Businesses today have to access a multitude of data to run their sales and marketing campaigns. However, collecting the data and synchronizing them in a form that can be accessible is a challenge. This is where the process of data integration comes into play.
Data integration is the process of accessing the required data and integrating them to meet the requirement of the decision-maker and provide accurate data to facilitate the decision-making process. The success of a business depends largely on decision-making, which is the most critical aspect of any business or enterprise.
The right decision depends on the availability of the right data at the right time.
How Does Data Integration Assist Decision-Making?
As we know, an accurate decision is arrived at after careful analysis of the data on hand. It is not just one data from one source that is taken into account. A multitude of data from various sources needs to be accessed and analyzed before making the right decision.
The data collected by various applications are locked in the apps and are not accessible to businesses. This is called a data silo. Accessing these data silos and synchronizing them is called data integration. There are multiple ways of integrating the data from various sources like individual sources, a master source, and the client or the end user. There are five main techniques for integrating data.
Manual Data Integration
The data is collected and integrated manually without automation usually by creating a custom code. Though This technique is cost-effective, many manhours are exhausted in this not-so-productive laborious task. The percentage of human error is very high in this technique of data integration.
In this process, the integration of data is performed through software programs like API Technology where the third-party data is accessed through the interface. This facilitates the applications designed for a specific purpose to work in tandem by supporting cross-platform communication. However, this technique has a complicated setup and demands a high level of expertise to handle the process.
This software assists the exchange of data between applications. It is a layer between the software operating system and the applications running on it. Middleware Integration Software can either be application-specific, information exchange and management, or support middleware.
Uniform Access Integration
It allows data to be visualized and accessed by businesses from the source. It provides a simplified view of the data and provides more accurate information. Storage of data is not required as the data is left in the host system.
Data Warehouse Integration
This is one of the most commonly used integration techniques. Large amounts of data collected from different sources are stored as backup and integrated to meet the requirements of the enterprise. This is also called common storage integration. This allows the venture to use and manipulate the integration as per requirement.
The Need for Integration Software
The amount of data to be processed is enormous and grows exponentially by the day. The use of the software is inevitable in the process of data synchronization. This makes the process of accessing and organizing the data from various sources and presenting them in a coherent manner that will aid the decision makers take the right decision.
What Are the Uses of Integration Software?
There are many benefits of using data-integrating software:
Data is made more accessible
Integrating software provides access to data and allows the ventures to deploy the data for their success. The data is more valuable when they are integrated and customized by the business.
Improves the exchange of data within platforms and applications
Data collected from various sources stored on various platforms need to be collected, analyzed, and synthesized to generate the desired output. These integration software programs make the exchange of data hassle-free.
Manual data collection is a cumbersome process and valuable productive hours are exhausted in the process. Automation of the integration and exchange process allows better use of manual labor.
Reduces unnecessary costs
Manual data collection and storage is an expensive proposition. It calls for creating a large data storage facility and the deployment of a considerable workforce for this purpose which can add up to the cost. Automation tool allows the process to be carried out at a much lower cost.
So what software should you use for integration? There are numerous software programs available for data integration. Some of them are pre-designed, while there are many that can be customized. There are four categories of data integration software.
Cloud Data Integration Software
Cloud integration allows us to build and run advanced integration using prebuilt templates. It enables connection and shares data across software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Some popular cloud data Integration Software in the market are Zapier, Appy Pie, and Mulesoft.
E-Commerce Data Integration Software
Cloud-based integration for e-commerce enterprises that facilitates integration data like sales, purchase, pricing, delivery, and other commercial activities. Two popular E-Commerce software used are Segment and Webgility.
Electronic Data Interchange(EDI) Software
This software typically allows data exchange between computers. It is used in places where document exchanges between businesses are involved like generating purchase orders or invoices. Cleo, TrueCommerce ED, and Mulesoft are a few popular EDI software.
File Transfer Protocol Software
FTP software is used for file transfer from one system to another. This is used while creating backups where one system is the server that backs up the data and the other is the source software. FileZilla, and MOVEit are some of the FTP software.
Data Integration Challenges
The roadblocks that need to be addressed while using the integration software are numerous.
The data integration prohibits one from getting a single unified data. For instance, some information may be required in real-time or nearly real-time, whereas the data is collected from the search history. Collecting this data is challenging when a customer is just navigating the site.
For any startup business, integrity can be a cause for concern as the data collected and interaction process is inaccurate and may sometimes be misleading. Whenever the accuracy of data is questionable, decisions made may lead to revenue loss. Data privacy and problems with security are challenges that need to be considered.
Data duplication is yet another major issue. The duplicate data ingestion makes decision-making and integration difficult as there is no method to validate the correctness of the data.
How to Overcome these Challenges?
The use of the right integration platform can resolve the challenges to a large extent. Opting for the right software as per the need will go a long way in attaining the desired results. It is also crucial to maintain a master data backup. The master data can come into use when the correctness of the data needs to be verified. Security of information is of utmost priority in the digital world. Implementation of the right data governance routine and practices is crucial to safeguard privacy.
The Future of Data Integration
Going into 2023, data will continue to be the most valuable asset for the business and we can decipher that integration of data is the deciding factor for the success of an enterprise. The right technology, software, and careful governance of data will be the deciding factors for the success of any business. For added support and tailored advice about the integration approach that will work best for your organization, get in touch with PlektonLabs.