Businesses are increasingly adopting a data-driven culture. The significant surge in the volume of the exchanged data indicates that the trend is creating a paradigm shift – a shift from manufacturing to an information economy. To put this in perspective, Google processes petabyte of information by the hour, and The Economist recently declared data as the most valuable resource, even more than the oil.
“The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.”
But the true utility of any resource comes from its consumption or the value it delivers to the consumers. The same principle applies to data, which makes the process of data integration integral.
In this blog, we will discuss what is data integration and why is data integration important for a business. Lastly, we’ll explain how does business data integration work.
What is Data Integration?
Data integration is a process of combining data from different sources and presenting them in a consolidated, unified manner. This process becomes extremely important for businesses to gain faster time-to-value and improve business decisions. However, to gain maximum utility out of data, businesses must be able to (quickly and reliably) integrate incoming data from disparate sources and make that information available to the relevant stakeholders, both internally and externally.
Business Data Integration
A business needs a data integration tool to perform the task of integrating disparate sources efficiently. The process of data integration has many advantages for businesses across different industries, as it helps save time, money, and other resources.
A data integration tool can improve decision-making, lead to in-depth business insights, and improve enterprise performance in multiple business areas, such as facilitating vendor onboarding, mergers, and acquisitions, and presenting a customer 360-degree view for effective customer data integration.
Business Benefits of a Data Integration Software
The business benefits of a data integration tool that can help an enterprise optimize its current capabilities:
By improving business analytics
Business analytics is reliant on accurate data stored in the systems, but unfortunately, many businesses ingest data from heterogeneous sources, which ends up harming the integrity of data. Data integration solves this problem by combining, cleaning, and presenting information in a unified manner. It also helps protect the integrity of data along with allowing users to get a holistic understanding of their data.
By extracting data from structured and unstructured sources
Incoming data can be structured, semi-structured, poly-structured, or unstructured. For instance, text-based PDF files, PDF forms, and scanned PDF images are used as a medium for exchanging information by many organizations. But the data contained in PDF files is unstructured and is required to be extracted for crucial business decisions. A data integration tool can automate the data extraction process and integrate the extracted data with the internal systems for further processing and analysis.
By integrating data from hierarchical files
Integrating data from flat files is comparatively easier but business users face challenges when they try to extract, parse and integrate information from hierarchical data files such as XML, JSON, EDI, and COBOL. To perform hierarchical data integration, business users rely on IT, which increases the burden on them. A data integration tool can effectively bridge this gap between business executives and IT.
Learn how Astera Centerprise enables business users to work with hierarchical data, without the need for custom coding and programming, by downloading the whitepaper Hierarchical Data Integration for Business Users.
By making data readily available to business users
A data integration software with a code-less user-friendly interface and a comprehensive library of built-in functions can help limit the reliance on IT. It readily makes the data available to business users who can then work with the available information and get business insights without delay. Additionally, data integration tools can automate the ETL process, which eliminates the need for manual integration and significantly reduces the chances of errors.
The performance of a business is optimized when the executives are more focused on making critical business decisions rather than collecting and integrating the data.
By checking for data quality
A data integration tool cleanses, validates, and ensures the trustworthiness of the incoming data. Poor quality data can adversely affect business insights that can prove to be expensive for the business.
Overall, a data integration tool that simplifies the ETL process for the users is an investment that organizations should make to stay relevant in the current data-driven business environment. It can prove to be beneficial for the business in more than one way. By bridging the gap between IT and business executives, it helps in an efficient division of workload. It empowers business users to drive insights from the data by giving them prompt access to it. And when executives delegate the task of data integration and extraction to software, they can focus on more critical aspects of the business. The result is faster and more accurate business decisions, minimized costs, and increased revenue.
How Does Data Integration Work: Step by Step Process of Data Integration
A simple data integration process includes three basic steps:
- Data is ingested from multiple databases. The heterogeneous data doesn’t communicate with one another.
- The heterogeneous, disparate data is kept in a data warehouse, where it processes through predefined rules or schema. These pre-specified rules are meant to reconcile the different information stored in the database.
- The ruling schema offers business users to send queries in order to assist the various data sources.
Selecting the best enterprise-level data integration tool for your business can be challenging. To facilitate your decision-making process, we have listed all that you need to know about choosing the best data integration software for your enterprise and different data integration techniques.
Astera Centerprise is a complete data integration solution that provides the mentioned benefits to its users, and more. The user-friendly interface and visual drag-and-drop environment eliminate the need for manual scripting and enable business users to work with data without relying on IT. Contact Astera’s sales and support to get more information.