Building your data integration strategy
A real-world example of how AON applied Roger Martin’s strategic principles for data integration success.
Building Your Data Integration Strategy
In this article, we will take you on a journey, showing you how to craft your data integration strategy. Our goal is to empower you with the knowledge to navigate the complexities of data integration, paving the way for a future where data drives success.

The five questions to build a data integration strategy

Martin’s strategy model is based on five pivotal questions that help you create a roadmap for success. Applied to data integration, they might look like this:

  1. What is our vision for data integration success? And how do we know when it’s realized?
  2. Across the available playing field of data integration, where will we choose to play and not play?
  3. How will data integration help us beat our existing competitors?
  4. What data integration capabilities do we need to build and maintain to win in our chosen manner?
  5. What systems do we need to build and maintain these capabilities?

These inquiries serve as a guide for crafting a complete data integration strategy.

The first question makes us envision what success in data integration looks like and how we can measure it. The next question is about creating a data integration plan and making strategic choices on where to use and abstain within the vast data integration landscape. Question number three challenges us to think about how data integration can play a strategic role in surpassing existing competitors in our chosen domain. We also address the capabilities we will need and the systems required to sustain these capabilities. Altogether, these questions reveal potential pain points and provide a holistic approach to building a data integration strategy primed for success. 

StreamSets and your data integration strategy

In this blog, we’ll dive into a real-world example featuring Aon, a StreamSets customer. Aon’s journey with StreamSets illustrates how this partnership helps them tackle Roger Martin’s critical questions when crafting their data integration strategy. With StreamSets by their side, Aon was able to pinpoint exactly where to focus their efforts within the vast data integration landscape to align with their goals.

This alignment was key to their ability to create a global environment for handling proprietary data effortlessly, whether in batch processing or near real-time, which gives them a competitive edge and provides value to their clients. As we dive further into Aon’s story, we’ll see how implementing StreamSets offered the clarity and confidence necessary to navigate the complexity of data integration.

Aon’s hurdles resonate well with Roger Martin’s strategic questions: how to craft an effective data integration strategy, identify required platform capabilities, gain a competitive advantage, and where to play. Using StreamSets to facilitate isolated yet collaborative pipelines for multiple data engineering teams, Aon optimizes resource allocation and operational efficiency, aligning with its strategic goal to reduce costs and enhance scalability.

Additionally, Aon’s need for versatile connectors harmonizes with the question about the necessary data integration capabilities, as StreamSets empowers them with a diverse array of prebuilt connectors, enabling seamless data ingestion from a multitude of systems. Martin’s focus on beating existing competitors is also addressed as StreamSets promotes the democratization of data engineering.

Before leveraging StreamSets, Aon found itself in a bit of a predicament. They knew they needed a solution to gain competitive advantage, but the path forward was far from clear. Data acquisition for critical projects used to be a difficult task, taking months as teams navigated various procedures from project intake to tool procurement, database setup, and eventually getting to work. This convoluted process delayed various business goals, including innovation.

Implementing StreamSets solved their challenges in various ways. Their data ingestion process became much faster, and team onboarding streamlined down to just a few weeks. By eliminating the need for dedicated infrastructure, StreamSets also empowered their data engineers to quickly onboard new data sources. This improvement had a ripple effect, speeding up the time from brainstorming ideas to data exploration by data scientists and analysts. Leveraging StreamSets helped Aon devise a plan they desperately needed to execute their data integration strategy. 

Key takeaway

StreamSets helped Aon align with Roger Martin’s methodology. They gained strategic clarity by leveraging proprietary data, addressing Martin’s first pillar. They also streamlined data acquisition, reducing lead times (second pillar) and gaining competitive advantage (third pillar). The democratization of data engineering (fourth pillar) was achieved by implementing intuitive tools. Last but not least, StreamSets seamless integration within Aon’s operational environment addressed focusing on systems for maintaining capabilities (fifth pillar). StreamSets not only facilitated Aon’s data integration strategy but also highlighted how companies can apply Martin’s five pillars effectively.

Accelerate decision-making with analytics-ready data

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