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Blog / What is data integration in real-time?

What is data integration in real-time?

Businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of data in driving informed decision-making and securing a competitive advantage. In fact, 90% of all business strategies consider data as a vital success factor. 

The success of a data-driven approach to business hinges on the quality of data, which is determined by its completeness, consistency, accuracy, and timeliness.

If your business relies on manual processes for consolidating and analyzing data, it's likely that the information guiding your business decisions isn't as timely or accurate as it could be. 

Manual data extraction, cleaning, transformation, and uploading of data can take a lot of time to complete - so it’s often not feasible to update it too frequently. It’s also a process that invites human error into the data integration process.

Automated data integration solves these problems. 

By automating the process of data integration, you can quickly pull in accurate, standardized business data for analysis.  Compared to manual data integration, using a data integration platform can be seen as ‘real-time’ data integration. 

 

‘Up to the minute’ real-time streaming data gives businesses a competitive edge ‘Up to the minute’ real-time streaming data gives businesses a competitive edge

 

However, some businesses may need to go a little bit further and enable ‘up to the minute’ real-time streaming data to have a competitive edge, where data becomes available for use as soon as it is created.

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at real-time data integration, its applications and benefits, and how to select the right tools for your business needs. 

Why real-time data integration is never truly “real-time”

The term ‘real-time data’ is used quite loosely and interchangeably within the data integration industry. It can be a little confusing - but how you choose to define ‘real time’ really depends on the needs of your business and the context.  

If you’re a business that is used to gathering data and compiling it manually every week as your ‘source of truth’, upgrading to an automated solution that regularly and automatically delivers more accurate insights on a daily basis can feel like a dream - and is likely as close to ‘real time’ as your business needs to get. 

It’s frequent and recent enough that marketing teams, data teams, and operations teams get the insight they need to make regular ‘in flight’ recommendations and adjustments during the course of each business day. 

But there are certain businesses that genuinely need data that is as close to ‘real-time’ as possible.

 

Man on phone with football celebrating - sports betting websites may need more up-to-the-minute data Sports betting websites need up-to-the-minute data
 

One example to illustrate this might be a sports betting website where live odds need to change based on the current scores. Having this data updated daily isn’t going to be ‘real time’ enough to support those business needs - this would need real-time streaming data. 

Whether your business needs real-time or near real-time data, it’s important to accept that no data integration is ever truly ‘real time’ because of a number of factors: 

Network latency

Network latency is best described as the ‘lag’ between data being transmitted, and data being received. 

Even with modern high-speed networks, there is always some latency involved in transmitting data - which can range from a few milliseconds to several seconds, depending on the network infrastructure and the distance between the data source and the data destination.

Data processing and transformation 

One of the major benefits of a data integration platform is that it not only extracts data from multiple sources, but it also transforms and standardizes it so that you have a single, unified source of truth.

However, the time required to process and transform the source data - even if it might only be a few seconds, can contribute to slight delays in achieving true real-time integration. 

Data source limitations

Each data source, whether it's a marketing platform, CRM, eCommerce solution, analytics service, or database, may have a limit on the number of API calls that can be made within a specific timeframe.

Certain data sources might also have limitations on the recency of data that’s available for export. 

As an example, if the data from a particular data source is only updated every hour, it will affect the recency of your data, even if your integration platform can fetch data in real-time.

System architecture limitations

The structure and architecture of your chosen data destination, be it a data warehouse, data lake, BI tool, or cloud storage, can impact the speed of data accessibility. 

 

Mountain lake - From data lakes or data warehouses, choosing the right architecture can help avoid delays

From data lakes or data warehouses, choosing the right architecture can help avoid delays

 

To ensure you can handle incoming real-time data without significant delays, your data destination should be scalable and efficient, tailored to the real-time data needs of your organization.

Real-time data streaming

Depending on how responsive your business needs to be, there are typically two routes of collecting real-time data. 

Fetch data

This is the solution that is used by most data integration platforms, including Adverity. 

The process of fetching data involves connecting to your business's various data sources and incrementally extracting data at agreed intervals.

Like any data platform, we’re subject to some of the limitations listed above such as certain data sources having caps on the number of API calls in a 24-hour period. But we make sure that every one of our connectors is painstakingly maintained and always up-to-date to allow your business to capture data as frequently as possible and process it in near-real time.

