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What's the problem with hand-coding scripts for data integration, anyway?

Many people use hand-coding for data integration, but some experts say it's a flawed approach and recommend software, instead. Is hand-coding data integration scripts that bad?

Chances are, your company uses hand-coding for data integration somewhere in the organization. That's because hand-coding is the most common approach to data integration at most companies, according to analysts and user surveys. Many people hand-code data integration scripts successfully, delivering large projects with no problems at all.

Yet, some experts say hand-coding for data integration is a bad idea. They cite potential problems with repeatability, audibility and human errors. Instead, many suggest using data integration software, which requires additional time, training and money, but offers some measurable benefits. But, is it really worth it to invest in data integration software -- when hand-coding works perfectly well for so many? called on expert Rick Sherman to ask, "What's the problem with hand-coding scripts for data integration, anyway?" Sherman, who has hand-coded data integration scripts himself, offers his frank insight and advice in this 20-minute podcast, appropriate for technical and business professionals.

Listeners will:

  • Find out why hand-coding is still the most prevalent method for data integration and learn its benefits and drawbacks
  • Learn more about alternatives to hand-coding -- data integration software tools and platforms, which span a wide range of price-points and functionality
  • Hear how to make a business case for data integration software, which can be challenging if your organization is used to no-cost, hand-coded approaches
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What's the problem with hand-coding scripts for data integration, anyway?

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About the speaker: Rick Sherman is the founder of Athena IT Solutions, a Stow, Mass.-based consulting firm that provides data warehouse and business intelligence consulting, training and vendor services. Sherman has almost 20 years of data warehousing and decision-support systems experience, having built his first data warehouse and data mart in 1987. He has been designing and implementing relational databases for decision-support systems for years and has worked on more than 50 data warehouse and data mart implementations across many industry groups, sourcing data from a variety of business applications. Sherman writes about data management topics for a variety of publications, speaks at industry events and serves as a judge for industry awards. He is a frequent contributor and data management expert at He can be found blogging at The Data Doghouse and can be reached at Read all of Sherman's contributions to here.


For more on data integration:

Check out our data integration All in One Guide, a tutorial with learning resources, articles and case studies

Find out more about hand coding vs. data integration software in this article

Discover more about the top real-time data integration methods

Read the leaders and buying advice in an article about Gartner's Magic Quadrant for data integration software

Listen to another podcast with Rick Sherman about data integration and service-oriented architecture

Dig Deeper on Enterprise data integration (EDI) software

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