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Some Frequently Answered Questions about Data Integration

Some Frequently Answered Questions about Data Integration

Informed decision-making is the backbone of a business. Accurate and useful data drives the best decisions. That explains why organizations have shown keen interest in reimagining their data integration efforts. 

The significance of big data has been talked about for years. Now, companies are finding ways to leverage it properly through robust integration practices. 

But, the question is, do we understand data integration?

Here is a series of questions about data integration along with answers for your better understanding.

What is Data Integration? 

Data integration is the process of consolidating data from different sources into a single dataset. The goal is to enable users to access and exchange data across the spectrum and deliver the promised value sooner. In other words, it is an act of moving data throughout a digital ecosystem to establish pervasive connectivity. That can include integrating a plethora of data sources into one unified resource. Data integration enables users to access data to identify different trends and insights required to make decisions. 

It’s essential to know that the term data integration is different from data migration, data transformation, data ingestion, data replication, and data extraction. Think of it as an umbrella term that encompasses all of these terms. 

Why is Data Integration Important? 

Data integration paints a clear picture of all business operations to facilitate decision-making and value generation. It allows business users to implement data connections and integrate new customers, delivering the value promised to customers, growing more revenue, and expanding market share. 

For example, a retail company might leverage rewards numbers to keep a close watch on customer purchases across in-store and online platforms. With the help of data integration between these two points of purchase, the store can gain a clear understanding of customer preferences and trends – what they buy, how often, where, and so on. They can rely on this data to deliver value to customers, thus increasing upselling and creating new revenue streams.

What Are the Different Data Integration Methods Employed in Business? 

Data integration can be done in various ways:

  • Manual Data Integration: In this method, a data manager oversees different aspects of the integration – usually by writing custom code. That means, different data sources is connected, data is collected and cleaned, etc. without automation. 
  • Middleware Integration: In this particular method of data integration, the software is used to connect applications and transfer data between them and databases. It’s useful when a business is integrating conventional systems with novel systems. 
  • Application-Based Integration: In application integration, applications are meant to do all the work. They find, retrieve, clean, and integrate data from different sources. This drives compatibility as it enables users to move data from one source to the other. 
  • Uniform Access Integration: Using this technique, data can be accessed from disparate data sets and kept uniformly. Even though data is accessed from a different place, it stays in its original location. 
  • Data Warehousing or Common Storage Integration: Quite similar to uniform access, data warehousing involves creating and storing data (a copy of it) in a data warehouse. It enables versatility in ways organizations manipulate and use data. 
  • Self-Service Data Integration: Unlike other techniques, self-service integration enables even non-technical business users to implement data connections in minutes instead of weeks or months. At the same time, IT is freed to focus on more important tasks and drive innovation and growth. 

How Can Data Integration Enable Businesses to Drive Value? 

Modern data integration solutions play a vital role as it enables non-technical business users to make customer data connections – without relying on IT excessively. And in doing so, next-gen features like pre-built application connectors, shared templates, dashboards, and AI-data mapping play a vital role here. Business users can create onboarding connections using easy screens. 

At the same, IT can focus on governance and drive more strategic tasks instead of getting bogged down in the integration tedium. It becomes free from writing complex custom codes and EDI mapping routines and instead focus on more high-value tasks. 

By creating connections with customers, organizations can address their needs faster and deliver on them without IT support. Ultimately, organizations can grow revenue and expand market reach.