The Benefits of Extract, Transform and Load (ETL)

Updated: November 15, 2010

ETL Tools


There are a number of commercial and open source ETL tools available to assist in any ETL process. Some of the prominent ones are:

  • Business Objects Data Integrator
  • Informatica PowerCenter
  • IBM InfoSphere DataStage
  • Oracle Warehouse Builder / Data Integrator
  • Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services
  • Pentaho Data Integration (Open Source)
  • Jasper ETL (Open Source)

These tools provide a number of functions to facilitate the ETL workflow. The variety of source data types are handled automatically. A transformation engine makes it easy to create reusable scripts to handle the data mapping. Scheduling and error handling are also built in.

It is particularly advantageous to use an ETL tool in the following situations:

  • When there are many source systems to be integrated
  • When source systems are in different formats
  • When this process needs to be run repeatedly (e.g. daily, hourly, real time)
  • To take advantage of pre-built warehouses/marts. Many of these exist for popular platforms such as PeopleSoft, SAP, JD Edwards.

There are also times where the overhead and cost of setting up an ETL tool might not make sense. In these situations some combination of stored procedures, custom coding and off the shelf packages may make more sense. Scenarios of this type include:

  • One time conversion of data
  • A limited number of source systems that share key identifiers
Featured Research
  • The Business Case for Updating an Aging Phone System

    You may think your business phone system is functional, but is it fully modern? In recent years, telecommunications technology has made major strides. A system that was perfectly serviceable ten years ago—or even five years ago—is now very out-of-date. more

  • 2017 ERP Buyer's Guide

    Among all of the business software applications necessary for business operations, ERP is undoubtedly one of the most important. Making the wrong selection can have a disastrous impact on your accounting, manufacturing, and supply chain. With so much at stake, it is crucial to make a well-informed decision. more

  • 2017 Contact Center Software Trends

    Did you know that, according to Forbes, 86 percent of customers will pay more for a better customer experience? Customer satisfaction is always a worthy business pursuit, but to identify customer preferences and exceed expectations, you must keep pace with innovations in the technology your customers are using. more

  • How to Select Contact Center Software in 9 Steps

    Your choice of contact center software will affect the future success of your business. Don’t leave this important decision to chance. This guide provides nine actionable steps for the selection process. more

  • [Infographic] 15 Questions to Ask When Selecting a VoIP Provider

    Deciding which phone system is right for your business can be difficult. With our VoIP technology blueprint, discover the top 15 questions you should ask VoIP vendors before you make a buying decision. more