Question: Many organizations have an interest in enterprise application integration (EAI) lately. How are business intelligence solutions positioned within the context of EAI? In what order are the solutions implemented?


Doug Hackney’s Answer: Neil Raden (nraden@archer-decision.com)has done some good research and writing on this topic.

Scott Howard’s Answer: BI and enterprise application integration (EAI) are definitely related. Some consider BI to be the EAI solution while other consider it only a temporary measure needing a final fully integrated solution. Let me explain.

If you successfully implement an enterprise BI solution in which you consolidate, reconcile, conform and cleanse data into an enterprise data warehouse, you have achieved the desired integration from an output or analysis prospective. The analyst now has a single integrated view across your enterprise applications. This is all that many enterprises desire in EAI.

However, others may view this as a temporary measure that can quickly be achieved while continuing the path to true EAI where applications and many business processes and their associated workflow become one, or at least more consistent. An enterprise BI solution can now easily be slapped on the back of a true EAI model because most of the consolidation, reconciliation and conformity was achieved in creating the EAI solution. This full approach covers the input end in addition to the previous example’s handling of output.

Les Barbusinsk’s Answer: EAI and DW technologies are highly complementary.   The messaging technology within EAI can be used to source system data to a data warehouse in near real time.   EAI portal technology can integrate BI applications with operational data to present a cohesive picture of the business to the end user.   Data warehouses can provide clean, integrated data (such as customer data) for EAI applications.   And so on.   Much of the DW and BI application development that will occur in the next few years will involve integration with EAI technologies.   In terms of sequencing, it varies.   For instance, a portal project may drive the need for a particular kind of data mart.   Or a data warehouse may need to employ MOM technology to acquire some source data in near real time.   I’ve seen it go both ways.

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