Joe is a data integration specialist at a local grocery chain. An important part of his job includes consolidating customer data from on-ground and online sources on to a data warehouse every week. He often has to wait for hours when one of the data sources has incoming data due to more footfall or web traffic, especially during the holidays. This not only delays his work but also leads to delays in reporting. Delayed reporting means delayed forecasting/visualizations, and therefore roadblocks in decision making. It’s a dominoes game.
Worldwide public data storage is going to exceed 175 zettabytes in 2020. Of this data, 60 percent is going to be in the data centers, and 40 percent is going to be in the cloud. Unstructured data comprises 70 percent of this total data and it is growing at a much faster rate, according to data analysts. What is interesting to note is that enterprises are falling far behind in getting benefits from all this data.
The reason is simple: most of them are not ready to embrace the data-driven evolution. Almost 70% of companies don’t have the right tools to get relevant insights from all the data that is available to them. They cite multiple reasons for this problem and the major one is the ‘processes’ that these companies have in place. This is what 93 percent of the respondents say in a survey by Harvard Business Review (HBR). Most companies are using processes they had set up decades ago.
What they require are tools that can blend into the current processes because overhauling the enterprise structure can cost millions and not to forget disruption in operations.
A number of data automation, integration, and analysis tools are available nowadays to help enterprises mitigate this data challenge. These tools are well-equipped to solve the problems posed by disparate systems and reduce the work for IT departments.
Solving Customer Data Integration Problem with Automation
Let’s learn how these solutions are solving the customer data integration problem for organizations worldwide.
Integrating Key Systems
Every company wants their sales and marketing data to be linked together so that they can see how much effort was put in to bring a certain number of profits.
CRM, customer data management, or marketing automation software alone don’t offer the complete picture. All of these are hard to integrate without the right number of connectors. Moreover, the data from these systems need to be added manually because there is no automation available.
Astera Centerprise, one of the best data integration platforms, has a solution to this problem. It can help companies integrate their data from disparate systems like CRM, marketing automation tools, and analytics software on a single platform with the help of built-in connectors. Moreover, it allows the companies to refine the data through built-in transformations, and make the data ready for OLAP. These operations no longer need to be managed by dedicated resources, because Centerprise offers workflow automation.
Reducing Cost at Scale
Managing dozens of disparate systems is not the job of a single person. Mapping, cleansing, validating, and loading data for business intelligence requires multiple resources. A single IT resource costs around $50,000/year minimum. If you have over a dozen systems, you would require around two such resources or maybe even more. It all comes down to how soon you want your data to be integrated. The salary of two integration experts can cost you $100,000 in yearly costs.
Solutions like Astera Centerprise have found a workaround for this. It allows data-centric companies to map data using its platform. Each mapping can then be turned into a workflow that can be automated through job scheduling. Let’s say a company requires weekly data for BI from 20 disparate sources. Centerprise’s workflow automation feature can do that within minutes. It can be scheduled to start after an interval or when an event is detected, such as an email or a file drop.
Data integration software tools like these can reduce the cost of enterprise companies significantly.
Streamlining Tedious Processes
Suppose a pothole repair department has data coming from multiple sources. Coordinates from user’s mobiles, location data on social media, images with coordinates using Google maps through emails and messages, and data in various formats from Bing maps, Wikimapia, and Apple Maps. The coordinates from each application are in a different format and the team has to unify all of them on a single database so that their engineers can plan their work accordingly.
This data requires thorough cleansing. 70 to 80 percent of data is in an unstructured format and it requires modeling before it can be moved to the warehouse. Data cleansing takes almost six hours from the team every day and that figure continues to rise because of the ongoing development work.
This is one area where a tool like Astera Centerprise can come in handy. It offers features like report modeling, filter and join transformations, normalization, and data validation capabilities. By employing Centerprise, the agency can unify multiple streams of data into a single stream.
First, the user can map data sources using data flow. At the same time, unstructured data can be modeled using Centerprise’s report modeling feature. Each coordinate can be standardized using normalization and to make sure that the data is in the right format, data validation features can be used.
Finally, this workflow can be automated with job scheduling. Each job can be triggered to run on an event such as an email message, an SMS alert, or through slow changing dimensions (SCD). Streamlining processes and improving resource productivity is now as simple as it can be.
Extract Insights & Forecast Growth
ETL teams first extract data, prepare it, and then load it on to a data warehouse. Now business intelligence teams use this data for visualization and to extract relevant insights. They use various regression models such as time series modeling, predictive analysis, linear and logistic regression on various data points to forecast the company’s growth and make recommendations.
The whole process can take days at an end. Delayed results can cause delayed decisions, which directly hit the company’s bottom line. Improving this efficiency is a need of the hour for many enterprises that want to outdo their competitors.
With Astera Centerprise, you can reduce this delay to a minimum. Centerprise offers data extraction from disparate data sources, a staging area for data preparation, workflow automation for automating the whole process, and data connectors for leading BI tools that allow regression modelling.
Start Solving Customer Data Integration Problems
Because of the outburst of big data, automation at scale has become a critical component in any business’s growth. Centralizing workflow automation as part of IT operations not only reduces costs but also improves efficiency and lessens the burden of the IT staff. Start exploring Astera Centerprise features and see how it can fix your data integration challenges.