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November 29, 2010

ETL Tools: Functionality and Ease of Use

Filed under: ETL — Katherine Vasilega @ 8:21 am

I continue with helping you evaluate ETL tools. On the dawn of data integration, ETL tools were supposed to be used by IT people. Today, they have to be managed by business users. At the same time, the increasing complexity of data sets requires ETL tools to have many sophisticated functions and features. So what is the right combination of functionality and ease of use?

Here are some core features that are a must for modern ETL tools:

    • The ability to deal with multiple data formats
    • Built-in analysis functionality allowing the examination of source data
    • Built-in data transformation functions
    • Support for data quality checking
    • Support for cleansing functionality
    • Metadata support that provides for creating business rules
    • Task scheduling functionality
    • Error tracking and logging

The following functionality is required for ETL tools to be leveraged by business users:

    • GUI interface that enables to drag and drop data elements from the source to the target
    • Intuitive interface for building data maps
    • Easy management of data maps
    • The ability to manipulate data either inside or outside the target database
    • Comprehensive user manuals and demos

In addition, it is a good idea to avoid purchasing ETL tools, which are difficult to troubleshoot and maintain. Remember, that you should define your master data requirements and data integration goals before selecting an ETL tool.

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