We\u2019ve just wrapped up tax season in the United States and much of Europe. We all know that dealing with taxes can be a complicated and frustrating process, especially for those who have their own businesses or generate investment income. Though we know who\u2019s paying your income taxes this April (sorry to rub it in: it\u2019s you), we have to ask: Who\u2019s paying your data integration tax?\n\nData integration tax is a term used to describe the hidden costs associated with integrating data solutions to process your data from disparate sources and for different needs. As the amount of data generated by organizations continues to grow, many organizations end up with multiple point solutions to get the full range of capabilities from data streaming to engineering to machine learning. And to get from data to insight and value, you need to effectively manage data across the full data lifecycle. Though you may call the stages of the lifecycle by different names, it all comes down to having the ability to collect, enrich, report, serve, and model all that data.\n\nWhile point solutions can be very effective for solving a specific data process and can provide quick time to value, be wary of the data integration tax you\u2019ll have to pay later. The integration tax should be factored into the total potential return on investment (ROI), and integrating all these point solutions can be complex, time-consuming, and costly.\n\n\u201cThe data integration tax can take many forms, including the cost of hiring skilled professionals to manage the integration process, the time and effort required to refine data for integration, and the cost of implementing and maintaining integration technologies,\u201d said Wim Stoop, director, product marketing for Cloudera.\n\nAnother factor to consider is risk. Without a high level of expertise across all areas of integration, you risk compromising security, governance, and compliance. It\u2019s like an audit by the tax office for a shoddy tax filing. And if you\u2019re in finance, healthcare, or the public sector you face a higher level of compliance considerations, making the cobbling together of point solutions an even more precarious endeavor.\n\nSo, what can you do to reduce your data integration tax?\n\nYou may consider outsourcing the data integration process to a third-party provider. This can help to reduce the time and effort required to manage the integration process, while also providing access to skilled professionals with experience in integrating data from a variety of sources. But, that comes with a price tag.\n\nYou can also consider reducing your point solution stack. Moving away from multiple point solutions to a vendor who can do it all means doing away with integration tax entirely \u2013 and you can rest safe in the knowledge that the security layer is up to code.\n\n\u201cRather than point solutions, choose the tax-free option of an end-to-end platform that comes ready-integrated out of the box. It delivers tremendous cost savings, reduces risk, and lets you focus on driving value fast,\u201d said Stoop.\n\nAnother approach is cultural: Work from a centralized data strategy that captures the needs of all teams across the enterprise, rather than having all teams disparately decide what to do with their data. Establish strong governance with standards for data formats and structures across the organization. This can help to reduce the time and effort required to map and transform data, while also improving the consistency and quality of the integrated data. With this proactive approach to planning governance, you can know and understand all your data and make it available in a safe and compliant manner to those that need it.\n\nAnd, just like there are tax havens, there are integration tax havens. Enter Cloudera Data Platform (CDP).\n\nCDP is the only hybrid data platform to help you manage data anywhere \u2013 on-prem and in any cloud \u2013 across the full data lifecycle. With an end-to-end solution, you can deliver more data projects with faster time to value, better ROI, and optimize cloud costs. It\u2019s one platform to cover your full data lifecycle, fully integrated for security and governance with SDX, Cloudera\u2019s built-in security layer to ensure you enjoy stronger governance, consistent risk mitigation, and continuous innovation with data.\n\nThough unfortunately, we can't help you with your income tax, we can give you a break on the data integration tax.\n\nLearn more about CDP.