What is data integration and why does it matter?
“Data” - A consolidation of valuable and useful records that is generated owing to a specific task or function.
Data is present everywhere, isn’t it? Almost every sector is rapidly upgrading over the technological front and data is one thing that businesses have started accumulating.
Although businesses have a wide range of data records on their business, they aren’t helpful due to the interoperability issues of the data. This interoperability problem is caused by siloed data acquired from various sources in various formats. It is evident that a business cannot acquire all the data in one common format, but what serves as the differentiator is the ability to bring together data of different formats into one.
However, bringing the data of different formats together cannot be done without a proper data integration tool.
Data integration is the process of bringing together data from different sources into one. Integration begins with the ingestion process where the consolidated data is loaded. This is followed by steps such as cleansing, mapping and transforming. As a whole, data integration is used to provide actionable business insights.
Data is integrated in almost every sector, say, finance, ecommerce, logistics, etc. The ultimate aim of integrating data is to study the business on a bigger note, to gain an in depth knowledge on their current strategies. Not only the strategies but also to get a 360 degree but a single view of the customers and their browsing patterns.
Most businesses gather data, but due to the lack of uniformity and due to siloed data formats, it is probably impossible to attain the best out of those data. In a few instances, data across multiple departments might not even reach other departments, they might only show up when all the data is integrated from different source platforms and departments into one. These issues are tackled by getting a single view of the customer or user by integrating all the business data.
This would result in an improved communication across all the departments of your business which leads to an improved operational quality and decision making ability. Studying these data would allow the business to address the quality check and also implement fixes on business loopholes.
Why data integration matters?
Integrating all the data helps your business on three basic but vital levels. Reduces the overall expenditure on data management, reduces the time invested on data consolidation and building a seamless customer experience.
See how data integration helps these three business factors,
Let’s take a look at a typical analytical use case here,
A business has been collecting data for a long period but haven’t been integrating their data. Without unified data, the business has to log into or gather data from multiple accounts, sites, applications in order to generate a simple report.
In many instances businesses might be having a number of touchpoints, say, few brick and mortars and also an online store. In this case, the warehouse might be one but there could be a number of outlets. In such instances, it is hard to keep track of the warehouse and also the outlets without any proper data ingestion tool, there might be a loss of contact between the demand and supply chain.
Conducting all these operations as efficiently as possible highlights the importance of data integration. It also showcases the major benefits of a well thought-out approach to data integration. This will have an exponential effect on the customer relationship aspect of a business.
Customers are well accustomed to the growing trends in the market, they are expecting touch points to remember them and their history with your business. With a well integrated CRM tool the regularity of customers can be studied which allows your business to show preferences to the returning customers and offer them discounts.
Without data integration, the employees would have to report the happenings every now and then in order to keep a tab on your business. Even if your employees maintain a perfect record of data, it would be a stern test for the business to study the analytics as they have to bring together data from various departments.
Most importantly, data integration saves time. Any business that invests in data integration ultimately aims to study their business and cut down the time spent on data consolidation and integration. This invariably reduces the hand coding time for integration and reduces the errors extensively.
The automation brought by data integration cuts out the need for manually gathering data, and employees no longer need to build connections from scratch whenever they need to run a report or build an application.
Why is your business unable to handle large data and what data integration does to it?
There are businesses which play with large magnitude of data, these data are very big, say, terabytes per second. Handling these large volumes could be a stern test but the actual test is handling millions of subdivisions of small data. Mighty internet companies like Facebook and Google face such issues as they handle billions of users and trillions of searches respectively. In such instances, it is impossible to ingest and read analytics on daily/hourly basis in spite having a tool. Sample records are the data that can be studied, which might not be accurate but gives an overall look.
The simplest of data visualization errors occur as various departments of business follow various formats of data. Say, the data of customers could be recorded haphazardly. Without data integration, the formats of data are not brought under one common format which would ultimately result in erroneous analytics.
All these integrated data are not for single use, the integration patterns and the consolidations can be used again and again. These data integrations can build a paradigm which lets you visualize your data and make vital decisions on the future of your business.
How sprinkle data can help you visualize your business analytics with data integration?
Data is worth nothing if they are just stacked up in the warehouse, they need to be extracted, transformed, loaded and visualized.
With Sprinkle’s data analytics tool, you would be able to seamlessly ingest your data and get search driven insights.
Let me brief you about the processes.
Sprinkle is a data management platform which allows you to visualize the bigger picture by ingesting your business’s data.
The volume of the data is directly proportional to the time consumed for ingestion. However, that’s not the case with Sprinkle, it allows you to ingest incrementally i.e. ingest as the data comes in which leads to real time operations
The first process involved is building a data table. In order to build a data table in Sprinkle, new data needs to be ingested from any database source like excel, csv, etc.
“Manage data”> “Data source” > “Add new data”,
The formats through which the data can be ingested will be listed down. These formats through which the data is ingested are brought together as a unified database structure called “Flows”. The data is given a new name, and thus the new data is created.
On creating new data, a new page pops up with three tabs
Access key, secret access key and region are the tabs that are to be filled in. After filling in these credentials, the data is created.
After the configuration process, the stream name is selected which leads to the creation of table.
Run and schedule:
The table’s success or failure is determined here, if it succeeds, the data is ingested at this point.
Explores tab is accessed to begin with the scripting process. All these processes are carried out with the minimal of command scripts as per the need of the users.
After the complete ingestion process, analytics can be seen in terms of google-like searches in the dashboard. The search queries can be put forth with respect to Dimensions, Date Dimension and Measurements.
The data integration process is what allows big businesses maintain order in terms of customers, net spend and time invested. This extensively reduces the technical work made by the experts on the data integration process which involves a lot of scripting when done manually.
Sprinkle provides a platform to upgrade your business’s data handling practices and get the best out of the gathered data.