Data is in silos. Business and IT are both demanding a unified view of data to help provide solutions to today’s business challenges. Reports providing unified views on integrated data are required so people can look to information that’s crucial for their organizations and instills confidence in their ability to execute and deliver accurate information that’s critical to the company’s success.
Data, however, is spread across multiple relational systems, mainframes, filesystems, office documents, email attachments, and more. Because data isn’t integrated and businesses still require unified information, d businesses perform “swivel-chair” integrations and creating “stare and compare” reports. They query one silo and copy the results to excel, query another silo and paste data over and over. They repeat this process until they have something that represents the report they so desperately want to create. This type of reporting is slow, manual, unreliable, and error prone!
Most organizations concede that the tools and technologies that created the data silo problem can’t be used in the solution. As a result, for the last few years, we’ve seen the proliferation of NoSQL databases and technologies being deployed to help integrate data more rapidly and with more agility. While these powerful new databases and platforms can reduce time in integrating data compared to traditional methods, they are all developer-centric and bring with them another set of challenges that has to be overcome when it comes to acquiring the skills that are necessary to develop and work with these technologies. There are many hurdles inherent in this process including updating change management and business processes to succeed in delivering results.
FactGem provides a way to integrate data without writing any code. They believe that there should be an easier way to integrate data, and there is. They created it!
The engineering team at FactGem has taken on the burden of handling the complexity of integration so that business users don’t have to. Now, a data integration discussion doesn’t necessarily have to start with IT. As a result, FactGem’s data integration applications can be used to rapidly integrate disparate silos of data to deliver unified reports on previously disconnected data.
What it comes down to is that we solved this impossible problem from a tech perspective, but what we’re really providing is a business solution. CEO Megan Kvamme
When integrating data, they start with the assumption your data has already been modeled. Very smart people in your organization, and likely the vendors from whom you purchased applications and solutions, created these models. The entities and relationships you care about and want to unify live in your data silos. They look like customers, orders, transactions, products, product lines, providers, facilities, and more. They want to unlock the data in these entities and unify them into a report that delivers meaningful business insights. With FactGem, this is a simple task.
If you can draw the entities and relationships for your organization on a whiteboard, you can use FactGem to integrate your data. It’s that simple.
To integrate data with FactGem, start with WhiteboardR. In this application, drag and drop entities and relationships to create the logical model for integrated data by “whiteboarding” it in the browser. In WhiteboardR, define which attributes you want to associate with each entity, and you only have to model what you need, as you need it. You don’t have to know every attribute associated with every entity before you start. You don’t have to know all the silos and sources you ultimately want to integrate. The best practice is to start by creating a model for a few silos that you know can provide a unified report — and immediate value to your business. Map out your entities, their attributes, and their relationships to each other. You can even create business rules to define what makes an entity unique and what the cardinality of its relationship should be with regard to other related entities. Once this model is created, you deploy the model so that it can be used in MappR.
While WhiteboardR lets you use an application to define an integrated, unified, enterprise-wide business model, MappR allows you to map different unique silos of data to a unified WhiteboardR model. In MappR, you can sample a data source and start to create mappings. Let’s say that in a source from one silo you have an attribute cust_id and in another silo, you have an attribute member_id, and you know these both refer to a customer. With MappR, you can map both these attributes to the unified attribute customer_id you’ve already defined in the unified WhiteboardR model. As soon as you map the attributes you care about for a source, MappR can then import files from that silo and it will be automatically integrated into the WhiteboardR model and is immediately queryable in a unified view. You can continue to map sources and ingest data in this way until you’ve integrated the data you want for your unified view.
With WhiteboardR and MappR, you can even save, version, and export the models you create. These models have value in that they become the decoder ring for helping the business and IT communicate their understanding of the organization’s data, how it should be used, and how it is being used across silos. These models can also be used to help inform new data deployments and re-platforming initiatives to help guarantee their success.
Once data has been loaded, BuildR allows you to rapidly create a simple, queryable dashboard across your unified data in the browser. ConnectR lets you deploy a web data connector for Tableau and other BI tools so that you can also leverage these tools for reporting on your now-unified data.
Because FactGem does the heavy lifting of data integration, and because you only have to model and map what you need, as you need it, data integration and delivery of insight is incredibly fast. What does this look like in real life?
Here’s What a Normal FactGem Data Integration Looks Like:
Last summer, a Fortune 500 Retailer approached Factgem, asking for help because they were using a giant CRM and pulling data from other places to try to get insight. Their Chief Data Scientist needed to easily combine stores, e-commerce and customer data warehouse information to understand “Who is the customer?”
FactGem promised delivery in 24 hours. They built a linked model across all stores and customers, exposed new insights, and did it in 6 hours, not 24! And so . . . Customer #1 in retail was born. They have moved from looking at a single city in 6 hours to looking across the country, over thousands of stores, tens of millions of customers and terabytes of data — and doing this all in a day’s work. Others in retail, financial services, and manufacturing are also now starting to see and realize the benefits of FactGem in their organizations.
Technology has progressed to the point where it should no longer be the sole purview of engineers. Modern data integration is not as hard as your IT department would like you to believe. CTO Clark Richey
FactGem’s WhiteboardR module connects disparate data sources without the use of any code.