Integration fails users' data deadlines

Few CIOs are able to meet the deadlines for corporate data availability and most are struggling to integrate core applications.

According to integration software firm InterSystems' 2003 Australian Integration Survey conducted at CIO Magazine's annual conference in September, a third of organisations (32 per cent) had adopted or are implementing an EAI (enterprise application integration) project or EAI technologies. Just over a third (34 per cent) were in the planning stages of EAI, or had it on their wish list.

The survey, which canvassed 170 delegates, also showed that most respondents are only mildly satisfied with the industry's ability to meet their needs for information integration.

The top three drivers for EAI projects were to manage knowledge or mine data (53 per cent), to reduce cost through better access to information (47 per cent) and to improve the ROI on existing IT applications (44 per cent).

However, just over two thirds (63 per cent) of CIOs and IT managers canvassed said they met fewer than 60 per cent of information requests from the business within the necessary time frame.

More than three quarters of CIOs said over 40 per cent of their corporate information needs to be available for secure, robust and scalable integration within the business.

More than half of them said 60 per cent needs of information needs to be available. Only 11 per cent of the group said they'd achieved that goal.

Half the respondents said the biggest barriers to successfully integrating their systems were implementation costs (36 per cent) or the cost of maintaining systems (18 per cent). The other major problem was resource constraints with 35 per cent of CIOs saying they lacked internal resources and 23 per cent saying they needed additional expertise.

On average the respondents had 10 permanent IT staff specialising in the manipulation of data between systems. Around 18.5 per cent of IT personnel within Australian companies were dedicated to this work.

InterSystems' Australia's managing director Denis Tebbutt said business requests for integration projects cannot always be met because of the time it takes for IT to develop an application from an integration perspective. "Also, it takes some time to make several projects live at one time," he said.

Tebbutt said enterprises are rethinking the role of the CIO, with most of these executives having to re-skill themselves as a 'CXO' - that is one that can align IT and business.

"CEOs in Australia have a clear understanding now that CIOs and business managers are sitting on a very big asset within the business: information. So [information] must be managed and integrated properly within the organisation for the business to use it to meet their business goals," he said.

The survey also found 60 per cent of organisations were developing composite or object-oriented technologies (combining functionality from existing applications with new business logic) over relational integration technologies.

Respondents were from 149 large and medium-size companies in the government, manufacturing, financial services, technology and other industries.

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