Data consolidation is the corralling, combining, and storing of varied data in a single place. It lets users manipulate different types of data from one point of access and helps turn raw data into insights that drive better, faster decision-making. The term sometimes is used interchangeably with data integration.

Data consolidation enables businesses to streamline their data resources, discover patterns, and look for insights in multiple types of data.

Data consolidation and ETL

Data consolidation usually involves four layers of technology: data sources, an ETL (extract, transform and load) data pipeline, a data warehouse destination, and business intelligence (BI) tools.

ETL stands for “extract, transform, and load” — the process a data pipeline uses to replicate data from a source to a traditional data warehouse. In a variant of this process, ELT, the transformation step happens after the data is loaded on the target system, because that’s a better way to replicate data from a source system into a cloud data warehouse.

There are two ways to ETL:

  1. Hand coding is a manual process in which an engineer builds a script to consolidate data from predetermined sources. Although hand-coding is time-consuming and requires a data engineer, it can be useful for smaller jobs with just a couple of sources. It also may be necessary when a source or destination is not supported by other tools.
  2. ETL tools, both local and cloud-based, exist to expedite the data consolidation process. These tools automate the ETL process and can begin replicating data within minutes of implementation. Cloud-based ETL tools are tested, maintained, and updated constantly by the provider.

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Data consolidation best practices

Organizations should plan and execute data consolidation projects carefully. These best practices promote effective data consolidation:

Integrate data from more than 100 sources

Data consolidation challenges

There are challenges in the data consolidation process. The most common ones include:

Getting started with data consolidation

Are you planning a data consolidation project? Stitch is a cloud ETL service that provides connectors from more than 100 sources to the most popular data warehouse destinations. Our approach is simple, straightforward, and ready to go right out of the box. Give Stitch a try, on us — set up a free trial in minutes and consolidate your data today.

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