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6 Best Data Orchestration Tools to Transform Your Business

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6 Best Data Orchestration Tools to Transform Your Business

Data exists everywhere!

We use data every day — in different forms — to make informed decisions. It could be through counting your steps on a fitness app or tracking the estimated delivery date of your package. In fact, the data volume from internet activity alone is expected to reach an estimated 180 zettabytes by 2025.

Companies use data the same way but on a larger scale. They collect information about their targeted audiences through different sources, such as websites, CRM, and social media. This data is then analyzed and shared across various teams, systems, external partners, and vendors.

With the large volumes of data they handle, organizations need a reliable automation tool to process and analyze the data before use. Data orchestration tools are one of the most important in this process of software procurement.

What is Data Orchestration and Data Pipelines

Data orchestration is an automated process of data pipeline workflow. To break it down, let’s understand what goes on in a data pipeline.

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Data moves from its raw state to a final form within the pipeline through a series of ETL workflows. ETL stands for Extract-Transform-Load. The ETL process collects data from multiple sources (extracts), cleans and packages the data (transforms), and saves the data to a database or warehouse (loads) where it is ready to be analyzed. Before this, data engineers had to create, schedule, and manually monitor the progress of data pipelines. But with data orchestration, each step in the workflow is automated.

Data orchestration is collecting and organizing siloed data from multiple data storage points and making it accessible and prepared for data analysis tools. With this automation act, businesses can streamline data from numerous sources to make calculated decisions.

The data orchestration pipeline is a game-changer in the data technology environment. The increase in cloud adoption from today’s data-driven company culturehas pushed the need for companies to embrace data orchestration globally.

Why is Data Orchestration Important

Data orchestration is the solution to the time-consuming management of data, giving organizations a way to keep their stacks connected while data flows smoothly.

“Data orchestration provides the answer to making your data more useful and available. But ultimately, it goes beyond simple data management. In the end, orchestration is about using data to drive actions, to create real business value.”

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— Steven Hillion, Head of Data at Astronomer

As activities in an organization increase with the expansion of the customer base, it becomes challenging to cope with the high volume of data coming in. One example can be found in marketing. With the increased reliance on customer segmentation for successful campaigns, multiple sources of data can make it difficult to separate your prospects with speed and finesse.

Here’s how data orchestration can help:

  • Disparate data sources. Data orchestration automates the process of gathering and preparing data coming from multiple sources without introducing human error.
  • Breaks down silos. Many businesses have their data siloed, which can be a location, region, an organization, or a cloud application. Data orchestration breaks down these silos and makes the data accessible to the organization.
  • Removes data bottlenecks. Data orchestration eliminates the bottlenecks arising from the downtime of analyzing and preparing data due to the automation of this process.
  • Enforces data governance. The data orchestration tool connects all your data systems across geographical regions with different rules and regulations regarding data privacy. It ensures that the data collected complies with GDPR, CCPA, etc., laws on ethical data gathering.
  • Gives faster insights. Automating each workflow stage in the data pipeline using data orchestration gives data engineers and analysts more time to draw and perform actionable insights, to enable data-based decision-making.
  • Provides real-time information. Data can be extracted and processed the moment it is created, giving room for real-time data analysis or data storage.
  • Scalability. Automation of the workflow helps organizations scale data use through synchronization across data silos.
  • Monitoring the workflow progress. With data orchestration, the data pipeline is equipped with alerts to identify and amend issues as quickly as they occur.

Best Tools Data Orchestration Tools

Data orchestration tools clean, sort, arrange and publish your data into a data store. When choosing marketing automation tools for your business, two main things come to mind: what they can do and how much they cost.

Let’s look at some of the best ETL tools for your business.

1. Shipyard

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Shipyard is a modern data orchestration platform that helps data engineers connect and automate tools and build reliable data operations. It creates powerful data workflows that extract, transform, and load data from a data warehouse to other tools to automate business processes.

The tool connects data stacks with up to 50+ low-code integrations. It orchestrates work between multiple external systems like Lambda, Cloud Functions, DBT Cloud, and Zapier. With a few simple inputs from these integrations, you can build data pipelines that connect to your data stack in minutes.

