Big data has been described as the new currency of business. But what is it? Well, Forbes describes big data as “a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside of your company that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.”
Businesses, of all sizes, are using big data to gain a competitive edge, and a study by Accenture found that 79% of executives agree that companies who don’t embrace big data will lose their competitive advantage.
Understanding the importance of big data is one thing but collecting data from multiple sources like in-house CRM systems, web stats, sales figures and or third-party systems, then cleansing this data, extracting the relevant information and presenting this data in a cohesive format is incredibly time-intensive and laborious.
Luckily, the manual task of collecting this data and turning into readable reports, for instance, is now largely done by data integration tools. IBM classifies data integration as “the combination of technical and business processes used to combine data from disparate sources into meaningful and valuable information.”
As well, as ensuring data can be seamlessly accessed by different departments at any time, data integration products also increase the accuracy of this data, as mistakes caused by human-error are reduced. They also free up employees time, so they can focus more on revenue generating tasks, like sales.
Even though data integration systems have been around for a while, the emergence of big data has increased the demand for data integration products. While each one has its own speciality, here are three of the best data integration products that are available on the market:
Rapidi is an established data integration provider. Founded in the early 1990’s, they are a leading supplier of data integration and they help businesses of all sizes to harness the power of data by making data sharing and synchronisation easy and fast. They offer a range of products, including; Rapidi Replicator, Rapidionline and Rapidi Platform.
Rapidi Replicator is a simple data integration solution which synchronises across multiple Microsoft databases. It therefore removes the need for the data to be manually entered across multiple systems. Rapidi Replicator works with both Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
Rapidionline was designed to make complex system integrations fast and simple. Using a set of preconfigured templates, an integration between two of the most used systems – Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, can be quickly and easily created. Rapidionline is based on a plug-and-use system and is can be ready to use within three hours of installation, which means your business will suffer little or no down-time.
Rapidi Platform is a fully comprehensive integration product and as such it enables the integration of almost any technology databases such as Microsoft SQL, Oracle, IBM DB2, Lotus Notes and Joomla, just to name a few.
Some of the major benefits of Rapidi, is that most of their packages are flexible and can be configured to meet the exact needs of the business, so you are not paying for extras that will never be used. Plus, their advanced connection technology compresses and encrypts any data before it is transferred between the cloud and your on-site systems, which ensures your data is kept safe and secure at all times.
2] IBM Infosphere Information Server
International Business Machines or IBM as it is commonly known, can trace its foundations back to 1911 when it developed the ‘punched card’. It then focussed on IT hardware but since 2010, it has primarily focused on its cloud platform and cognitive solutions.
The Infosphere Information Server is a single platform which facilities data integration and governance. It’s estimated that globally, around 11,000 organisations use the platform. Its primary function is to deliver highly tailored reports whilst maintaining the accuracy of the data.
IBM has achieved this by building in a suite of products into the Infosphere platform. These products enable the data to be collated, cleansed, monitored, transformed and then delivered into cohesive formats which can then be used to support decision making across the business.
One of the major selling points of Infosphere is its processing power which enables large amounts of complex data to be processed quickly and easily. Plus, it integrates with other IBM products for the analytics, storage and management of data.
The system is available in four editions; Infosphere Information Server for Data Integration, Infosphere Information Server for Data Quality, Infosphere Information Server on Cloud and Infosphere Information Server Enterprise Edition.
The platform integrates across multiple systems which means near real-time information can be accessed anywhere at any time.
3] SAP Data Services
We can’t talk about data integration without mentioning SAP. Founded in 1972 by five entrepreneurial programmers, over forty plus years the company has grown to be one of the biggest suppliers of enterprise application software.
SAP estimates that around 77% of the world’s transactions touches on an SAP product. This comes as no surprise as they have approximately 425,000 customers across 180 countries.
SAP Data Services takes data from predefined sources like applications, web-services and databases. The user can then choose to combine, refine or transform the data and feed it back into its original source or other data source.
SAP Data Services can connect different data sources including those outside of the SAP ecosystem. Plus, it can extract data held within text files, meaning the information doesn’t have to be manually searched for and inputted.
On top of this, it can interpret unstructured data in 31 languages, which is incredibly useful if you have to analyse data from international business units.
The SAP Data Services is known for having one of the most user-friendly user-faces which means it can easily be used by people with all levels of IT literacy.
Each business has its own unique needs and therefore you should spend time choosing a product which can deliver what each organisational department asks for.
However, by installing a data integration platform into your business, it can embrace the power of big data and open itself up to new opportunities and smarter ways of working which could result in an increase in revenue and a reduction in inefficiencies.