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ETL at a glance

This article was been published more than 6months ago. The information contained herein may be outdated.

Business Intelligence, at its core, is about taking data from different sources, compiling the data into a format that can be used, and running reports on that data. The process of compiling the data is called extract, transform load; ETL for short. If you are going to work with Business Intelligence, you need to have, at the very least, a rudimentary understanding of ETL. Here’s a quick overview:

Extract means connecting to all the data sources you have, such as payroll, accounting, inventory, sales etc. (basically any system or data source that can provide you with base data for statistic analysis), and extracting the raw data.

Transform means adapting the data from their disparate formats to one where the formats are the same between datasets, to fit the needs of the business.

Load means loading the transformed data into a system designed to run reports on the data, such as a data mart or a data warehouse.

Once the data has gone through ETL, you can either run analysis to get reports from the data, or run it through ETL again to load it into a different data store.

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