As an entrepreneur, you probably want to keep track of all of your business’s details yourself. Eventually, though, your business will grow enough that you won’t be able to track all the details by yourself. You’re going to need help. This is what data integration is all about.
So many sources, so little time!
Data integration is the process by which programs like Syncsort monitor and aggregate all of the details of your business – your customers’ information, your site traffic demographics, your inventory (particularly helpful if you use a drop shipper), etc.
That probably sounds like a simple enough idea but, like most things in the IT world, it is more complicated than it first appears. For one thing, you’re probably gathering information via a variety of sources: your primary site, the site through which you sell your products, your inventory and sales databases, etc. A data integration service tracks all of those databases and aggregates the data as needed.
Why does this matter for you, the person who is still building her or his business?
Let’s say you want to expand your company to offer your customers more products that meet their needs. You can use your data integration system to figure out not just what products are already selling well but with which parts of your audience or customer pool those products are most popular.
From here, you can do a variety of things. You can reach out to those customers who don’t buy as often and find out what they’d like you to improve upon to get their sales. You can also reach out to your most frequent buyers and find out what they’d like to see you make in the future.
You can also use data integration to help make sure that you are always able to fulfill orders. The software can be set up to monitor your inventory and to take items off of your sales portal when something is out of stock. This way, you won’t have to worry about overselling things and potentially disappointing and alienating a bunch of buyers.
Yes, you can do this the long way by yourself. It’s true. But why would you spend hours and hours collating data from a bunch of different databases when you can use your data integration program to do the same task in a matter of minutes?
There are a lot of different approaches your company can take to data integration. You can use real-time integration, near-time integration, manual integration, or any of about a dozen other different methods. The method you should choose is going to depend upon the needs of your business and of your marketing department.
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer from Portland who writes about business, culture and tech topics.