Some Organizations Still Struggle with Data Basics

Loraine Lawson
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Five Ways to Use Data to Be More Relevant to Customers

The industry is so focused right now on Big Data and the Internet of Things that it’s hard to write about anything else. But it’s important to remember that some organizations are still struggling with more basic data problems.

Government Technology recently published a contributed piece about Lodi, California, a town of about 60,000 people and a $350 million wine industry.

Jay Mishra, VP of development at Astera Software, wrote the piece, and it’s pretty obvious he’s promoting the company’s own ETL solution.


Still, the piece also serves as a reminder that many organizations are struggling with the basics.

This town had a data problem, but it wasn’t a “big data” or “streaming data” problem. In fact, it’s pretty mundane as data problems go these days: Key systems were developed as silos.

The local IS division had limped along for years with a Microsoft Access database and hand coding. As their systems grew and became more heterogeneous, that simple approach became more and more burdensome and time-consuming.

They didn’t need MDM or predictive analytics. To solve this problem, Lodi needed an ETL (extract, transform and load) software solution with a built-in scheduler for automating that work. It’s not exactly snazzy and hip, but it works.

“The city is now able to share information and connect with its customers more efficiently thanks to its ability to rapidly and securely share information,” writes Mishra. “For example, the data integrator is used to create files from the databases that become source files for web pages, for both internal and external customers.”

It may be just boring old ETL, but its use supported a greater business goal: sharing data between divisions and with the public, without compromising security concerns. Mishra notes that the city was even able to make business licenses and public utility account information available online.

For end-user companies, Lodi’s experience shows that automating data integration can pay real business dividends. If you’re still hand-coding integration, you might want to consider the business case for investing in a data integration solution, particularly if you’re hand-coding to the cloud.



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