Navigate the data integration product buying process

Last updated:July 2016

Editor's note

Data integration is more critical than ever. Organizations are dealing with massive volumes of data that need to be integrated and translated into meaningful business insight. To simplify this process, they're turning to commercial data integration platforms. 

In this buyer's guide, author and data management expert Rick Sherman examines how the functionality of packaged data integration platforms has evolved beyond just extract, transform and load. Organizations that had previously shied away from data integration tools because of their cost and complexity now realize the benefits of this advanced technology.  

Today's data integration tools not only enhance user productivity and integration flexibility, but they also provide capabilities for application integration, cloud-based integration, real-time integration, data virtualization, data cleansing and data profiling. This software can handle on-premises and cloud data as well as structured and semi-structured information such as system logs, text and other forms of big data

To help you determine your data integration product needs, this buyer's guide examines several business scenarios that demonstrate how other companies are using these tools. Whether your organization wants to integrate data from several sources to enable business intelligence and analytics applications or it needs to migrate, consolidate or convert data from one application to another, software exists to simplify the process. In many cases, there are specialized data integration tools that augment general-purpose tools to cleanse or enrich data. 

Selecting a data integration tool isn't about buying the tool with the most features, but rather the tool or tools that best meet your list of requirements, budget and skills. To help you navigate through the technology selection process, this buyer's guide compares the leading data integration products on the market so you can match the features of these tools to your specific needs.  

1Knowing when you need a data integration tool

Determining whether your organization should invest in data integration technology is no small feat, and you need to have your facts in order before you can approach management with your findings. How can this software meet your needs and add value to your organization? Will it simplify the process of sharing all of the data you've amassed? We answer these questions by examining several common and special use-case scenarios for data integration platforms.

2Considerations for buying data integration software

With so many different data integration products to choose from, where do you start? It isn't about the product that has the most features, but rather the product or combination of tools with the features that best align with your organization's needs. Here we help you sort through the various features to determine which are absolutely necessary.

3Which data integration tool is right for your business?

You've determined that your site needs data integration software, and you've prioritized your must-have features. Now it's time to examine the leading vendors and what each offers so you can create a shortlist of products to evaluate.

4Data integration products that can help your organization

Here we take an in-depth look at the leading data integration products offered today, as well as the factors that differentiate them from one another.