Our main points:
- Of all the advantages of data integration, the greatest is the combination of all data from multiple, unconnected sources into one complete database.
- There are many methods of data integration, but one of the most common is ETL, or Extract, Transform, and Load.
- Companies need data to make business decisions. A strong data warehouse can handle data analysis.
- The best data warehouses work from multiple data sources and can analyze vast amounts of data.
- Data, both historical and current, once accessed within the warehouse, can improve an Ecommerce business’s operations and processes, help decision-makers spot trending items, and help predict future business revenue.
For any business, there are multiple advantages of data warehouse integration. For instance, it’s the primary source of Business Intelligence (BI). Some of the most common reasons why an organization chooses to warehouse data include:
- Prompt access
- High data quality
- Reliable data
- Little to no redundancy
- Better decisions
- Less time investment
- …and so much more.
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Table of Contents
- What are Data Warehouses?
- When Should You Utilize a Data Warehouse?
- What Kinds of Data Warehouses Exist?
- Data Warehouse Integration Defined
- Tools and Tips for Data Integration
- Advantages of Data Warehouse Integration
- Data Warehouse Integration with Integrate.io
What are Data Warehouses?
Data warehouses are management systems that store vast amounts of data. This data can be structured or only semi-structured, but the warehouse allows all data to be analyzed. It’s the hub of the business, and it can be accessed by any user with the proper authorization. Typically, data warehouses are accessible by those who apply BI strategies to make decisions for the business.
Every app, software, or other program you currently use in your Ecommerce business generates multitudes of data every day. This data is then sent to the data warehouse, transformed, and loaded. Once loaded, it can be used to generate business reports or populate the dashboards of other business programs, such as your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools.
When Should You Utilize a Data Warehouse?
While many reasons exist for using a data warehouse, the following four are the most apparent:
Analyzing data from multiple sources. Say you need to track your most loyal customers’ activities on your Ecommerce site. This might mean combining information from your payment processor with financial data from an accounting program, as well as with any other data generated during other interactions. Manipulating all this data is much less tedious when it’s all in one central location.
Separating different types of data. You might have analysts on your team who want to review large amounts of data from a specific app’s logs without disrupting the actual app or team members working within the app in real-time. Being able to separate transactional and analytical data is a huge plus of data warehousing.
Querying isn’t possible at the data’s source. Most BI solutions don’t play well with NoSQL databases, for instance. When working with BI data, your team has to extract, transfer, and load it into a data warehouse. BI tools can then access this data.
Speeding up queries. Transactional data can reside in numerous rows, making standard querying tedious — if not so slow as to be impossible. Using a data warehouse is more effective, as it can aggregate data, speeding up queries. This also takes the burden off the database housing your transactional data, allowing it to continue working at optimal performance levels.
What Kinds of Data Warehouses Exist?
It used to be that data warehouses were located onsite, but just like other aspects of the new frontier of tech, it rapidly migrated to the cloud. Here’s a look at data warehousing options:
Having onsite data warehouses means you must purchase, obtain licenses, deploy, and maintain every piece of hardware and software. There are still businesses that use this approach because it does offer some very clear advantages, such as:
Total system control. You decide who uses the system and how they can use it.
Customization. You can customize the warehouse according to your business’s unique requirements. If something changes, you can optimize and tweak the warehouse’s performance as needed.
One of the most common types of onsite warehouses is the data warehouse appliance. This is a self-contained device that lets companies scale the warehouse infrastructure so as the business grows, BI analytics can scale, too. However, onsite systems are increasingly being replaced by cloud-based warehouses.
Like any application in the cloud, a cloud-based warehouse doesn’t require your business to purchase any special software or hardware. You simply pay for a subscription to access the warehouse, the storage it requires, and the amount of computing power required at any given time. Need to expand your database? No problem — it’s as easy as adding additional cloud-based resources. You also don’t need additional employees for support since all maintenance is taken care of by the cloud services provider.
Having your data warehouse in the cloud means:
You can scale at will. You can dial your capacity requirements up or down whenever you need to.
You can save money. Since there’s nothing physical to buy, set up, or maintain, your upfront setup costs are lower — sometimes even lower than actually owning a physical data warehouse. With cloud storage, you only pay for what you need, when you need it. Even if you experience periods of peak demand, your costs don’t change.
Additional apps at no charge. The best data warehouses in the cloud include other cloud services — services you likely need, like secure access management or identity verification tools — bundled with your cloud warehouse subscription.
Peace of mind. The greatest objection to cloud services remains security risks. But the protocols used in cloud data warehousing actually have increased security, probably far greater than what your Ecommerce business could manage on its own.
(Almost) always-on connectivity. Because cloud services are their industry, cloud service providers heavily invest in guaranteed services. In fact, most data warehousing providers guarantee 99.9% uptime. And since it’s a cloud-based environment, even if your local systems fail, your data is still protected and available.
