Informatica Corporation, a leading provider of data integration and business intelligence software, announced that a growing number of its customers are adopting a new, more centralized model for enterprise data integration called an Integration Competency Center (ICC). Companies implementing an ICC, or integration "center of excellence," are dramatically speeding the deployment and reducing the costs of their strategic integration projects by implementing consistent best practices and standards across multiple initiatives, and reusing processes to optimize internal IT services.

Informatica customers that have implemented or are in the process of establishing an ICC include the American Red Cross, Best Buy, Credit Suisse First Boston, Eli Lilly, Federal Express, Guidant, Ingram Micro, Intuit, Pfizer, Staples, Toyota Motor Sales, T. Rowe Price, VeriSign and Waste Management. Gartner noted in a December 15, 2003 report, "By year-end 2005, more than half of large enterprises (those with more than $1 billion in revenue) will have a central ICC, an increase of approximately 30 percent in 2003 (0.7 probability)."

"Our goal at Best Buy is to make world-class integration a core competency and a prime differentiator for competitive advantage," said John Schmidt, vice president of integration at Best Buy. "Information environments are becoming more complex all the time. Having an ICC enables us to evolve our integration maturity in terms of methodologies, skills and standards across all our business units. It also enables us to sustain the intellectual capital resident in our systems, data, applications and processes."

With an ICC approach to developing integration best practices and capabilities that can be leveraged enterprise-wide, even a 35 percent reuse of development work across 10 projects can save a company almost $2 million in direct costs and approximately 1,000 person-days of effort on average.

"We're seeing the biggest efficiency gains from our ICC in getting new projects up and running quickly," said Kevin Fleet, director of data warehousing and business intelligence at Pfizer. "We can plan out a new project more effectively and begin delivering value for the business in a shorter period of time, and we're seeing efficiency gains in our support process as well because we've standardized on processes and technologies."

Business drivers behind establishing an ICC include the opportunity to leverage integration as a competitive weapon, more quickly complete integration projects that tax scarce resources, integrate systems following merger and acquisition activities, improve data quality across the enterprise, and reduce maintenance costs for complex integration environments.

"Informatica is a major proponent of the ICC approach, and we have considerable experience in helping customers implement the model that best suits their needs," said Girish Pancha, executive vice president of products at Informatica. "Moreover, the Informatica platform is architected to meet the needs of an ICC approach in that it is designed to maximize reuse of integration processes while providing robust end-to-end metadata capabilities for visualizing and controlling the flow of information across an IT organization."

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