Businesses today are drowning in data, and more driven than ever to make the most of it.
When analyzed properly, that data has the power to boost efficiency and dramatically improve an organization’s operations, because it allows teams to base decisions on actual information about how their company works. But raw data isn’t much good to anyone — to be useful, it needs to be consistent, organized, and collected together into a single, unified system. That’s what data integration is all about.
Data integration is the process of creating a unified system where data can be consulted, by importing business information from disparate sources. These sources can include software applications, cloud servers, and on-premise servers. Businesses typically integrate their data to make it easier to analyze without hopping from source to source.
While there are many different techniques and methods, the goal is ultimately to produce business intelligence; specific, actionable insights about the current state of a business’s operations. Business analytics may also be generated from data. These are similar to business intelligence but have a predictive, rather than descriptive, function.