5 Key Components for Data Integration

5 Key Components for Data Integration

by Ethan More
Data Integration

The term “big data integration” describes combining disparate data sets, such as those collected from the Internet, social media platforms, machines, and the Internet of Things (IoT), into a unified whole. There is a need for a common data integration platform that supports profiling and data quality. It is also essential to drive insights by providing the user with the most complete and up-to-date view of the enterprise, as highlighted by big data analytics platforms’ scalability and high-performance requirements.

Traditional ETL technologies complement real-time integration techniques used by data warehouse modernization, which add dynamic context to continuously streaming data.  The key components of data integration include the following.

1. Staging Area

The data staging layer can be between the source and the destination. By streamlining and improving the quality of the data integration process, the staging approach can add substantial value.

However, when thinking about detailed data integration requirements, many teams overlook the importance of the staging area. In particular, when large amounts of varied data must be processed as part of data integration tasks. 

Building a staging area to deposit the source data is the first step in the data integration process. The original data is usually transferred “as is” to the staging or landing area. That limits system resources and reduces stress by transferring data from the source to the data warehouse as quickly as possible.

Implementing this stage can be challenging, especially if you aren’t familiar with the process. Data warehouse modernization services are ideal in such situations, as they bring agility to the entire process and ensure greater ROI. 

2. Validation of Data

Before using, importing, or otherwise processing data, it must undergo a process known as “data validation” to ensure its accuracy and quality. Various forms of validation can be carried out, depending on the destination’s requirements or goals. Before attempting a data migration or merge, it is essential to check that data from different sources and repositories still follows business rules and is not corrupted by inconsistencies in type or context. 

To reiterate the above point, after transferring data from one system to another, it’s essential to double-check that the new data is accurate and consistent with the old. 

The “system of record” is often referred to as the “source system” in organizations. Users won’t trust the data, and the data warehouse won’t be adopted or valuable if the environment doesn’t match the source system.

3. Cleansing of Data

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The term “data cleaning” refers to correcting or removing any inaccurate, corrupt, improperly formatted, duplicate, or incomplete information from a dataset. There is a high risk of data duplication and mislabeling when combining data from different sources. Incorrect data can make results and algorithms look correct, even if they are not. 

Besides, datasets differ in complexity, so no universal method can prescribe the exact steps in the data-cleaning process. However, it would help if you established a pattern for your data cleaning process to ensure that you always do it correctly.

Every company has data quality issues that must be addressed regularly. Identifying data problems, like gaps or incorrect values, can be done during the ETL/ELT process, such as a numeric field that accepts text input. Data errors like these can be fixed in-process, so it’s important to keep track of everyone and notify IT and support via email or text message whenever something goes wrong.

4. Transforming Data

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In addition to fixing data problems, your data warehouse can enrich or improve the data by inserting more business logic. One option is to perform some calculation on two or more values and then save the result in a different field. Or you can create a new reporting category based on a specific field’s value. Customer age, store location, and vendor territory are just a few examples of valuable classifications. This facilitates the standardization of business rules that must be applied across the organization and reduces the effort to apply these rules to each report.

  1. Data Orchestration

Finally, a data integration framework should offer an adaptable means of orchestrating and controlling all data flows and processing. Informational metadata can be stored in a collection of control tables to improve the efficacy of data processing. You can keep track of the last time a job ran, the status of various data loads (full vs. incremental), and the data sources and tables that need to be processed. 

These control tables produce tremendous efficiencies by cutting down on code, centralizing logic, and simplifying developer oversight of the entire data integration process. The framework also allows for the easy capture of the output detail of all processed jobs, which can then be easily captured in a dashboard to track status and performance.

Final Thought

Companies that care about their continued success and relevance are accepting big data with its advantages and difficulties. Business intelligence, customer data analytics, data enrichment, and real-time information delivery are just a few domains that can benefit from data integration. The administration of company and client records is a key application for data integration services and software. Moreover, key performance indicators (KPIs), financial risks, customers, manufacturing and supply chain operations, regulatory compliance efforts, and other facets of business processes can all be seen in greater detail with the help of customer data integration by business managers and data analysts.

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