The best thing about being in business today is there are so many tools and software available for practically every function and aspect of your business.
The worst thing about being in business today is there are so many tools and software to coordinate, sync, and manage.
That’s where ETL comes in. (Extract, Transform, and Load.) As a data-driven company, you’re probably using all sorts of programs and software like Salesforce, Google Analytics, Hubspot, Marketo, Zendesk, etc… And now you want to consolidate all of that information into one place so you can evaluate, analyze, and make better-informed decisions based on that data, correct?
The right ETL Software helps you consolidate data from multiple locations, clean and organize it, and load it into a single repository for optimal use.
Deciding what ETL tool to use for this task can be daunting and overwhelming. So, to help you make the right decision for your organization we’ve compiled a list of questions you should ask when selecting an ETL tool for your business:
1. Ability to connect
First and foremost, you want to ensure your ETL software has maximum connect-ability with most if not all of the major software solutions on the market. It’s important to ensure it can support working with structured and semi-structured data.
2. Data cleansing functionally
When consolidating data, it often comes in with a multitude of irregularities that need to be fixed.
- Spaces before or after the text
- Some words capitalized, some not
- Variety of cell and text formatting
- Typos and punctuation problems
- And more…
It’s critical that your ETL software has the ability to clean the data and provide detailed data quality reports.
3. Dealing with poorly formatted data
Cleaning the data isn’t enough, your software needs the ability to deal with “bad” formatting on a macro level as well. and your ETL software should be able to deal with bad data automatically. For example, if the CSV file is missing fields, they should be replaced with nulls.
4. Data transformation functionally
It’s not just about moving, replicating, and syncing data, you need your ETL to support a wide range of transformation functions as well. The more, the better.
5. Codeless ETL
If you want your ETL software to be truly adopted and used by the entirety of your organization, people have to be able to use it without being expert coders. If average analysts can develop and design transformation without writing code, that’s best!
Check to make sure your ETL software allows developers to use standard languages such as SQL and Python. Without this ability, you’ll be extremely limited.
Choose ETL software that includes the ability to perform workflow actions. For example, this includes downloading files or sending email notifications. Not every ETL has robust workflow capabilities, so it’s an important feature to factor into your decision.
If you’re using ETL software, the entire point of everything you’re doing is centred around automation. That’s what reduces cost… So, all ETL related processes must be automated.
9. Event monitors
Good ETL software gives you the ability to monitor and then initiate and execute workflows from a triggering event such as file creation or email message arrival.
10. Support and customer service.
Part of picking the best ETL software is the team and support behind the software. As you implement the ETL software, start building workflows, and initiate data transformation, your team is bound to need support. You don’t want to wait for days to answer. You want instant help! (ETL-tools.com offers the best support on the market!)
11. ETL library
Your team and developers should be able to save and build a library of reusable transformations. This reduces the cost, removes the errors and increases development speed.
12. Version Control
Mistakes are going to happen, and you don’t want to be stuck with issues that can’t be fixed. Instead, your ETL should just allow you to roll back to a prior version and easily resolve any problems quickly.
Developer time is very expensive, so you need ETL software that works efficiently and is intuitive to understand and use. Long wait times for loading and inefficient ETL software will become very expensive, very fast if you’re not careful.
ETL software can get pretty expensive. For large corporations, cost often isn’t a factor, but for small to mid-size companies, price is a big part of the decision. There are excellent ETL options out there that offer the same, if not better features as the expensive software, but cost a fraction of the price. Look for the ETL tool which suits your needs and budget.
15. Software for developers
ETL software is used by developers, so it needs to make the life of developers easier. And users should be encouraged to provide feedback. Just collecting ideas and forcing the user to wait for months for the next release is not acceptable. The ETL supplier should listen to the customer needs and make modifications to the software promptly.
Data transformation example
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