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September 17, 2010

Data Mapping for Data Integration

Filed under: Data Integration, Data Migration, Data Synchronization, Database Integration, ETL — Katherine Vasilega @ 6:43 am

Your data sources grow together with your business. You have ERP, CRM systems, mail clients, Web forms, Excel documents and it’s getting harder to distinguish the accurate data. Data integration can solve this issue, but how do you transfer data from multiple sources in a nice and easy way? You’d probably need to deploy a system that allows automating the process of data transfer.

What is data mapping?

Data mapping is used in data integration when you need to gather information form multiple sources. Data mapping involves matching between a source and a target, e.g., two databases that contain the same data elements but call them by different names. A simple example of data mapping includes moving the value from a ‘customer name’ field in one DB to a ‘customer last name’ field in another DB. To do so, your ETL tool needs to know that you want to take the value from the source field ‘customer name’, cut out the first part (name) and leave the second part (last name), and move it to the target field ‘customer last name’. Besides, the steps of performing these operations need to be marked in the data integration process.

Data mapping tools

The modern ETL systems include the functionality of making data maps. Commonly, these are graphical mapping tools. They enable you to draw a line from one field to another, identifying the correct connection. It’s relatively easy to do if you want to, let’s say, move your contacts from the mail client to the CRM. But what if the task is more complicated, such as to move the information received through a Web contact form (first name, last name, address, phone, email, company name) to your CRM that has different fields for all these values? It will take much time to do it manually and it will take some time for you to draw a data map in your ETL tool, unless you are an IT specialist.

Open source ETL

Remember, if you are using an open source ETL tool, there is always a community behind it. People from all over the world create data maps for various purposes and make them available for free download. You can find great tools for complicated data integration tasks and use them for free. No need to draw a data map of your own, just use what has already proved to be effective. That way you can execute your data integration with no effort and money spending at all.

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