The Anatomy of an Effective ETL Process

Emma Kessinger

April 13th , 2020

You know the value of ETL. You know you’re ready to invest in it. But you may not know how the rubber meets the road: What does an ETL process look like, and what are the key things to think about when building one?

ETL’s acronym provides the thousand-foot process view: For a program to extract, transform, and load your data; it needs to know what data to ingest, what format that data should be in, and where to store the converted information. 

But while that general process applies to all ETL services and data types, there’s more to the story. 

Key Parts of the ETL Process

To best understand the ETL Process, it’s important to take it step-by-step, starting with:

Extraction

The first part of ETL is the “E”: extraction. Simply put, extraction is about getting your data from disparate sources — Hubspot, Facebook, Google, Five9 — and moving it towards one location. 

While it may sound simple, large-scale extraction is very difficult to do without the right tool. Different sources may format their data in different ways or using different structures. ETL platforms can get data in any number of formats without a hitch, making your life much easier in the process. 

Since APIs can vary across the internet, you need an ETL tool that can deal with large numbers of different authentication methods and data architectures. An ETL platform should be able to get your data out of where it’s currently stored, no matter the protocol. 

Transformation

Once you have your data extracted, it needs to be transformed into a common, functional format. Transformation typically involves the following steps: 

 

  • Naming: Data needs to be identified in order to be understood. Extracted data needs to be clearly renamed so that it can be parsed properly for further use down the line.

 

  • Cleaning: Depending on the data’s format and source, it can be full of unwanted characters and inconsistent timing formats. Cleaning the data involves making sure your data is uniform and usable.

 

  • Deduplicating: Deduplicating cuts down on any copies of your data that might have been made before or during the extraction process. It prevents the double counting of important facts and figures.

 

  • Structuring: Getting data into a consistent structure is the most technically-intensive part of ETL, requiring extensive programming in order to happen properly. Once your data is properly structured, it’s ready to be moved to its final location.

Loading

Loading is the process of moving data into your data warehouse where it can be examined and used for various purposes. Once your data is loaded, the ETL process is over. 

A data warehouse is a central repository of structured data from one or more sources. Generally, large amounts of data collected over time is kept in a data warehouse. The purpose of a data warehouse is to provide info so you can make informed decisions based on actual data and trends.  Data warehouses are incredibly useful as they can be mined using business intelligence tools where data from multiple sources can be compared, aggregated, sliced-and-diced, pivoted and charted.

ETL is at the core of getting your data to work for you by getting it into your data warehouse, but that doesn’t mean it requires no effort on your part — ETL processes often require programmers and expensive tools. Thankfully, ETLrobot can manage and automate most of the difficult parts of the process for you. If you want data to be the core of your competitive advantage, your ETL process needs to reflect that. Check out ETLrobot for an immediate and affordable solution to your data problems.

FROM
OUR BLOG

9 | Sep

APIs: What They Are and How to Work With Them

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

When businesses start moving into the world of big data, it can be tempting only to think about how ...

13 | Aug

Supercharge Your Sales Strategy With Stripe ETL

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

For the first time last year, e-commerce claimed a tenth of total retail sales. Whether you do the m...

6 | Aug

4 Ways ETL Can Make Mailchimp Data Go Further

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

These days, digital marketing is a must. But we’re not all expert programmers, and smaller compani...

27 | Jul

ETL Can Make Salesforce Data Shine. Here’s How.

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

When it comes to customer relationship management, you can’t go wrong with Salesforce. The company...

8 | Jul

How ETL Can Light the Way on LinkedIn Insights

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

LinkedIn is not merely a networking platform where professionals make connections. It also gives com...

25 | Jun

4 Tips for Tweaking Your App With Apple App Store ETL

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

Apps have been making our lives easier since the Apple App Store first opened to the public in 2008....

12 | Jun

3 Ways to Win With ETL and Google Analytics

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

With Google Analytics, website owners can see where their visitors are coming from, how they arrived...

29 | May

Get Smart with ETL for GitHub

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

In January 2020, GitHub reportedly had over 40 million users and more than 100 million repositories....

12 | May

3 Tips to Get More Value From Your Google Ads

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

Google Ads, not to be confused with Google Analytics, is one of the most helpful ETL integrations. G...

27 | Apr

Understanding the Legwork for Data Visualization 

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

The 21st century has been hailed as the “Age of Information,” and it’s not hard to see why —...

2 | Apr

3 Ways ETL Can Strengthen Your Shopify Site

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

One of the most popular e-commerce tools out there is Shopify. But how do clients like Budweiser, Gy...

18 | Mar

5 Ways to Unlock New Value From HubSpot Data

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

No modern marketing platform is as popular as HubSpot. But without processes like ETL, it’s tough ...

3 | Mar

How to Maximize Your Qualtrics ETL Integration

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

Qualtrics offers a customizable survey software solution. With more than 9,000 clients, Qualtrics he...

18 | Feb

How to Use Five9’s ETL Integration to the Fullest

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

Cloud contact centers are the future of customer service. But without an ETL tool like ETLrobot, you...

6 | Feb

7 Questions For Finding the Right ETL Tool For You

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

ETL — which stands for extract, transform, and load — is one of the most common ways for busines...

20 | Jan

8 Data Security Questions to Ask For Your Business

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

Businesses that deal in physical goods go to great lengths to protect their products, so why shouldn...

9 | Jan

What Dirty Data Looks Like

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

Companies are being forced to process and parse more data than ever, and that kind of deluge can lea...

21 | Dec

5 Signs That It’s Time to Invest in ETL

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

How much more data does your business generate than it did in 2016? Twice as much? Ten times as much...

10 | Dec

Do More With Data: 4 Reasons to Use ETLrobot

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

By 2020, the Big Data market is projected to grow to twice the size it was just five years ago. Inve...

5 | Dec

6 Data Skills Every Employee Should Have 

Posted By: Emma Kessinger

In 2017, The Economist ruled that data has become the world’s most valuable commodity, even beatin...

Copyright © 2020 ETLrobot. All rights reserved. Privacy Terms