Speaker Spotlight Column: John Zur on Platform as a Service

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edw2013-speaker-spotlightby Charles Roe

DATAVERSITY™ recently interviewed John Zur, the Enterprise Development Manager at Brady Corporation. John will be giving a session at the Enterprise Data World 2014 Conference in Austin, Texas from April 27 – May 1, 2014. His session is titled “Taking Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) Beyond Cloud Integration.”

The Speaker Spotlight Column (and its parallel venture the Sponsor Spotlight Column) is an ongoing project that focuses on highlighting several of the central issues represented at the many Data Management conferences produced by DATAVERSITY.

The primary emphasis of the interview was to question John Zur on his work and history within the industry, with particular importance on his presentation at the upcoming conference:

DATAVERSITY (DV): What are you going to discuss during your session at EDW14, and what will the audience gain from attending your talk? (Please be specific about one or two issues you’ll be addressing and the benefits the audience will obtain).

John Zur (JZ): We’ll talk about Brady Corporation, our manufacturing business and what issues we were grappling with that led us to the Cloud and to integration platform as a service to support application and data integration needs.

DV: What is really important about such a topic in terms of the current state of Data Management and / or how the industry going to transform moving into the future?

JZ: For many organizations, similar to ours, performing integrations using on-premise ESB solutions over the last decade has been critical to expand and service sales channels. We have a small development team and strong Java & .Net development capabilities. The adoption of Cloud brought a new set of challenges and we needed to scale our team, speed our capabilities and adopt new skills.  We leverage a wide range of Cloud-based services that feed back into our centralized ERP system.

DV: Please tell us a little about yourself and your history in the industry, past work experience, and how you got started in the data profession?

JZ: My first exposure to the data profession was in local government.  I worked with data ranging from property and geographical data to financial records.  This data was shared across a variety of government services.  We used traditional relational databases and ETL tools.  I gained additional respect for Data Management at Assurant Health.   As an enterprise architect, I was exposed to the challenges faced by a multi-business financial firm.  Next, I worked at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin where I was exposed to the world of HL7 and the other side of health insurance.  Currently, I’m working at Brady Corporation leveraging EDI, XML, and JSON for data communication between both on-premises and cloud based platforms.

DV: What is the biggest challenge happening in your particular area of Data Management at this time?

JZ: While we kept our core ERP solution centralized, we expanded our services via Cloud-based CRM and eCommerce platforms.  Leveraging new technologies meant that we had to support a decentralized set of platforms.  Each on-premises and Cloud-based platform has its own integration capabilities.  We needed to expand our integration platform without growing our development team.  We needed to have access to the latest integration features without creating a support structure for maintaining a new on-premises platform.

DV: How is such a change influencing your job?

JZ: Our development team spent less time developing integration solutions and more time integrating systems.  Our team spends less time upgrading the integration platform.  Our team spends less time working around technology gaps.

DV: How have your job, and / or the work you are doing at your organization, altered in the past 12 months? How do you expect it will change in the next 1-2 years?

JZ: We spend more time fixing inconsistent data and less time building connections between systems.  We see more systems moving to the Cloud in the next two years.  We see more integrations requiring JSON in the next two years.

DV: Are there any other emerging technologies you predict will affect your job function in the future?

Answer:   Likely, there will be new distribution channels.  They will likely be driven by Cloud-based solutions. 

DV: What’s your favorite “Data” or “Data Management” quote?

JZ: All the innovative technology “solutions” in the world including very good things like Data Warehouse, Object-Oriented, Client-Server, Parallel Processing, etc., etc. serve only to help build more “legacy” faster. – John A. Zachman



DV: How do you explain what you do for work, at a cocktail party, or to your grandparents?

JZ: I work on a team that helps connect sites like to our order fulfillment system.


If you are interested in attending John’s session at EDW2014, please see the conference schedule at:

His session is on Tuesday, April 29th at 10.15am.

About Enterprise Data World:
Enterprise Data World is the business world’s most comprehensive educational event about data and information management. Over five days, EDW presents a diverse schedule of programming that addresses every level of proficiency, including keynotes, workshops, tutorials, case studies, and discussions.

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