If you are simply “lifting and shifting” data from one place to another, you are missing out on the power that a data integration platform can bring you. It is time to look beyond extract, transfer, load (ETL) from individual source systems, and expand your integrations to include multi-source joins that enable you to see across source systems. Don’t just move data, integrate it!
Data integration is more than moving data from source to target systems. It is part of the greater data value chain that transforms raw source data into information and actionable insights that help drive decisions and operational processes. Like any other value chain, each step in the process moves the data one step closer to consumption by transforming it in ways that add value to the end-user. One might argue that moving data into a centralized repository, or a downstream database adds value. Yes, it does, and if all you have is essentially a “data fork-lift,” this may be the best you can do. If you have a true data integration platform like Actian DataConnect, you can do a whole lot more (and you should).
A data integration platform, like Actian DataConnect, gives you a powerful set of tools at your fingertips to help you not just move data from one system to another but integrate it along the way. You might be familiar with the ability to create SQL like inner, outer, left and right joins within a database, but did you know you can access data from multiple source systems in the same query? The DataConnect Studio IDE was recently re-engineered with regards to how joins are implemented, taking advantage of the ability to leverage multiple source connections in your queries.
With DataConnect Studio, you can build integrations that span multiple data sources, reconciling them together into a unified output set in the target system. Let’s consider where you might want to do this.
Analytics and Reporting
By merging data across source systems earlier in the data value chain, you can normalize your data into a canonical data model that is easier for your analysts and business users to understand. This means they can spend less time finding data and more time interpreting data to determine its relevance to your business.
Customer-facing systems, whether they be on a website or a mobile app, should provide a consistent and simple interface to users. Multi-source joins in your data queries enable you to combine data from different systems, so your users get a high-quality experience without having to deal with whatever complexity is taking place behind the scenes.
Any company that has tried to develop a 360-degree view of its customers knows that the data comes from many different source systems. Actian DataConnect enables you to join data from different customer records and transactional systems to give you the big picture perspective you are looking for.
Many companies are integrating IoT devices, mobile apps, and embedded sensors into their operations processes. The multi-source join capability can enable you to leverage data from different types of monitoring devices and more easily reconstruct the virtual process flows that your operations staff need to monitor your operations.
Data in motion is one of the best times to perform integration. If you are going to merge data at rest, you either have to copy data into a merged table, or you create views and don’t really integrate the Data until later in the data value chain – your options are limited. When you are moving data, you have the opportunity to transform it – changing data structures, summarizing, categorizing, and aggregating data from different sources. Each time data moves, you should be seeking ways to make it even more valuable for your organization.