With data integration activities remaining a key part of an organization's BI initiative, and in some cases seen as a necessary headache, companies may start to look for alternative ways to utilize and even integrate their data. Until recently, I didn't think that many, if any, alternatives existed. Using DataWatch as an example, it seems as if organizations can manage the process of transferring their current data into actionable information without traditional data integration. DataWatch mines operational reports and the like to transform that data into reports that can be sliced and diced and used as a source of business intelligence.
Although not necessarily the way to go if the intention is to develop an overall data management and data governance initiative, the ability to access output files instead of source system data offers organizations an alternative to ETL activities. In terms of data quality, the assumption in this case is that report data is clean, and if it is not, then it is a good idea to implement some sort of quality control for input processes. Either way, accessing information that is already available and building models to exploit that data is already popular among DataWatch's many customers and may become more so as smaller companies look for ways to expand their reach into BI.