That’s interesting. I’ve been using SSIS and BODI for quite a while and my experience is exactly the opposite. I found that doing the easiest or simplest of things in SSIS would take quite some effort.
For instance, just to grab a table from a source system, perform some transformations and enrich the data by adding some attribute columns (populated through lookups) is literally done within a few minutes in Data Service XI. Even less if I don’t stop for coffee on the way … doing so in SSIS just takes a lot more time - mostly because of its user interface.
While SSIS can be quite powerful and can yield excellent performance in an all Microsoft environment, its user interface or the entire user experience rather is extremely underdeveloped. It seems to be that 90% of the development time went into building the SSIS platform and framework, integrating T-SQL with .NET and it wasn’t until 2 days before delivery that someone realized that the thing needed an interface.
Data Integrator has always excelled in its ease of use - it may not be the most powerful tool, but it certainly is one of the easiest ETL tools to work with. I have worked with Informatica PowerCenter and while Informatica PowerCenter is one of the fastest and most powerful ETL tools out there, it has a steep learning curve and even 8.6 isn’t free from some very annoying issues either.
I am currently part of a large scale ERP project where Data Services is deployed as a data migration and cleansing tool - utilizing an array of Data Integrator and Data Quality transformations. (It’s a very large global company so we’re talking truckloads of data that will need to be analyzed, cleaned and migrated into SAP).
Several ETL tools were evaluated, including SSIS+SSRS and Wherescape Red, both were already owned by the client - but Data Services XI won hands down. Not only did it had all the functionality required, I was able to get an evaluation environment up and running very quickly - within an hour, I was already coaching some of the business analysts to work with BODS and the Profiler … and with some days of coaching, the BA team is happily using Data Services to move data into a seperate repository, use Profiler to analyze data quality and data problems and creating Data Validation workflows to sort out bad from good data etc.
And these weren’t ETL, BI or DW people - just BA’s with some good SQL and some light VBA scripting knowledge (from using Excel). To me, that is an unquestionable statement as to how easy Data Services is to use and much attention Acta and BusinessObjects have given the user interface and overall user experience.
ErikR (BOB member since 2007-01-10)