Your Easy Guide to Data Mapping

A simple guide to help you choose which BI and analytics platform offers the best data mapping tools for your needs

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Data Mapping:
A Definition

Data mapping is the process of matching data from one database to another. It involves organizing data by matching fields from data sources to target fields in other data sources or repositories such as data warehouses. It’s vital to successful data management and effective analysis, and it’s the key to extracting the best insights for your organization.

Organizations of all types and sizes collect, hold and generate an ever-growing volume of data, which is organized in disparate ways and comes in numerous formats. Some of it defines the same or similar data points in different ways. So, before it can be analyzed, it needs to be homogenized and consolidated. Only then can data be integrated, migrated and synchronized seamlessly between systems and sources, or easily extracted for analysis.

For instance, names in one source may be listed by surname followed by forename. In another, this order might be inverted. To combine or compare these datasets effectively, and to keep your data accurate once you’ve amalgamated it, this kind of difference needs to be addressed. That’s where data mapping is necessary. Inevitably, as the amount of data and its sources increase, the more complex data mapping becomes, and the more necessary it is to have automated mapping tools to handle big data sets. Without it, your data may become confused, disorganized, corrupted and inaccurate, and you’ll find it harder to get the most out of it when you’re migrating, integrating, transforming and warehousing it. Here’s an overview of the benefits of data mapping, some of the key steps involved in successful data mapping, and what attributes you should look for in a good data mapping tool.

The Benefits

Why data mapping is essential for your organization.

Data mapping is critical for ensuring that you get the most comprehensive, precise and valuable results from your BI and analytics. Meticulous data mapping enables you to be confident that the decisions you make for your organization are derived from insights based on the best and most thorough data available. The benefits are as follows:

  • Optimizes availability of data for analysis
  • Expedites and accelerates connections between data sources – on-premises and in the Cloud
  • Streamlines data management processes
  • Elevates data quality and integrity
  • Reduces risk of data errors, oversights and repetition during data management and analytics
  • Increases accuracy and efficiency of BI and analytics
  • Enhances reporting capabilities
  • Accelerates time to insights
  • Extracts more, and better insights
  • Improves and streamlines decision-making and planning
  • Enhances data governance, security and compliance
  • Improves data sharing and collaboration between internal and external stakeholders
  • Increases efficiency of business operations
  • Improves cost-effectiveness
  • Boosts competitive advantage

Data Mapping Tools

As our world has become increasingly data-driven, so the ways of mapping data have multiplied. The best methods provide you with the capacity and flexibility to handle Big Data from the greatest variety of sources. As your organization grows, so does the need for increasingly versatile data mapping, and you need to decide how data mapping fits in with your larger data strategy, in particular, do you do the mapping yourself, on-premises, or use other open source and cloud-based tools. It’s therefore important to consider the main types of tools, establish which of them are most suited to your current and future requirements, and which BI and analytics software can provide you with the data mapping tools that are right for your needs.

On-premises data mapping

Taking your data mapping in-house and implementing it on-premises may be most appropriate for big organizations, where security and speed are very high priorities. This normally relies on additional software and support from your IT team, and comparatively, costs are higher.

On premises data mapping
Open source data mapping

Open-source data mapping

Open-source data mapping is more cost-effective than on-premises data mapping, although it tends to be better suited to smaller and simpler data sets. Anything more complex or larger may experience performance issues. It’s important to be mindful that implementing open source mapping tools normally requires coding.

Cloud-Based data mapping

Perhaps the most advanced and flexible type of data mapping, cloud-based tools enable you to store and get data from any source and any format quite simply, map and modify data in real-time. Expert set-up and support are needed to get the full benefit from cloud-based tools.

Cloud Based data mapping

Key Data Mapping Considerations

Is the data mapping future-proofed in Your Choice of BI and Analytics Platform?

The amount of data you need to manage, and the number of connected devices generating data, is rapidly growing, so it’s vital that the data mapping capability in your BI and analytics platform can handle your current data, and a massive increase in data that you can expect.

