Hands-On - Unlocking the Power of Your Data
Unlocking the Power of Your Data
Data and analytics are becoming the pillars of modern businesses as more and more companies realize that, in order to remain competitive, they need to become data-driven. Combine that with the disruptive impact of cloud computing and what you get is the data revolution that underpins today's most advanced and successful businesses. But just because data and analytics are important doesn’t mean that they’re easy.
- Our customer support tools can provide you with powerful, game-changing data about your customers and their interactions with your business - if you understand how to use and integrate that data. We’ll teach you how.
Being CEO - not CTO - I’ll try to be a bit more high-level with understanding the concepts of ETL. Then I will show you the Xplenty product and try to give you a big picture of - if you’re a data engineer or BI professional within an organization - how you can use a tool such as Xplenty to speed up the compilation of data and then focus on the analytics.
We are a data integration platform. While there are quite a few tools out there that do data integration, Xplenty is unique. How? It provides 4 main elements to the data integration user.
1. COVERAGE: All kinds of people use Xplenty. First, there are those looking to get data that is marketing-related from data sources like HubSpot, Marketo, Facebook Ads, Google AdWords and so on. Then, we have people from the sales ops team using Xplenty to get data out of Salesforce and NetSuite. We have people from the product team using Xplenty to get data out of Intercom, Zendesk, and other product-related data sources. And we have people from more traditional teams that are used to using data integration - the BI departments, the IT - and they use Xplenty mostly to populate data warehouse environments. So coverage is an important element of our platform.
2. USABILITY: We have also invested a lot in making the product as usable as possible to a wide range of audiences with a very wide range of skill sets. We have BI analysts who do not know how to code, and they still use Xplenty in a very easy fashion using our drag-and-drop interface. On the other end, we have developers who like to write code and they interact with our API’s and write custom codes with Xplenty.
3. CONTROL: When you use Xplenty, you can have as much control as you’d like over the process, from the source to the destination. So say, for example, that you want to get data out of my SQL instance and a Salesforce instance. In this case, you can choose exactly what data you want to move from source to destination and apply all sorts of transformations between source and destination so that it’s not just data in, data out - the data can be cleaned, manipulated and transformed. Also, you can control the frequency of the updates, or when the data will be moved and how it will be inserted into the destination.
4. OWNERSHIP: The last element of the delivery concept is all about ownership. ETL, data integration - it’s really just a different name for the same pain or headache. No one really wants to do it - it’s boring, it’s time-consuming, and it’s resource-intensive. As a company, we’ve decided to take ownership of this problem for the customer. To us, it’s not just you as a customer that needs to handle the data pipelines that are running on our platform. Instead, we have this approach where we can partner with you as a customer to make sure that your pipelines continue to operate and that the data will be delivered on a regular basis. So if something goes wrong, we’re always there for you to make sure that your data will be delivered.
By having those 4 main elements, we believe that the Xplenty platform brings a very special value proposition for our customers.
We support more than 150 integrations and connections, including:
- Relational databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL Server, Oracle
- NoSQL data stores such as MongoDB, and
- SaaS applications
So it’s a very wide variety of integrations and we keep adding more and more integrations as we go.
I think that it aligns with the fact that we have a wide coverage within an organization and the fact that we have a wide coverage in terms of the audience that we reach out to. In a similar fashion, we have a very wide range of customers: small start-ups, mid-sized businesses, companies that are part of a more modern online business - eCommerce and so on - and companies from the more traditional industries like retail and entertainment.
Q: Where do you position yourself in this universe of data integration, data cleaning, and data transformation? How do you see the need for data cleaning at the very beginning and how do you compare yourself to platforms like Trifecta?
A: So you are asking how we are different from what is called the “data wrangling” tools. You mostly use data wrangling tools when the data is already in a single place and you need to actually clean it for machine learning and other activities that you want to do. But if you want to get data in a scalable fashion from a variety of data sources, each data source may reside in a completely different environment - part of the data can be on-prem, part of the data can be in a private environment, part of the data can be in SaaS applications - then our tool caters in a much better way for this kind of integration process than data wrangling tools, which can come as a second step after Xplenty has moved the data.
Q: How do you deal with large amounts of data close to real time?
A: Xplenty, in terms of how we process the data, is a batch processing engine. It’s not real-time, not streaming. What we find is that it caters for I would say 80% of what the market actually needs. If you need something that’s closer to real-time - and we have quite a few customers who do that - we basically run jobs continuously, on a 24/7 basis. And we do support incremental updates, not just full uploads, so even if you have that, it’s really close to real-time.
If you need pure streaming capabilities, to make an immediate decision on where to place a particular ad, etc., this is not the right tool for you. But for really the vast majority of use cases, when it comes to analytics and reports, most of the market doesn’t need real-time and we can definitely achieve interactive or close to real-time data updates.
Q: What’s the biggest processing your platform can do?
A: Our platform is very scalable. We have hadoop engine running under the hood, so really as much compute power as you need from us, you will get.
Q: Can you give an example of one or two large deployments?
A: One of our largest customers is using Xplenty in the more traditional data warehouse population activities, getting data from a lot of relational databases, operational databases that store a lot of transactional data - again, billions and billions of records - complementing that data with external data sources of a lot of SaaS applications that they use, Facebook Ads, Google AdWords and so on, and they move those really big chunks of data to Redshift, partly they move to Amazon S3 and back and forth so it’s a very complex deployment.