Raw data can be overwhelming, inaccessible, and downright unusable. If you want meaningful insights, the information you analyze needs to be structured. This is what data transformation provides. Transforming data is the process of altering it to make it easier to understand. This alteration may be:
- Constructive: adding, copying, and replicating data
- Destructive: deleting fields and records
- Aesthetic: standardizing salutations or names
- Structural: renaming, moving, and combining columns in a database
With traditional on-premises data warehouses, transformation is part of an ETL process (extract, transform, load), which can be quite time-consuming. However, modern cloud-based data warehouses and lakes can scale compute and storage resources with latency measured in less than a minute. This means you can load raw data directly into the warehouse or lake, and transform it at a later query time (ELT), saving big on time and headaches.
The Benefits of Transforming Data
Transforming data is a vital step in gaining meaningful insights that you can use to solve business challenges and make better decisions. Transformed data is easier for both humans and computers to analyze. Simply put, transforming your data makes it usable, offering the following benefits:
- Better-organized data is easier to understand
- Formatted and validated data improves data quality
- Structured data ensures compatibility between systems
Once the data has been transformed, not only will you have facilitated more effective data analytics, but you will be well on your way to data-driven decision-making that will optimize every aspect of your business and operations.
Following transformation, data can be modeled into meaningful analytics from which you can gain valuable insights. You will also be better positioned for the future, as these analytics can be used to drive new technologies such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), which rely on having a strong data analytics backbone. Build predictive models and What If simulators to forecast outcomes that were once unknowable. Automate to optimize operations. Build and test machine learning models and drive AI solutions. It all starts here. (For more about advanced analytics, be sure to follow up on our next article, about engaging with data).
But what does it mean, exactly, to be positioned for the future? What does data transformation look like in action? Let’s explore a recent success story below, through the lens of this important step.
The Value of Expert Support
As demonstrated above, having expert support will help you ensure that the transformations performed are of value to your specific situation and goals. Having gone through a discovery session and the ingestion phase with you, experts are equipped to make better decisions about tools/components, storage, and format. Transformation can be time consuming, resource-heavy, and costly, especially when dealing with on-premise systems. But having the right support will mean saving on time and resources, and ensuring the solution suits both your budget and business needs.
One key ingredient to an efficient and cost-effective transformation phase, is using a cloud-based data platform. Performing transformations in an on-premise warehouse after loading (ELT) can over-burden the system, slowing down other operations. Cloud-based warehouses and lakes, however, allow you to transform after loading (ELT), because the platform’s scalability means you can always meet demand.
Building on our 20+ years of experience getting businesses data-driven and AI-ready, Lixar has developed a cloud-based modern data platform, HeroPath, that makes ingesting, transforming, and engaging with data quick, easy, and cost-effective.
Getting Started with HeroPath
HeroPath is a fully managed, cloud-based, modern data platform. Its scalability and flexibility for today and tomorrow allows you to optimize every step of your data journey, fueled by best-in-class Microsoft components, that can be customized to meet your specific business needs. Our unique approach ensures that we understand your goals and help you achieve them by: 1) ingesting the right data; 2) transforming it using the right components, and 3) allowing you to engage with it through interactive visualizations. Moreover, our accelerated infrastructure means your pipeline can be ready in a day, rather than weeks or months.
At its core, transforming data is an artful calculation of knowing the right components to use at the right time. For advanced analytics-focused organizations, this may mean leveraging Databricks, which can be scaled up and down as required. When it comes to storage, transformation, and modeling, our experts will help you select the best-in-class tools that are best suited to your needs. This modern DevOps approach understands that transformation is a process, and having the right tools is essential to building your data-driven future.
For more information about our data solutions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about the HeroPath Journey, check out our past article on Data Ingestion, and stay tuned for an upcoming article on Engaging with Data.