 

Data streaming

Data streaming is the solution that businesses are likely to need if they are reliant on ‘up to the minute’ data flowing into their business. 

It’s an approach that involves continuously collecting, processing, and analyzing data as soon as it's generated.

For the majority of businesses looking for real-time insights, data streaming isn’t necessary. The ability to access timely actionable insights, quickly respond to market shifts, and gain a competitive advantage can be achieved with a fetch data approach that’s updated on a less regular basis - say daily or weekly. 

It’s also worth noting that data streaming does require a more advanced infrastructure and skilled personnel in-house to manage and maintain it. So it’s something that businesses should carefully consider before opting for, over a more conventional data-fetching approach.

Why do we need real-time data integration?

There’s more data being generated today than at any point in history, and this is a trend that is only set to continue. 

Businesses need to adapt to the growing volume and speed of data being generated in the modern digital world, or risk being left behind. 

Manual data integration is not only error-prone, but it also doesn’t provide timely access to recent data to satisfy the needs of today's data-driven world.

By embracing automated data integration platforms with real-time data capabilities your business can unlock numerous benefits, harnessing the power of data to make more informed and timely decisions.

Advantages of using real-time data

Better decision making

Real-time data provides businesses with the most recent and relevant information to analyze and make decisions on. This allows businesses to react based on what is happening today, rather than what was happening last month. 

Quicker response time to events and changes

By having access to real-time data, businesses can respond more rapidly to events, market shifts, or anomalies as they happen. 

 

Alarm clocks - Quicker response time to events and changes

Real-time data means quicker decision-making

 

Improved customer service

By having access to real-time data, customer service teams can access the most current information to provide more personalized and timely support, improving customer satisfaction.

Have a competitive edge: 

By being able to make decisions on the latest data, businesses can respond rapidly to shifts in market conditions and improve the customer experience - access to real-time data analytics can provide businesses with a significant competitive advantage in the market and help improve overall business performance. 

By choosing a data integration platform like Adverity that processes near real-time data, your marketing team can optimize your marketing campaigns throughout the day based on the latest data. 

Imagine making campaign adjustments in the morning, reviewing the impact of those changes just after lunch, and making further optimizations if needed in the afternoon. 

Embracing real-time data helps marketing teams react quickly to campaign performance metrics and maximize return on investment.

 

Selecting the correct real-time data integration tools 

Every business is unique and is likely to have its own specific data integration requirements. 

However, most businesses would benefit from having a more real-time view of their data. This is particularly true if you're currently relying on manual data integration or an infrequent batch-processing approach to bring data into your organization.

Selecting the right real-time data integration tool for your business involves weighing up multiple considerations, such as:

  • How ‘real time’ do you need your data to be?
  • How scalable do you need your solution to be?
  • Does it fit your current infrastructure?
  • Does it connect with all your data sources? 
  • Does it fit within your budget? 
  • Does it meet relevant security and privacy requirements?
  • Is it going to be easy enough for people within your business to use?

     


    Check out our agency guide to data storytelling!


 

How can Adverity help with real-time data integration?

If you know your business needs to embrace real-time data, you’re most likely going to need a real-time automated data integration platform.

Adverity has helped businesses of all sizes streamline their data integration processes, work from a single standardized source of truth, access real-time business data, and ultimately improve their data-driven decision-making and overall business performance. 

Our comprehensive solution for real-time data integration offers:

The ability to schedule regular data fetches

Unlock real-time insights and make business decisions on the latest data, with a market-leading fetch frequency.

Seamless connectivity 

Over 600 pre-built data connectors for efficient and automatic data integration across all your data sources.

A user-friendly interface for all business users 

An intuitive interface, minimizing the learning curve and ensuring that all stakeholders across the business feel comfortable with the platform. 

Scalability

Adverity is a data integration platform that evolves with your business, adapting to your increasing data processing requirements.

Flexibility

Effortlessly connect and integrate any data source, transform and enrich your data however you need to, and load to any data destination.

Security

Robust data governance to ensure the quality, security, and compliance of your data.

Combining data from multiple sources can be complex and time-consuming - especially if you need it in real-time.  

Create a single source of truth with Adverity to automate data collection from all your data sources, transform and enrich your data, then send data wherever you need it.

Unlock the power of real-time integration now!

 

Make insights-driven decisions faster and easier!

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