The tracking and storing of data for businesses has been an important topic in the tech world since the 1970s and is still a crucial industry today. Though the software used to do this has changed with the expanding reach of technology, the basics of the process are the same. With many businesses actually being a collection of smaller companies brought together through mergers or other means, data can be spread through many websites, cloud storage, and physical servers. Often, this can cause issues in getting things to work together or be accessible by everyone who needs it. Many companies are choosing to consolidate the data in order for it to be used more effectively.
The process where data is collected, often using a data scraping software, and combine the information into a single list and location is considered data consolidation. Once the data is scraped and pulled from its original source by extract, transform, and load (ETL) technology, it can be processed into a format that works for the company and stored into on-site servers, or at a remote location or data center. This process isn’t just for moving the information from one storage to another, however. This consolidation allows the data to be analyzed and compiled into something more meaningful for those using it. This will also reduce the number of storage locations, both physical and online, allowing data to be held more securely.
Another way businesses consolidate and access data is to have a virtual database that compiles the information and where it is stored. This information can then be accessed remotely by users. This is more of a categorization of data locations that a true consolidation. If a company is looking has issues with moving their data to a new physical location or faces security issues in doing so, then a virtualized record might be the right choice. Virtualization allows data to be viewed in one place, but the information can be stored at multiple locations. Even though the data is not stored in one place, it can still be analyzed and made more presentable by using different applications. These applications will use the metadata in even unstructured files like images to create a standard format that will be usable in its data map. Having all these listed and accessible can make it easier for companies to track and analyze this information.
Sometimes lumped in with data consolidation, integrating data is less about the initial extraction and movement of data and more about the long-term upkeep of that information. Data must be moved from time to time to ensure it doesn’t break down or decay. Some software has tools for automating this process. These can be set up to run at regular intervals and avoid human error or forgetfulness. Often these applications will produce documentation that can be used for quality checks. Instead of having information lost in data silos or scattered among many different applications, integrating data combines it and streamlines the processes needed to analyze it. This sets users up for better use of their time when working with metrics, customer information, and marketing strategies. Each company can use a program customized to suit the needs of its employees while still being able to deliver excellent service to its customers.
With the constant stream of data moving through a company or through many companies and industries that work together, the need for tools to read, analyze, and consolidate data. It is also important to make sure that data is moved regularly to avoid decay. Caution should be taken when initially setting up any integration or virtualization of data, though. Taking a well-planned and careful approach can be the difference between a successful capture and transfer of data and the loss of vital information. Each company should research ETL software thoroughly before deciding what will work best for its business, employees, and customers.
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