You might not see it on the surface, but your company collects tons of data. With every visit to your website and every transaction that takes place there, you should be collecting the basic demographic information of your buyers and what they like to buy. If you sell products via your site, it’s also helpful to keep track of what people are looking at, for how long, etc. This is information you can use to build your business—it tells you what people like and what they don’t, as well as who makes up your primary customer base.
Knowing that you need to track that data is different than finding a way to actually track (and collect and store) it. For most businesses, data tracking falls into two categories: real time and near time.
Real-Time Data Integration
Real-time data integration is just what it sounds like. The program collects and aggregates the data as soon as someone does anything on your website.
Near-Time Data Integration
Near-time is data integration that happens periodically. The data is collected immediately, but it isn’t aggregated until later. You can set up your near-time data integration programs to process the data it collects every day, every hour, or even every few minutes.
So which type is right for your company? There are several factors to consider.
How much money you have to spend is going to be the biggest factor in whether you choose real-time or near time-data integration. Real-time integration doesn’t come cheap. In fact, these programs can cost quite a lot of money! It might be better for your budget to go with a near-time option and then set it up to operate as close to real time as possible to feel like you’re getting the same service.
Real-time integration has different system requirements than near-time. You will need a hardier system that is able to run this hard-disk-greedy program properly. If you don’t have the required hardware set up, you will have to upgrade the system before you implement real-time data integration.
Your Business Volume
How much business does your website and company actually do, and when? If your website gets lots of traffic and completes lots of transactions all day, real-time data integration is probably your best option. With real-time integration, you won’t have to worry about someone buying a product that has sold out in the last few minutes.
If you have a relatively low volume of sales and activity, though, near time will be enough to keep you covered and keep your customers happy.
A good idea, if you’re worried about keeping your bases covered, is to choose a company (like Syncsort, a data integration firm) that has a variety of options you can tweak to fit your company’s needs. That way, even if you start with near-time integration, if your business grows you can upgrade to real-time integration.
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