ETL software (extract, transform, and load software) is a way of moving and storing data from one source to another. One of the most prominent business intelligence (BI) tools and data warehousing solutions, ETL software focuses on loading and sanitizing data from different sources through three primary functions:
By using ETL software, businesses can take raw data from a variety of sources and provide it with a usable format. This contextualized data can then be used by other BI tools for in-depth analysis of your business processes. Or the historical data can simply be stored for future reference in:
ETL tools have many valuable automation features for helping businesses extract, transform and load data faster than ever before. Automate your data management by implementing an ETL software at your business.
Note: ETL solutions are sometimes referred to interchangeable as ELT. This type of software is incredibly similar, though it changes the order of extract, transform, and load to extract, load, and transform.
There are several benefits to using an ETL software at your business. Learn some of the best advantages now:
Manual data migration is incredibly time consuming. Automated data migration is possible with ETL software’s batch processing tools. Thanks to a wide variety of data connectors, data can be pulled from compatible software for:
Raw data can still be manually entered into ETL software and then automatically consolidated for easier processing. This can drastically speed up data entry tasks which once took hours or days to complete. Instead, automating the process means you can go right from data collection to the next step.
Additionally, automating the data extraction process may also reduce mistakes caused by human error from manual data entry. An ETL software can improve the accuracy of your data migration.
Data is one of the most valuable commodities companies can use when trying to understand what works and what doesn’t in their business operations. However, data alone is nearly impossible to decipher in a raw format. It needs to be formatted in order to provide valuable context. ETL software “cleans” data through transformation into a comprehensive format.
For example, if your company works with partners in different countries, each may have a unique method for recording business metrics. If your office is trying to analyze this data all together, you’ll need everything in one format to avoid possible duplication or miscommunication. Consider revenue: each country you work with has a different form of currency. If you only took the total numbers from the raw data, you’d lose the context of costs in relation to the exchange rate. ETL software helps you determine the actual currency values to stay consistent with the rest of your localized data.
After raw data is transformed into proper formatting and stored in a data warehouse, it’s ready to be used by other BI tools for analysis. This information can then be used to build reports to show past performance, possible trends, and opportunities for improvement. Easy-to-use drag-and-drop features further ease your ETL processes.
There are two primary types of ETL software: real-time ETL or batch ETL. The former works faster to provide a shorter turnaround time between the initial data extraction and final load. your Batch data, on the other hand, is to streamline any bulk or big data extraction and transformation you may need.
There are some ETL solutions which provide both real-time and batch operations. Combined with data visualization software, you can then analyze and report on bulk data instantaneously. Whether you need a software with batch processing, real-time results, or both, an ETL software can streamline your data pipeline.
The final step for extracted and transformed data is to be loaded into a relational or non-relational data warehouse. The exact setup of the ETL platform you use will depend on the data schema you prefer and your data quality requirements.
There are two main types of data storage: Structured Query Language (SQL) or non-Structured Query Language (NoSQL):
Whichever database you use, ETL software can prepare and store the data correctly. Business users, even with limited technical experience, can easily retrieve data from either style platform using set queries.
ETL software is available for on-premise or cloud-based deployment. Companies concerned about data security prefer using in-premise solutions in order to keep their information within their own controlled system. A cloud-data warehouse, however, offers some more freedom for sharing data instantaneously. This is particularly useful for corporations with global operations which all need simultaneous access to databases and data warehouses.