February 19, 2014, 4:32 PM — Informatica hopes to save business analysts time by allowing them to build their own queries and reports, without requiring the IT department to do all the assembly work.
Borrowing from agile programming methodology, the newly released Informatica PowerCenter 9.6 "allows business analysts to do virtual integration of data quickly so they can see the results," said Todd Goldman, Informatica vice president and general manager of enterprise data integration. "The whole development process is accelerated as a result."
Informatica predicts that use of this new approach can speed the delivery of business analysis products such as reports and dashboards by five times.
With this new release, a business analyst can connect to the data sources directly from his or her Web console, and build a working prototype of the desired product.
The analyst can pull specific data columns of interest, using the software's data virtualization capabilities to merge multiple sources of data. The software will present to the analyst a prototype with the data included, allowing the analyst to make additional changes. Only when the analyst has finished designing the work product is it sent to the developers to finalize.
"It allows the data analysts to do virtual integration quickly, and see the results. When they pass it off to the developers they know they are getting exactly what they expected," Goldman said.
Goldman noted with earlier versions of Informatica, development could take time because business analysts had no way of viewing the results from the specifications they provided to developers.
As a result, the analyst wouldn't get to see the end product until the developer had finished the design. If anything needed to be changed -- such as adding another column -- the analyst would have to task the developer with further modification.
The new approach reduces this back and forth between the analyst and the developer.
"Business analysts are able to self-correct earlier in the process because they can see the results up-front," Goldman said.
Informatica has offered this prototyping capability before through a combination of two add-on products, namely the company's ETL (extract, transform and load) software, and its data visualization product. Informatica PowerCenter 9.6, which is the core Informatica data integration product, now offers this capability natively.
The Informatica 9.6 suite offers a number of other new capabilities as well.
The company's Informatica Data Quality software provides a new way to handle dirty data, which is to say data that has not been formatted correctly. Dirty data may include, for instance, a person's name that was not capitalized.