Is your data mapping comprehensive?

The more data there is, the more formats it can have. Make sure your data mapping supports a wide range of formats. In additional to basic file types like Excel, delimited text files, XML, JSON, and EBCDIC, ensure that it can handle other common formats like SQL Server, Sybase, Oracle and DB2. And your mapping tool should also handle enterprise software like SAP, SAS, Marketo and others, plus data from cloud services and the leading cloud-based data warehouses.

Is It scalable?

As your organization grows, you should be sure that your data mapping capability can grow with you. It’s important that you have the power and technology for scaling up, in terms of being able to map larger quantities and increasing varieties of data, without extra infrastructure.

Is It flexible and agile?

Your data mapping should also be adept at handling other changes, to meet changing demands quickly. From granular customization of functionality to adapting to new requirements and driving shorter times-to-insights, it should ensure performance regardless of the challenges ahead.

Does your BI and analytics platform meet your data mapping needs?

Ideally, your choice should precisely meet your requirements, so consider how well your choice of platform architecture can be customized. With the right platform, customization is simple, and even the most in-depth changes can be handled with ease. So, make sure that the platform you choose is purpose-built for developers so they can reduce development time; and is able to embed analytics into your products and services. Sisense’s technology can be used for terabyte scale data and analytics, and to serve multiple users concurrently, enabling a single commodity server to deliver the same data processing power as much larger clusters.

Is Your Data mapping capability user-friendly?

To maximize the value that you get from your data and your BI platform, it should empower more users across your organization to map, then analyze, visualize and act on business data. Can it automate repetitive tasks? Does it offer coding-free drag and drop functionality that enables non-technical users to match fields quickly and transform data easily? Plus, your platform should enable AI throughout so that it learns from your users and data to solve problems intuitively.

What do the Analysts Say About Data Mapping Tools?

See how the leading vendors of data mapping tools and analytics stack up in the most respected industry analyst reports:


Value delivered, early innovation, and customer success are what make us the leading Visionary in the Magic Quadrant.
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Sisense earned top rankings from customers for ease of use, ease of doing business with and quality of support.
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“Overall Leader” for customer experience and credibility with high scores for value & integrity put us consistently above the rest.
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Compare the Top Data Mapping Tools

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a data mapping tool, but a lot to be gained by making the right decision. So, in addition to the overview you’ve seen so far, look at these comparisons between Sisense and the other leading data mapping tools, to see why you should choose Sisense:

Sisense vs Alternatives

Why Choose Sisense?

Developers, cloud data teams, and analysts from some of the world’s leading companies and global enterprises use the power of Sisense to effortlessly combine complex data from a variety of sources and build analytics apps that deliver insights to everyone in the organization.

These power users, plus business users from a wide range of functions, are what we identify as the builders of your strategy. Sisense gives them the power to identify, analyze, and visualize the data that influence the course of your organization, with powerful decision-making capabilities that are potentially game-changing.

Power to the Builders

The Sisense BI and analytics platform dramatically accelerates the time it takes to build, embed, and deploy intelligent analytics apps that unleash user creativity and engagement. Whether it’s interactive dashboards, self-service analytics, or white-labeled BI apps, Sisense delivers the industry’s lowest TCO at scale, all on a hybrid-cloud platform designed to leverage all your data together, no matter where it is.

Insights for Everyone

Sisense empowers your users to make decisions and challenge assumptions by equipping them with the insights they need, when and where they need them. We help everyone in your organization drive change and build the business using innovations in AI and ML that deliver BI with more impact than you ever thought possible.

Rated #1 in Customer Success by our Customers

It’s not just what we do, it’s how we do it. It takes more than patented technology to make your business successful. You need the product to work in your network, with your requirements, under your constraints. And that’s when our customer-centric culture kicks in. We work with you on every installation, every upgrade, and every project to make sure you feel the value of your BI platform in your business. Sisense scores consistently above the overall sample and is the leader in terms of customer experience and vendor credibility.

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