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Some of Shipyard’s key features are:

  • Built-in notifications and error-handling
  • Automatic scheduling and on-demand triggers
  • Share-able, reusable blueprints
  • Isolated, scaling resources for each solution
  • Detailed historical logging
  • Streamlined UI for management
  • In-depth admin controls and permissions

Pricing:

Shipyard currently offers two plans:

  • Developer — Free
  • Team — Starting from $50 per month

2. Luigi

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Developed by Spotify, Luigi builds data pipelines in Python and handles dependency resolution, visualization, workflow management, failures, and command line integration. If you need an all-python tool that takes care of workflow management in batch processing, then Luigi is perfect for you.

It’s open source and used by famous companies like Stripe, Giphy, and Foursquare. Giphy says they love Luigi for “being a powerful, simple-to-use Python-based task orchestration framework”.

Some of its key features are:

  • Python-based
  • Task-and-target semantics to define dependencies
  • Uses a single node for a directed graph and data-structure standard
  • Light-weight, therefore, requires less time for management
  • Allows users to define tasks, commands, and conditional paths
  • Data pipeline visualization

Pricing:

Luigi is an open-source tool, so it’s free.

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3. Apache Airflow

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If you’re looking to schedule automated workflows through the command line, look no further than Apache Airflow. It’s a free and open-source software tool that facilitates workflow development, scheduling, and monitoring.

Most users prefer Apache Airflow because of its open-source community and a large library of pre-built integrations to third-party data processing tools (Example: Apache Spark, Hadoop). The greater flexibility when building workflows is another reason why this is a customer favorite.

Some of its key features are:

  • Easy to use
  • Robust integrations with data cloud stacks like AWS, Microsoft Azure
  • Streamlines UI that monitors, schedules, and manages your workflows
  • Standard python features allow you to maintain total flexibility when building your workflows
  • Its latest version, Apache Airflow 2.0, has unique features like smart sensors, Full Rest API, Task Flow API, and some UI/UX improvements.

Pricing:

Free

4. Keboola

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Keboola is a data orchestration tool built for enterprises and managed by a team of highly specialized engineers. It enables teams to focus on collaboration and get insights through automated workflows, collaborative workspaces, and secure experimentation.

The platform is user-friendly, so non-technical people can also easily build their data orchestration pipelines without the need for cloud engineering skills. It has a pay-as-you-go plan that scales with your needs and is integrated with the most commonly used tools.

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Some of its key features are:

  • Runs transformations in Python, SQL, and R
  • No-code data pipeline automation
  • Offers various pre-built integrations
  • Data lineage and version control, so you don’t need to switch platforms as your data grows

Pricing:

Keboola currently has two plans:

5. Fivetran

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Fivetran has an in-house orchestration system that powers the workflows required to extract and load data safely and efficiently. It enables data orchestration from a single platform with minimal configuration and code. Their easy-to-use platform keeps up with API changes and pulls fresh, rich data in minutes.

The tool is integrated with some of the best data source connectors, which analyze data immediately. Their pipelines automatically and continuously update, freeing you to focus on business insights instead of ETL.

Some of its key features are:

  • Integrated with DBT scheduling
  • Includes data lineage graphs to track how data moves and changes from connector to warehouse to BI tool
  • Supports event data flow data
  • Alerts and notifications for simplified troubleshooting

Pricing:

Fivetran has flexible price plans where you only pay for what you use:

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  • Starter — $120 per month
  • Standard Select — $60 per month
  • Standard — $180 per month
  • Enterprise — $240 per month
  • Business Critical — Request a demo

6. Dagster

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A second-generation data orchestration tool, Dagster can detect and improve data awareness by anticipating the actions triggered by each data type. It aims to enhance data engineers’ and analysts’ development, testing, and overall collaboration experience. It can also accelerate development, scale your workload with flexible infrastructure, and understand the state of jobs and data with integrated observability.

Despite being a new addition to the market, many companies like VMware, Mapbox, and Doordash trust Dagster for their business’s productivity. Mapbox’s data software engineer, Ben Pleasonton says, “With Dagster, we’ve brought a core process that used to take days or weeks of developer time down to 1-2 hours.”

