Top 10 Best Practices for Data Integration - Slide 5

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Next Data integration is the repurposing of data via transformation-5 Next

Data integration is the repurposing of data via transformation

True DI is about transforming data, as the T in ETL reminds us. The transformation can be simple, as when a federated table join changes source schema into a common data model so the tables can be merged. A transformation may also be complex, as when a legacy data set is completely remodeled during its migration to a modern database platform. Hence, DI is defined primarily by how it transforms data. But the access, copy, and transfer of data are secondary, as are the details of an individual DI solution, such as interface types and their speed or frequency of operation (based on data latency requirements).

Transforming data is a technical task that supports a business goal—namely, repurposing data for a business use that differs from the one for which the data originated. When defining DI, stay focused on the value proposition seen in transforming and repurposing data; avoid definitions that stress the secondary access, copy, and transfer of data.

The data management discipline known as data integration (DI) has undergone an impressive expansion over the last decade. Today it has reached a critical mass of multiple techniques used in diverse applications and business contexts. Vendor products have achieved maturity; users have grown their DI teams to epic proportions; competency centers regularly staff DI work; and DI as a discipline has earned its autonomy from related practices like data warehousing and database administration.

Given all this change, it’s not surprising that people in the field might not be up to speed on the current incarnation of DI. Even DI specialists and the colleagues who depend on them sometimes forget the new techniques, diversity, independence, collaboration, and governance typical of modern DI practices. Many suffer misconceptions and out-of-date mindsets that need adjustment.

The 10 practices in this slideshow, from a TDWI report sponsored by SAS, paint a modern landscape of current DI practices. They also bust a few DI myths that are still too common. Moreover, they raise the bar on DI, showing how sophisticated and powerful a DI solution can be—at least when DI is driven by modern best practices using up-to-date tools.

If you let it all soak in, this checklist  will redefine DI for you and your peers. And it will help you set higher goals and aspirations for DI work and its outcome. The practices listed here can be the guidelines that help you achieve more modern, high-value, diverse, independent, well-designed, far-reaching, green, collaborative, and well-governed uses of DI tools and techniques.

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