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How Fivetran Transformations Streamlines the Move to ELT

July 22, 2021
Nick Amabile

How Fivetran Transformations Bridges the Gap in Modern Data Analytics

In recent years, technology has revolutionized how your business information is stored and analyzed. But bringing your data pipeline together remains a complex undertaking.

The flexibility of cloud storage has facilitated a shift from the traditional Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) paradigm. Now, organizations are moving toward the efficiency gains of an Extract, Load, and Transform (ELT) process. With the right tools, your team can select the data sources it needs and copy them into your data warehouse. Along with improving costs and performance, ELT also retains your raw data for future analysis rather than throwing it away.

However, the “last mile” between your raw data and the transformation it needs before analysis has always been the hardest.

How Fivetran Brings Your Data Goals Within Reach

Review our solutions brief for more insights into what Fivetran can do and how it can transform your data pipeline.

Fivetran is a proven way to copy the raw data you need and move it into a data warehouse. In terms of your data architecture, your team had the right tool in place to execute the extract and load processes they needed. But the critical transformation piece of the puzzle was essentially left up to you. Not only did this gap introduce a new tool and additional layer of complexity, it usually constituted another vendor contract to manage.

Fivetran Transformations Closes a Gap in the Shift from ETL to ELT

To complete the final step in ELT, you need data engineers to transform raw data into a format open to queries.

Alternatively, your team could incorporate a tool like Airflow to transform your data. But you still need to dedicate time and expertise for your analytics platform to generate useful insights from your raw data.

Fivetran Transformations brings your data pipeline into alignment. With the relatively new addition of the “T” in the software’s services, your organization can access insights that much faster. Rather than needing complex programming for your business intelligence platform to process your data, Fivetran’s capabilities puts your analysts in the driver’s seat.

For all the advances made possible by shifting your architecture to ELT, your analysts remained dependent on data engineers. With the addition of transformation capabilities, Fivetran brings the full process under one roof. Plus, it affords your organization the flexibility of knowing your raw data is still accessible should your analytics needs change.

How Fivetran Empowers Data Analysts and Frees Data Engineers

Fivetran simplifies the ELT process so your analysts have ready access to the data they need. Rather than needing an additional tool or support, analysts can gather data into your data warehouse on a set schedule. And Fivetran eliminates the need for your analysts to reinvent the wheel with each query.

For example, imagine your business needs to analyze its AdWords data on a regular basis. With a simple setup process, Fivetran will automatically extract the data at the end of each day, hour, or every five minutes – whatever frequency your business requires. Once your team checks a box and adds your account information, the software will drop it into a data warehouse in a way that’s ready for analysis in an analytics tool.

Prior to Fivetran, accessing AdWords data required your team to write an API integration to access the system’s data. Every time your team needed to work on a project, you would need to code to access this time-sensitive data. And, if the API ever changed, you would then have to update all your code to make sure the updates were being captured correctly.

With Fivetran Transformations, a process that once took days or even weeks is complete in minutes. Plus, its robust system allows for retries and alert monitoring to verify each step of the ELT process is error-free.

Along with freeing your data engineers from writing hours of code, Fivetran allows your analysts to generate reports much faster. As a result, your data team has more time to focus on strategic initiatives instead of being mired in time-consuming, demanding work.

Integrating Data Build Tool (dbt) Ensures Flexibility in Fivetran Transformations

By automatically running ELT processes your business needs, Fivetran acts as a faster, lighter-weight version of Airflow. But that compact structure comes at a cost. If your organization has multiple internal and external data sources, Fivetran may not have automatic connections to those tools already in place.

To save engineer development time, Fivetran incorporates pre-built SQL models using open source technology. The software integrates with the widely adopted transformation tool dbt, which delivers access to a powerful library of resources to satisfy your needs. Using dbt, your teams are able to primarily create queries for SaaS applications, databases, and events in SQL. Other transformation tools typically require you learn different programming languages.

The dominant use of SQL with dbt also lowers the barriers to entry for your team to iterate on new transformations. In the event your organization needs to access more complex datasets outside of dbt, you or your data partner can also use Airflow to manage your data pipeline. While Airflow is a more complex system, Fivetran is flexible enough to integrate with that platform as well.

Fivetran Transformations Streamlines Your Data Stack—and More

Even if yours is a small company that’s just beginning to modernize its data program, Fivetran supplies an effective solution for your needs. Given the investment of time and money required to create custom API integrations between your data sources and your data warehouse, Fivetran provides a much-needed shortcut.

But beyond providing an efficient solution for otherwise code-heavy projects, Fivetran also incorporates a vital level of maintenance. The tool incorporates an assortment of robust enterprise features that enable you to log and monitor processes and ensure your system is running correctly.

More than just transporting and transforming your data, Fivetran offers an additional layer of management as well. In a rapidly changing business climate, Fivetran Transformations bridges the gap between your data and the timely insights you need to stay competitive.

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