Some of its key features are:

  • Greater fluidity and easy to integrate
  • Run monitoring
  • Easy-to-use APIs
  • DAG-based workflow
  • Various integration options with popular tools like DBT, Spark, Airflow, and Panda

Pricing:

Dagster is an open-source platform, so it’s free.

In conclusion…

Companies are increasingly relying on the best AI marketing tools for a sustainable, forward-thinking business. Leveraging automation has helped them accelerate their business operations, and data orchestration tools specifically have provided them with greater insights to run their business better.

Choosing the right ETL tools for your business largely depends on your existing data infrastructure. While our top picks are some of the best in the world, ensure you research well and select the best one to help your business get the most out of its data.

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Optimizing Zoom’s digital experience for explosive growth

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Optimizing Zoom's digital experience for explosive growth

In February 2020, Zoom had millions of weekly visitors to their site, all of whom were coming to Zoom.us to do a handful of activities. Flashforward a month later to March, and Zoom’s traffic spiked to tens of millions of visitors every week. Those visitors arrived to not only use Zoom for a couple of work calls per week, but to entirely reinvent how they interacted with colleagues, partners, teachers, students, and even friends and family.   

Zoom used this opportunity to transform its users’ experience into incredible growth and customer happiness across geographies and verticals. How did they do it?  

At Opticon ’23, Alex London, Head of Digital Zoom and Jay Dettling, CEO of Hero Digital, joined Alex Atzberger, CEO, Optimizely to share how Zoom re-built their entire digital ecosystem. 

Keep reading to learn how Zoom partnered with Hero Digital and Optimizely to transform its customer experience and drive stellar results including these early wins: 

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  • Page load improved by 60% 
  • Speed to market improved by 50% 
  • Conversion improvement of 10% 
  • Publishing time from days to minutes (reduced by about half) 

The Year the World “Hopped on a Zoom Call” — & What Came Next

In March 2020, Zoom watched as web traffic, sign-ups, users and attendees grew from millions to hundreds of millions virtually overnight. Not only did its customer base and user group skyrocket, but its core use cases did, too: online meeting rooms were now used to host weddings, game nights, and math classes. At the same time, corporate brainstorms, sales calls, and even government processes requiring the highest security clearances moved to  Zoom to continue working as normally as possible. 

To meet the incredible demand for new use cases and services, the Zoom team had to ideate, test, and ship new products and features on a timeline that the internal teams refer to as “at the speed of Zoom.” Their success meant that their brand entered a hallowed hall of exclusive brands whose names made the transition from noun to verb. It was the year of: “Can we Zoom?” 

Getting there wasn’t just about building and launching products and features;  that was only half the battle. To scale and continue delivering happiness to customers, the team needed to ensure they told the story of Zoom across all customer touchpoints. 

Their goals

  1. Reimagine and rebuild the entire digital stack (including attribution models, analytics systems, acquisition, and localization) 
  2. Move from an existing agnostic, one-size-fits-all model to a global, flexible digital experience to cater to personas, geographies, and use cases 
  3. Improve their speed to market to continue moving “at the speed of Zoom” 

The Tactical Challenges of Reimagining Zoom’s Digital Stack 

Zoom’s overarching goal was to put the story at every single touchpoint of the customer journey. Given the dramatic change in their business, building a new site for Zoom would be incredibly complicated. Yet, if they succeeded, they’d generate demand, better enable purchases, and support its users.  

So how did they do it? Before making the leap, they looked to their strategic partners — Hero Digital and Optimizely.

 

 

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Zoom needed a new digital foundation to achieve all of its goals at scale. More importantly, their new foundation needed to untangle serious web traffic complexity.

Zoom has four primary visitor types — all arriving on Zoom’s marketing website by the millions. They include: 

  • Individuals and SMEs buying Zoom online 
  • Demo requests 
  • Product support requests 
  • Users and attendees accessing Zoom’s website as part of their workflow 

To add even more complexity, the teams needed to account for multi-lingual requirements for 20+ languages across the globe. 

