This month, we explore the impact of several business intelligence (BI) trends on data integration. These trends include: business (or corporate) performance management (BPM or CPM), real-time analysis, dashboards and data visualization and, surprisingly, reporting. The common thread through all of these initiatives is that data is the foundation of their success. Dashboards, data visualization and analytics are just tools and, as such, are not very useful without the data. Yes, these tools are often presented as the solution for data silos; however, they are merely the visual representation of the data integration that lies underneath the covers and beyond the proof of concept.

The BI trend with the most press and marketing hype is performance management. BPM, as offered by vendors, is a combination of BI tools, pre-built analytics supporting metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs), pre-built databases containing the data to be analyzed, ETL (extract, transform and load) tools and pre-built data mappings (ETL applications) to source the data for those databases. Vendors' solutions are pre-built stacks of tools, data, applications and often services to accelerate the time for a company to deploy these solutions. The vendors offer two value propositions in tight economic times: it's cheaper and faster to buy versus build, and it is one-stop shopping that offers reduced license fees and fewer integration points.

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