What is Data Integration – And How Do Modern R&D Organizations Approach It?

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What is Data Integration – And How Do Modern R&D Organizations Approach It?

In nearly every industry, the need for information and knowledge management is essential to innovating and competing effectively. As a result, every R&D-intensive organization is finding innovative ways to make it easy for knowledge workers to find the information they need when they need it.

That’s where the concept of data integration comes in.

Defining Data Integration

Data integration is the process of combining data from different sources to provide a unified view of the data and easier access to it.

Anyone who has purchased a cell phone is already aware of data integration, whether they realize it or not. Is this app going to work with the iOS software version on my iPhone? Will images I transfer be distorted if they’re sent to an older phone model? As “data consumers” everyone has had to learn the painful term, incompatibility.

Whether talking about your phone or your organization’s data and content, the biggest challenge of integration is combining different formats. This is also known as structured vs. unstructured data. Structured data is what’s stored in rows and columns in a relational database. All other data falls under the unstructured data definition; think emails, presentations, documents, video, audio, graphics, and web pages.

The typical data integration process includes three sub-processes: Extract, Transform and Load (ETL). First data is extracted from the different sources, and then it is transformed to bring order to the structured and unstructured data featuring different fields and even redundancies. Finally, the combined, standardized data is loaded into the new system or tool.

Why Is Data Integration Important in Today’s Digital Organizations?

Data integration is a must because it’s becoming increasingly complex for organizations to enable easy access to information. Despite advances in content aggregation and search, content silos limit the free flow of data and analytics in many organizations. Silos can stem from geographical limits to compatibility issues, to issues of privacy and rights to share information.

Most divisions and departments within a company maintain their own sets of records and data. That data and content are in multiple formats and employees sometimes need to access them using different methods or tools. In other words, employees must consult multiple sources to find all the data they need – resulting in wasted time and money. In fact, over 8 in 10 workers worldwide are forced to reaquire or recreate lost documents already in existence, according to the 2019 Global Intelligent Information Management (IIM) Benchmark report.

Knowledge managers can’t maximize the value of their digital information investments when knowledge workers can’t easily find needed data.

How CCC Integrates Data

The ideal approach maximizes an organization’s digital asset investments by unifying multiple data sources within an open integration framework, enabling knowledge workers to find the right information at the right time. To that end, CCC takes a flexible approach to integrating data, depending on the licensing scenario and technology available.

We can work with data sources that have already been enhanced by a proprietary ETL process to provide semantically enriched content across the application. We also work with internal, external and API content.

In other words, if you have information in a database or any type of structured digital data, chances are we can provide an integration path, and ultimately make it more easily searchable.

If you’d like to learn more, check out:

 

Ray Gilmartin

Author: Ray Gilmartin

Ray Gilmartin is Director of Corporate Solutions for Copyright Clearance Center. He is responsible for knowledge management products within the Corporate Business Unit including RightFind Navigate, RightFind Professional, and XML for Mining. Ray has diverse experience in providing innovative tools for the management and distribution of information across multiple industries. Before joining CCC, he served in several leadership roles at Akamai, Avid Technology, and HP after beginning his career in TV journalism roles at Hearst Broadcasting and the Christian Science Monitor. Ray holds an MBA from Boston University and resides in Massachusetts with his wife and two young children.

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