I was never the cool kid in school, which is clear when you consider that I’ve blogged about data warehousing, master data management, data governance, and now ODBC (Open Database Connectivity). Why ODBC, then? Well the rise of SaaS application adoption is signaling the end to the implementation of monolithic ERPs. In many respects this bodes well for the business user. It also, however, introduces some significant challenges, namely the fracturing of business processes across systems and increasing data fragmentation within environments of explosive data creation. This unprecedented situation packs a powerful punch to the already complex data management threats and practices of most medium to large size enterprises.

According to Ventana Research, 71% of businesses gather data from more than six sources, and 23% use more than 20 sources. And it’s not just the size and number of sources that make data complex.  Structure, level of detail, query languages and growth rate are just a few additional factors that lead to increasing data complexity.

Individual applications might be less complicated and easier to use, but assembling data for comprehensive reporting is exponentially more complex and more difficult to govern and control than it ever was in the past.  IT teams need to be able to interface with dozens of applications all with their own APIs and query language dialects.

Custom BI applications connecting to any Data SourceThere is light at the end of the complexity tunnel. No surprise here, since you know the title of the blog post, that the light is shining on ODBC.

ODBC came about to create a standardized method to access the many relational databases of the day. The use of an ODBC driver rationalizes all the various SQL dialects to a common denominator. This enables portability of query capabilities across data sources. Today, the problem is much worse. We’re looking at an explosion of BigData, SQL, NoSQL, SaaS/Cloud sources and more.  Fortunately, ODBC can speak to these sources as well.

To learn more about the merits of standardized access to myriad data sources, read our RStudio case study and how RStudio empowers its end users to overcome the challenges of data access so they can seamlessly connect with any database and other disparate data sources.

Now, that’s pretty cool!