“How do we build for these four levels of complexity? And how quickly can we move to tell our new platform story?” – Alex London, Head of Digital at Zoom

Before anything else, Zoom needed to build a new design system, and Hero Digital stepped in to help. Together, they built a minimum versatile component library that would scale across the website, mobile, ads, and anywhere else Zoom encountered customers. The initial minimum library featured 38 components with 29 variants and 8 page templates. 

Zoom also had to untangle the domain and subdomain issues of their own making. The past choice to build their digital foundation on ‘Zoom.us’ and create new subdomains for customers (coming in north of 10k subdomains) meant speed and ranking were complicated. Essentially, Zoom was competing with 10k+ sites that Zoom itself had created.  

Resolving this problem by choosing to unify content on a single domain, Zoom, Hero Digital, and Optimizely got to work. 

Hero Digital’s Foundation + Optimizely’s Architecture = Moving at the Speed of Zoom

By partnering with Hero Digital and Optimizely, Zoom reimagined its complete customer experience and upgraded to a best-in-class technology platform that combines AI-accelerated workflows with experiment-driven digital experiences. 

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The team deployed the Optimizely Digital Experience Platform, featuring Optimizely Content Management System, Content Management Platform, and Experimentation, as the architecture to bring their foundation to life and scale faster than they could ever imagine.

Component Library + Optimizely CMS  

One of Zoom’s goals was to move from its existing agnostic model to a global, flexible digital experience to cater to personas, geographies, and use cases. To do that, they needed a modern content management system. 

In the first phase of the build, the team focused on Zoom’s marketing site, now untangled but still over 200 pages. They established a foundation on Optimizely’s Content Management System to create a foundation with a migration plan over months. 

Even in the earliest stages, the results were huge because the CMS meant Zoom can could now push global changes in just minutes. They save hundreds of hours of work across the company by: 

  • Eliminating the devops processes, which previously took days or weeks to work through
  • Reducing publishing processes by half even with new added governance steps

 

Optimizely’s Content Marketing Platform

Improving speed to market was Zoom’s third goal. With the first two goals unlocked by their phased migration to Optimizely’s CMS, they needed to not only unblock the velocity but also the creativity and collaboration in producing new content. Zoom’s teams receive 80-100 requests a week for new content across their digital properties. 

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For Zoom, the re-build of the intake process for content requests was a key component of speeding up their processes. They built in guard rails and governance processes that when used within the CMP, reduced publishing time to minutes rather than days.

 

 

Now, with the first three goals— a reimagined digital stack, a flexible digital experience, and improved speed to market—accomplished, Zoom will focus on its next digital phase: experimentation and personalization. 

How could a digital experience platform help you navigate the next phase of your business? Learn more from the experts with access to The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2023 report.

 

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The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses

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The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses

In today’s fast-paced business environment, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) has emerged as a critical facilitator for enhancing operational efficiency and competitiveness. EMM solutions streamline workflows, ensuring that enterprises can adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape. This blog discusses the indispensable role of EMM in modern businesses, focusing on how it revolutionizes workflows and positions businesses for success.

EMM solutions act as the backbone for securely managing mobile devices, applications, and content that facilitate remote work and on-the-go access to company resources. With a robust EMM platform, businesses can ensure data protection and compliance with regulatory requirements, even in highly dynamic environments. This not only minimizes the risk of data breaches but also reinforces the company’s reputation for reliability and security.

Seamless Integration Across Devices

In today’s digital era, seamless integration across devices is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for maintaining operational fluency within any organization. Our EMM solutions are designed to ensure that employees have secure and efficient access to the necessary resources, irrespective of the device being used. This cross-platform compatibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing for a unified user experience that supports both the agility and dynamism required in modern business operations. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, our solutions provide a cohesive ecosystem where data flows securely and effortlessly across mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, ensuring that your workforce remains connected and productive, regardless of their physical location. The adoption of our EMM solutions speaks volumes about an organization’s commitment to fostering a technologically forward and secure working environment, echoing its dedication to innovation and excellence.

Enhanced Productivity

EMM facilitates the seamless integration of mobile devices into the corporate environment, enabling employees to access corporate resources from anywhere. This flexibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing tasks to be completed outside of traditional office settings.

Unified Endpoint Management

The incorporation of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) within EMM solutions ensures that both mobile and fixed devices can be managed from a single console, simplifying IT operations and enhancing security.

