Open Database Connectivity (ODBC)

What is ODBC?

Open Database Connectivity—or ODBC—is an application programming interface (API) that lets software connect with database management systems while remaining independent of them. This is important, because it allows applications to interact with multiple databases simultaneously using SQL (Structured Query Language).

For organizations that have multiple data streams and must store them on separate databases, ODBC offers a solution that lets them use the software they need without having to worry about which database management system they have to use.

It’s useful to think of ODBC as a peripheral driver which lets specific tools connect to a program. Much like printers require the specific instructions to allow them to connect with multiple different computers and devices, ODBC is a bridge between applications and the databases they require. Additionally ODBC allows organizations to centralize their data streams into a single application or dashboard more efficiently.

See it in action:

Call Center Analytics - Customer Service Dashboard

ODBC works by creating a link between the application and the database, taking queries from end users and translating it for database management systems to process them.

Developers connect ODBC’s API tools to database management systems by using specific drivers. Applications then call specific functions installed in these drivers to access the data they need from specific sources.

How Can I Use ODBC?

For organizations that use multiple database management systems and streams, ODBC is one of the easiest ways to centralize and manage data without having to use multiple systems at the same time. One of the clearest use cases for ODBC is for creating dashboards.

For most organizations, dashboards—even specific ones—tend to draw data from multiple internal and sometimes external sources. As such, using an ODBC connector can improve several areas of the analytics process.

Open Database Connectivity lets developers connect their existing data visualization tools to any database, greatly increasing their accuracy and depth. Companies that must constantly interact with multiple databases simultaneously for analytics can also optimize their querying ability and draw information from a broader range of sources, as well as create more granular reports.

Additionally, ODBC allows companies to sort and store their data more efficiently. Instead of forcing a single database management system to handle data it may not be optimally suited for, organizations can instead mash up multiple sources without worrying about their compatibility or accessibility.