deploy and ultimately affect the company's bottom line and productivity.

In my opinion, enterprises working on large-scale projects would be better served by adopting enterprise-ready tools.

Is there a new technology in data and analytics that is creating more challenges than most people realize? How should enterprises adjust their approach to it?

Predicted to become mainstream technologies, machine learning and AI promise companies across all industry verticals benefits in productivity and innovation. The potential of these technologies cuts across business functions, including applications such as predictive maintenance, analyzing large amounts of data, and monitoring. Forward-thinking companies are jumping on this bandwagon to stay viable in the market.

However, adapting to new technology may be a challenge for enterprises. I believe that by hiring, educating, and training a new generation of employees, enterprises can build a more flexible workforce that can unlock value from innovation.

Where do you see analytics and data management headed in 2020 and beyond?

The implementation of analytics and data management has become mainstream across almost every industry, whether it's education, pharmaceuticals, or manufacturing. In the upcoming year, this technology will be easily accessible to users and they'll be able to operate it without a high level of technical expertise.

Describe your product/solution and the problem it solves for enterprises.

Astera Software's suite of products includes an end-to-end data integration solution, Astera Centerprise, automated data extraction software, Astera ReportMiner, and a robust electronic data interchange solution, Astera EDIConnect. Our solutions help enterprises simplify their data journey from data extraction to transformation and loading in a drag-and-drop environment. Geared towards offering seamless user experience and high performance, our solutions enable business users to process data in a code-free environment with minimal reliance on IT teams.

About the Author

James E. Powell is the editorial director of TDWI, including research reports, the Business Intelligence Journal, and Upside newsletter. You can contact him via email here.

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