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Advanced Security Protocols

Where cyber threats loom larger than ever, our EMM solutions incorporate cutting-edge security protocols designed to shield your organization’s data from unauthorized access and breaches. By consistently updating and refining our security measures, we ensure your assets are protected by the most advanced defenses available. This commitment to security not only safeguards your information but also reinforces your company’s reputation as a secure and trustworthy enterprise.

Data Protection

EMM solutions implement robust security measures to protect sensitive corporate data across all mobile devices. This includes encryption, secure VPN connections, and the ability to remotely wipe data from lost or stolen devices, thereby mitigating potential data breaches.

Compliance Management

By enforcing security policies and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, EMM helps businesses avoid costly fines and reputational damage associated with data breaches.

Driving Operational Efficiency

In the quest to drive operational efficiency, our solutions streamline processes, reduce redundancies, and automate routine tasks. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, we empower businesses to optimize their workflows, resulting in significant time and cost savings. Our approach not only enhances operational agility but also positions your organization at the forefront of innovation, setting a new standard in your industry.

Automated Workflows

By automating repetitive tasks, EMM reduces manual efforts, increases accuracy, and speeds up business processes. This automation supports operational efficiency and allows employees to focus on more strategic tasks.

Real-time Communication and Collaboration

EMM enhances communication and collaboration among team members by providing tools that facilitate real-time interactions. This immediate exchange of information accelerates decision-making processes and improves project outcomes.

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Testimonials from Industry Leaders

Leaders in various industries have witnessed tangible benefits from implementing EMM solutions, including increased productivity, improved security, and enhanced operational efficiency. Testimonials from these leaders underscore the transformative impact of EMM on their businesses, solidifying its vital role in modern operational strategies.

Our commitment to innovation and excellence propels us to continually refine our EMM solutions, ensuring they remain at the cutting edge of technology. This dedication not only solidifies our standing as industry leaders but also guarantees that our clients receive the most advanced and effective operational tools available, tailored specifically to meet their unique business challenges.

Looking Ahead

The evolution of EMM solutions continues at a rapid pace, with advancements in technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) further enhancing their capabilities. These developments promise even greater efficiencies, security measures, and competitive advantages for businesses willing to invest in the future of mobility management.

Our proactive approach to integrating emerging technologies with EMM solutions positions our clients at the forefront of their industries. By leveraging our deep technical expertise and industry insights, we empower businesses to not only adapt to but also lead in an increasingly digital world, ensuring they remain competitive and resilient amidst rapid technological shifts.

In conclusion, the role of Enterprise Mobility Management in modern businesses cannot be overstated. Its ability to revolutionize workflows, enhance security, and drive operational efficiency positions it as a foundational element of digital transformation strategies. We invite businesses to explore the potential of EMM solutions and partner with us to achieve unprecedented levels of success and innovation in the digital era. Together, we can redefine the boundaries of what is possible in business operations and set new benchmarks for excellence in the industry.

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

Air Canada tried to throw its chatbot under the AI bus.

It didn’t work.

A Canadian court recently ruled Air Canada must compensate a customer who bought a full-price ticket after receiving inaccurate information from the airline’s chatbot.

Air Canada had argued its chatbot made up the answer, so it shouldn’t be liable. As Pepper Brooks from the movie Dodgeball might say, “That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.” 

But what does that chatbot mistake mean for you as your brands add these conversational tools to their websites? What does it mean for the future of search and the impact on you when consumers use tools like Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s ChatGPT to research your brand?

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AI disrupts Air Canada

AI seems like the only topic of conversation these days. Clients expect their agencies to use it as long as they accompany that use with a big discount on their services. “It’s so easy,” they say. “You must be so happy.”

Boards at startup companies pressure their management teams about it. “Where are we on an AI strategy,” they ask. “It’s so easy. Everybody is doing it.” Even Hollywood artists are hedging their bets by looking at the newest generative AI developments and saying, “Hmmm … Do we really want to invest more in humans?  

Let’s all take a breath. Humans are not going anywhere. Let me be super clear, “AI is NOT a strategy. It’s an innovation looking for a strategy.” Last week’s Air Canada decision may be the first real-world distinction of that.

