Last week we had a briefing with Progress Software about their new data tool Easyl.

I’ve been a data management wonk for most of my career, beginning in the early 80s when I worked on an IBM GUIDE project on Demand-Driven Data Administration. At the time I was director of data administration at John Hancock, a function I fought to establish and evangelized at every opportunity. I founded the Boston chapter of Data Administration Management Association (DAMA) and worked with other data management wonks to spread the word. But the problem with data management was then, and still is, that it is seen as a tax or an overhead on value that is delivered through applications.

In the briefing, Dion Picco, Easyl product manager at Progress, pointed out that as the MDM Institute recently found, “the average MDM implementation in the G5000 costs $1M in software and 3-4x for implementation”  (MDM Institute, Enterprise Master Data Management: Market Review & Forecast). It’s clearly an overhead expense, and it does take time to put data management in place, especially as the use of Cloud data continues to proliferate. At the same time, if you don’t have some discipline on managing data definitions and usage, before long entropy creeps into the system and you no longer have data that’s reliable, credible, trustworthy.  And that’s no way to make business decisions.

Easyl, the new data tool from Progress, is entering a beta testing phase and Progress is still open to interested potential beta testers. Progress demoed Easyl at Dreamforce and created significant buzz for two good reasons:

Easyl combines Cloud data from multiple Cloud providers, simply and efficiently

Easyl has clearly been designed for business users with ease of use in mind.

In addition, Easyl works off reusable data views and report formats in a way that facilitates a collaborative working relationship with IT around data management. Combining data from Eloqua, Hubspot, Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce, for example, and working with legacy spreadsheet data, has considerable appeal to marketing users today. It is easy to see how this could spread to Finance, HR, and other functions, as well. Clearly, Progress has designed a data tool whose time has come.

The one key remaining question is, “How will IT organizations regard Easyl from Progress?” An opportunity to work with end users hungry for Cloud data analysis? Or a threat to control and governance in data management? As a longtime data management wonk, I lean toward the opportunity Easyl provides for end users to combine and analyze Cloud data from multiple sources and for IT to work with them in building a well-managed data environment.

This blog was originally published at Saugatuck's Lens360 blog on December 2, 2013. Published with permission.