What Is Data Integration and How Does It Work?

Data Integration

If you feel that your ability to use and share data is usually obstructed by problems associated with interoperability, you are not alone. Thankfully, you can now use data integration to solve this issue.

A lot of organizations and companies use different types of data management systems which leads to a variety of data formats taht exist in one entity. To put it simply, data integration mixes various formats and data types into one location that’s usually called a data warehouse. 

No matter what industry you work in, you can utilize the power of data integration. The rewards that are gained by unifying information into a single data source can help organizations access untapped data from within the datasets.

If your data isn’t being used then it isn’t very valuable. You need to make your data accessible to the people who need it so that it can be used to its fullest potential. You can leverage information when you utilize data integration. 

You can also improve decision making, streamline processes, offer better customer service, and increase communication. 

If you’d like to learn more, then keep reading and we’ll take you through everything that you’ll want to know about data integration. 

What Can Data Integration Fix?

Below, we will go over several issues that can be fixed by properly implementing data integration. While the solutions that data integration are limited to this list, they’re some of the main aspects that a lot of IT and tech departments are currently dealing with. 

Big Data

One big subject today in the technology industry is big data. While the idea of managing a lot of information might seem stressful because of a high volume of data, a high variety of data is usually a larger problem.

Data integration can assist you with making sense of all of the data that’s being used by your company. That’s true whether the data is generated externally or collected internally.

You can also read more here about Zendesk and see how they can help you with serving your customers through data integration.

Data Silos

A data silo is a heterogeneous data source that stores information in certain areas. They have been an issue because of disjointed departments and legacy systems.

In the old days, it would make sense for teams to choose methods and software for storing information with only their own concerns in mind. Today, cross-functionality is very important.

You can bring legacy and proprietary information into new systems by consolidating data and making them easily accessible by team members. 

Semantic Integration

A common issue that comes with using different systems to store data is ontology problems. This means that you have different sets of data that describe the same thing but they are organized differently.

For example, you might store dates as MM/DD/YYYY for one data set but DD/MM/YYYY for another data set. By eliminating the differences and making a structured data warehouse, you’ll be able to find the information you want more easily.

You’ll also be able to analyze patterns and save productive time. 

Data Integration Approaches 

After reading the above, you might that that databases are fairly complex. The goal of data integration is to combine different data sources and make it all appear to be part of a singular whole. 

One approach to data integration is manual integration. This is when all of the work is left up to the user. 

First, you would need to know where to look for the data. The user would have to know the physical location of the data and the map data directly from their respective databases. You then compare the datasets against each other.

There is also the common user interface method. You would use an interface like the World Wide Web to make a search. The search results would appear as a view on the interface. 

While you still need to do some work on your end, the interface would take care of finding and collecting the information. 

There are some integration methods that rely on apps to do all of the labor for you. The apps are specialized computer programs. They find, collect, and then integrate the data for you.

During this process, the apps need to manipulate the data so that the information from one source can work with information from a different source.

There is also data warehousing, sometimes referred to as common data storage. When you use this approach, all of the data from the different databases are loaded, transformed, and extracted.

This means that the data warehouse takes all of the information from the different data sources. The system then converts that information into a common format so that the different sets of information can be compatible.

The new data is then loaded into a databse. When you submit a search, the data warehouse will find the data and give it to you in an integrated display. 

The Importance of Knowing What Data Integration Is and How It Works 

Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better idea of what data integration is and how it works. As we can see, data integration might seem complicated but it can save you a lot of time and money if you implement it correctly.

When you use data integration, you’ll also be able to make the most of your data. 

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