The story starts with a man asking Air Canada’s chatbot if he could get a retroactive refund for a bereavement fare as long as he provided the proper paperwork. The chatbot encouraged him to book his flight to his grandmother’s funeral and then request a refund for the difference between the full-price and bereavement fair within 90 days. The passenger did what the chatbot suggested.

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Air Canada refused to give a refund, citing its policy that explicitly states it will not provide refunds for travel after the flight is booked.

When the passenger sued, Air Canada’s refusal to pay got more interesting. It argued it should not be responsible because the chatbot was a “separate legal entity” and, therefore, Air Canada shouldn’t be responsible for its actions.

I remember a similar defense in childhood: “I’m not responsible. My friends made me do it.” To which my mom would respond, “Well, if they told you to jump off a bridge, would you?”

My favorite part of the case was when a member of the tribunal said what my mom would have said, “Air Canada does not explain why it believes …. why its webpage titled ‘bereavement travel’ was inherently more trustworthy than its chatbot.”

The BIG mistake in human thinking about AI

That is the interesting thing as you deal with this AI challenge of the moment. Companies mistake AI as a strategy to deploy rather than an innovation to a strategy that should be deployed. AI is not the answer for your content strategy. AI is simply a way to help an existing strategy be better.

Generative AI is only as good as the content — the data and the training — fed to it.  Generative AI is a fantastic recognizer of patterns and understanding of the probable next word choice. But it’s not doing any critical thinking. It cannot discern what is real and what is fiction.

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Think for a moment about your website as a learning model, a brain of sorts. How well could it accurately answer questions about the current state of your company? Think about all the help documents, manuals, and educational and training content. If you put all of that — and only that — into an artificial brain, only then could you trust the answers.

Your chatbot likely would deliver some great results and some bad answers. Air Canada’s case involved a minuscule challenge. But imagine when it’s not a small mistake. And what about the impact of unintended content? Imagine if the AI tool picked up that stray folder in your customer help repository — the one with all the snarky answers and idiotic responses? Or what if it finds the archive that details everything wrong with your product or safety? AI might not know you don’t want it to use that content.

ChatGPT, Gemini, and others present brand challenges, too

Publicly available generative AI solutions may create the biggest challenges.

I tested the problematic potential. I asked ChatGPT to give me the pricing for two of the best-known CRM systems. (I’ll let you guess which two.) I asked it to compare the pricing and features of the two similar packages and tell me which one might be more appropriate.

First, it told me it couldn’t provide pricing for either of them but included the pricing page for each in a footnote. I pressed the citation and asked it to compare the two named packages. For one of them, it proceeded to give me a price 30% too high, failing to note it was now discounted. And it still couldn’t provide the price for the other, saying the company did not disclose pricing but again footnoted the pricing page where the cost is clearly shown.

In another test, I asked ChatGPT, “What’s so great about the digital asset management (DAM) solution from [name of tech company]?” I know this company doesn’t offer a DAM system, but ChatGPT didn’t.

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It returned with an answer explaining this company’s DAM solution was a wonderful, single source of truth for digital assets and a great system. It didn’t tell me it paraphrased the answer from content on the company’s webpage that highlighted its ability to integrate into a third-party provider’s DAM system.

Now, these differences are small. I get it. I also should be clear that I got good answers for some of my harder questions in my brief testing. But that’s what’s so insidious. If users expected answers that were always a little wrong, they would check their veracity. But when the answers seem right and impressive, even though they are completely wrong or unintentionally accurate, users trust the whole system.

That’s the lesson from Air Canada and the subsequent challenges coming down the road.

AI is a tool, not a strategy

Remember, AI is not your content strategy. You still need to audit it. Just as you’ve done for over 20 years, you must ensure the entirety of your digital properties reflect the current values, integrity, accuracy, and trust you want to instill.

AI will not do this for you. It cannot know the value of those things unless you give it the value of those things. Think of AI as a way to innovate your human-centered content strategy. It can express your human story in different and possibly faster ways to all your stakeholders.

But only you can know if it’s your story. You have to create it, value it, and manage it, and then perhaps AI can help you tell it well. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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