Improved speed to market. When you consider all the above, cloud data warehouses mean less risk. Your team can analyze data and obtain insights with fewer delays. Speedy turnarounds mean less lead time for your new products or services.
We’ve covered data integration and data warehouses — what’s data warehouse integration?
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Data Warehouse Integration Defined
Every app, tool, or solution you use generates data. Your CRM houses customer information. Your accounting software houses inventory and transaction data. And these are just a few of the tools you use on a daily basis. Data warehouse integration takes the data from each source and unifies it into a single source — the data warehouse. Any team in your business can access the warehouse, given they have the proper authority to do so. This data can then be structured and analyzed without having to switch from tool to tool.
How Does It Work?
During the course of a normal business day, your customer service reps input data into your CRM or ERP. Before data integration, these tools didn’t “speak” to each other — one employee might enter new contact information for a customer in one application, while another employee in a different department using a separate tool still has the outdated information. Data warehousing allows each new item entered anywhere in the system to automatically update across applications, allowing every employee access to the most up-to-date information at all times.
Tools and Tips for Data Integration
There isn’t just one set way to manage data integration. Rather, there are multiple tips and solutions you can use. For instance:
- ETL. Extract, transform, load.
- ELT. Extract, load, transform.
- Manual. Though not a preferred method, manual data integration involves the manual collection of information from multiple sources, cleaning it, and inputting it into the database. Due to its propensity for errors, this method is typically only recommended if your organization is rather small with very low amounts of data.
- Data federation. This method involves accessing all your business’s data from one central source, but the data isn’t actually extracted or moved anywhere. The data view is unified and can easily be accessed and analyzed, but there’s no external singular source in which all the data resides — it’s simply accessed from one place.
Regardless of your data integration method, after data integration, you can use BI tools as your access point. For instance, a manager can create a query and then review the data to uncover unique patterns or trends in the data. They can then create charts or reports that visualize this data for other key stakeholders and employees.
Advantages of Data Warehouse Integration
Aside from being an easy way to see into the heart of your Ecommerce business, data warehouse integration has several data management benefits, such as:
Business Intelligence is Enhanced
Having multiple sources to extract from helps you collect more data — data that’s relevant to your Ecommerce business. It helps reduce errors as new data is constantly reviewed for discrepancies against prior data.
Once you’ve formatted your warehouse and nailed down your data warehousing processes, your data becomes consistent and ready for analysis. Data quality helps you and other decision-makers make better decisions using real-time business information.
No longer must you rely on outdated or error-filled information to make your most important business decisions. Your BI is elevated — and you can then apply it to inventory management, targeted marketing, segmentation, sales, and more.
Quality Data, Consistently
Not only is current data relevant, but historical data is clean. This consistency helps managers and analysts work more efficiently and offer increasingly accurate insights into everything from sales methods to business processes.
With clean historical data, you can review your business needs by seasons or periods in which your Ecommerce site fared well, and when it may be lagged behind expectations. This allows you to recognize mistakes before they have a chance to damage the business and makes for better predictions of future periods.
Over time, today’s data becomes your historic data and you eventually have an accumulated wealth of valuable information that can reduce stress across your entire business ecosystem. You also no longer have to rely on onsite servers or SSIS packages — all your data is accessible via the warehouse.
Data warehousing pricing for Big Data can be spendy — but the results you see over time more than make up for the initial outlay of funds. In the earliest stages of moving your data to a warehouse, you might question the cost, but within a short amount of time, you’ll see how the insights from data sets can help you grow your business.
Streamlining your data pipeline for decision-making is another of the many advantages of data warehouse integration. Quickly accessing crucial information in one spot facilitates faster decisions, which can make or break a business. And less reliance on an IT team to pull up timely data reduces wait times for critical decisions.
Business Intelligence from Sources Across Channels
Omnichannel business operations and strategies mean you likely have incoming data from more sources than you may realize. Of all your business’s surface systems, you have many subsystems making up the ecosystem of your Ecommerce store. Each is physically different and likely built on entirely different platforms. It’s necessary that all data from every source is merged into one source database, and doing so reduces the risk of duplicity and errors.
Better Overall Performance
With this increase in speed to retrieve timely data and analyze it, advantages of data warehousing integration include large data storage and rapid queries. An operating system can only create or modify data, but one of the benefits of data warehousing is that it was specifically designed to collect and analyze data.
Data warehousing allows for simplified models that make creating customized reports from business data that much easier. And if you incorporate SQL functionality, database performance is optimized.
With data warehouse integration, you can do more with less.
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Data Warehouse Integration with Integrate.io
With integration capabilities for nearly every Ecommerce tool and solution, Integrate.io can help you realize your Ecommerce business’s goals. With Integrate.io, you get:
- The newest ETL platform
- A blazing fast Change Data Capture (CDC) platform
- Reverse ETL capabilities
- And overall deep Ecommerce capabilities
See how Integrate.io can help you take your Ecommerce site to the next level. Schedule an intro call today.