I work with the solution architects at Adeptia to respond to requests for proposals, and due to the holistic nature of our Adeptia Integration Suite, we field the entire gamut of integration-related questions. When it comes to ETL RFPs, in particular, I’ve noticed that there are a few questions that I would expect to see but very rarely do. In fact, I'm surprised at how many requests don't ask the questions that I would consider significant when evaluating ETL software. My prediction is that very soon these questions will be on every single RFP. For now, though, here are the top three ETL RFP questions that prospects should be asking but hardly ever do.
Many RFPs include questions about orchestrating system-to-system automation, but I rarely get a question that looks into long-running human workflows that would allow, for example, stakeholders to be automatically notified in the event of an exception and provided access to both handle the exception and restart the automation. Without human workflow capability, errors & exceptions rack up delays and added expenses. Automation is the key to business efficiency, and process-based human workflow significantly reduces operational costs by eliminating manual exception-handling processes.
The days of ETL platforms designed entirely to be used by engineers are rapidly coming to an end. As business users strive to become more self-sufficient, businesses now need a two-fold ETL solution that allows users to access data quickly and independently while IT monitors and secures the activity. This model of accessible data results in huge increases in productivity, efficiency and cost savings across the business. I've mentioned before that in the very near future, business user access to data will be determined in real-time by using a self-service “service gate” that opens and closes with the right key combination based on use case, role and identity. Right now, though, many companies aren't thinking about it, let alone asking for it.
Since they don’t seem to be asking about it, I assume that many companies underestimate the value of a completely web-based environment for designers, developers and business users. If an ETL solution is web-based, there is no requirement to download or install the software, and users can easily access the ETL solution from any internet-connected device anywhere. Furthermore, a web-based user interface allows for greater collaboration between business and IT as well as centralized ETL reporting & management, which ultimately saves an organization a ton of time & money over the long haul.
Hopefully, it will only be a matter of time before these questions are included in every RFP. As more and more companies compare and contrast the ETL tools in market today, they will better understand the enormous potential and make questions like these a strategic priority.
For more articles on ETL technology, check out:
Just Shoot Me Now: I’ve Been Assigned To Do Another ETL Tools Comparison
Why Your Current ETL Tools Are Just A House Of Cards