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Your competition is consistently ahead of you in sales and conversions. Is there any way to narrow the gap? It’s possible that they may know something you don’t.
They may have a better understanding of what the customer wants. Targeted marketing, effective sales funnels, and conversion rate optimization all lead to increased profits.
This information is available to you as well. Expand data collection and use an ETL tool to gather valuable insights. Sound complicated? Read on to learn more about ETL tools and how they can revolutionize your data handling.
Why You Need an ETL Tool
ETL tools simplify the process of working with data. Nearly any data set benefits from using ETL tools, but they are particularly beneficial when working with data that originates from different sources.
Your ETL tool extracts data from various sources. An ETL tool can pull data from both structured and unstructured formats and consolidate it for use.
Data can come from storage solutions, such as data warehouses and storage platforms, customer relationship management systems, cloud or on-site storage, and legacy systems.
This phase transforms the data, so it is compatible with its destination site. Transformation is several processes that standardize the data and ensure that it meets your company’s requirements. Expect the following to occur during the transformation process:
- Cleaning- This process fixes any missing values before sending them on.
- Standardize- Applies proper formatting across the entire data set.
- Deduplication- Pulls unnecessary data from the set.
- Verification- Flags issues that are not resolved through automation for review.
- Sorting- Organizes the data for ease of use.
- Additional Tasks- The best ETL tools allow you to apply personalized rules that make the data easier for you to use.
The data is loaded to its destination site. This site can be any application system, including a database or warehouse. You can choose to implement either full or incremental loading for your data.
Full loading loads the entire data set. This can create a large, difficult to manage the warehouse. The other option, incremental loading, compares new data with the information you have on hand. It only uploads unique content.
Benefits of the Best ETL Tools
Using ETL tools allows you to handle complex data more effectively, reduces errors, saves time, and improves results.
- Manage data. Depending on what you are working on, you can have a huge amount of data to deal with. It may come from different sources and in different formats. Rather than spending your day working through the data to ensure everything is compatible, use an ETL tool.
- Reduce errors. Each human interaction with the data increases the likelihood of errors. Any errors can ruin your data, but those introduced early in the process are particularly damaging.
- Save time. ETL tools automate data collection and consolidation, reducing the time needed to prepare it for processing.
- Improve results. After it passes through an ETL tool, you can be confident in your data quality: the better your data, the more accurate your results.
ETL Tools Comparison
There are a few different types of ETL tools. Companies using legacy systems often opt for an on-premise tool. The ETL tool deploys on-site. Both the storage and data are housed on-site as well.
Cloud-based ETL tools deploy in the cloud that you are using for your data. These tools allow more flexibility than on-premises options.
Some companies choose to cut costs by using a batch ETL tool. Handling the data in batches is a smart way to make the most of limited resources.
For data projects that require the most recent information available, real-time tools are the best choice. The data is processed as it moves into the system, providing quick access to the information you need.
Specialized ETL Tools
For general business needs, some business intelligence vendors now provide pre-built ETL models. If one of these models meets your needs, it can dramatically shorten the time it takes to begin creating reports.
There are one-size-fits-all ETL tools, but choosing a customized solution improves the quality of your data. Marketing data, for example, benefit from specialized reports that pull both ad and keyword information.
ETL tool services like Improvado are designed for individuals and businesses who work in marketing. The plug-and-play design allows customization without the need for coding. While it works great with Tableau or Looker, it has a customization dashboard as well.
ETL tools specifically designed to handle marketing data also allow for the compilation of all marketing data in one spot, in real-time. From there, it is easy to create custom metrics to measure performance. Marketing professionals can dramatically reduce the amount of time they spend building reports with a quality ETL tool.
Make sure that any ETL tool you choose allows for data profiling. This is an important part of ensuring you have quality data. Data profiling allows you to audit the data before using it to check that it meets both technical and business rules.
Data manipulation is often required when working with data sets. Your ETL tool should support this manipulation, allowing you to manipulate records both inside and outside the database. This allows you to standardize the format of data that comes from different sources.
Where To Store Your Data
After running your data through an ETL tool, you will need a spot for storage. Cloud-based storage has several advantages over physical storage and is often the best choice for businesses.
The cost of cloud storage is often a significant benefit when compared to physical storage. With no hardware to purchase or maintain, the cloud is generally the more affordable option.
Security is another reason to make a move to cloud storage. Cloud operators add their own security to the service and understand that keeping their client’s data safe is the key to their success.
Access is always a concern with data. Cloud storage allows you to access your data anywhere, as long as you can get online.
Cloud storage is also ideal for data that you are continually working with and updating. Changes are automatically synced, ensuring you always use the latest version of the data set.
Finally, cloud storage makes a recovery from computer malfunctions less of an issue. With the latest version of your work on the cloud, you can restore your data and quickly be back up and running.
What To Look for in Cloud Storage
When choosing where to store your data, you want security, reliability, speed, and cost. How you balance the four is determined by your goals and budget. Working with your cloud storage host to find the best product for your situation requires you to know what you want and be up-front about your needs.
- Security- Look for a cloud service that offers more than encryption. You share the cloud with other businesses and individuals, and everyone’s information must be kept secure.
- Reliability- With your data stored on the cloud, it is important that you can access it as needed. Ask for past reliability data before making your choice.
- Speed- Several things can affect the speed when working with your data on the cloud. The amount of data being transferred, your network capabilities, and resource utilization all factor into the speed.
- Cost- Be upfront about your needs when shopping for a solution. A usage, storage, and additional services all affect the cost of your service. It is important to compare service features directly when assessing costs.
Another factor you should consider when selecting a storage solution is how much help they provide. If you don’t have an IT team at your disposal, you want to be sure the folks hosting your data are readily available to answer questions and walk you through problems.
Ask what type of customer support they offer and different options for different customer levels. Also, take some time to review the documentation and FAQ page. That can help prompt concerns or questions you may have before signing on with a provider.
Using Cloud Storage With Your ETL Tool
Data storage is an important part of working with data sets. Once you find an ETL tool that works for your business and a cloud storage solution, you may wonder how to join the two.
Using a data warehouse as a service product allows you to quickly and easily push your data to the storage solution. The process is no more involved than logging into the system, and your data will be transformed and ready to use.
Staying Up To Date With Your Technology Needs
Data gathering and use are only going to increase. As more data is collected, the methods used to refine and transform it will do so. Selecting the best ETL tool for your business allows you to process and use data effectively.
For more of the latest on data and other technical issues, visit this site’s technology category.