The term ‘data aggregation’ may sound like perplexing technical jargon to those new to the topic. However, put simply, data aggregation describes a process in which raw data is transformed into knowledge that you can use to optimise the operational systems within your business.
Data aggregation is not a new process. Many companies across the world have been analysing data to inform business decisions for a long time. Data aggregation enters into the conversation when we ask how we gather data and how we present it in a useful way?
The Single Source team has put together some information on data aggregation so that you may better understand how data aggregation could bring new levels of efficiency and productivity to your business operations.
What is data aggregation?
Data aggregation is the process of gathering data from many different sources or platforms and presenting it in a summarized format.
Data can take many forms. It could refer to the location coordinates of equipment moving around a mine site, the log of materials used in infrastructure creation, or the number of people who have visited your website in the last week. It is merely the information that the systems in your business are capable of collecting.
Data aggregation helps you to identify strengths and weaknesses with the operation of your organisation. It also optimises how you and your team engage with your data, allowing for the creation of a customised platform that pulls together information from all required sources in a user-friendly way. Data aggregation is useful in many different business aspects, from finance or business strategy decisions to product, pricing, operations, and marketing strategies.
How does data aggregation work?
- Data Exploration
Most businesses already have systems in place that allow for the collection of data and provide operational outcome. However, most organisations do not make the most of the existing systems they are already paying money for, nor do they combine the datasets to unlock the potential of a wholistic view of their business.
Therefore, we encourage you to think of Single Source as performing a “health check” for your existing systems. We can educate you and your team about how to properly access and utilise the data that you may already be gathering. We explore and workshop with you all the ways in which we can optimise the use of data in your company.
Beyond this, Single Source advises businesses as to new systems that can be implemented to gather data that will optimise their operations or bridge gaps in the data capture process. Our team designs new architecture for useful data collection and connects your organisation with products or services from our network of industry experts .
- Data Integration
With the new architecture in place, Single Source ensures that all data can smoothly flow through from all of your assets and systems.
Data integration is achieved through purpose built new or existing automated integrations (through Messaging Queues, API, and batch ETL etc.). Ultimately, it ensures that all the sources collecting data communicate back to the central platform you are using to interpret the data.
- Data Normalisation
In collecting data from many different sources, it is essential to normalise the data, allowing for the significant relationships within the data sets to be utilised. In essence, data normalisation automatically removes obstacles, such as different measurement systems or time periods, from the collated data.
For example, with data normalisation, speed recorded in km/hr in one dataset can be compared to speed recorded in m/sec in another dataset by creating a new data point with a calculation attached.
Data normalisation reduces data redundancy and allows for relationships between datasets to be more accurate and easier to interpret. This will enable you to benchmark your assets against one another in ways that wouldn’t traditionally be possible in your existing business systems.
How Can Data Aggregation Help Your Business?
Once data aggregation has taken place, Single Source creates a platform for clients to access their data. Each organisation will interact and engage with their data differently. The variety of platforms stretches from an interactive live dashboard available to every employee on a tablet and customised to their access level, to dashboards cast on large screen TV’s on office walls, to a monthly report emailed as a PDF. Single Source creates a custom solution for each of their clients, individually suited to their needs.
Ultimately, data aggregation has a nearly infinite number of uses and benefits for businesses. The form that data aggregation will take and the practice implications it will have differs from industry to industry and from business to business. For this reason, it can be challenging for organisations to picture exactly how it would transform their processes.
Here are some clear-cut examples of the opportunities that data aggregation represents:
- Measure benchmarks – gather data from several different sources across different business sites and normalize the data to compare and contrast how each location performs. This could be beneficial for companies with multiple operational areas such as mine sites, factories, warehouses or process plants etc.
- Automate reporting – Collect metrics and create benchmarks from several different business sites at once. View their progress in a live dashboard or PDF report without having to touch Excel. This is extremely useful for morning toolbox meetings, manager’s meetings, compliance reporting or board briefings.
- Automate business processes –Control your equipment remotely. For example, create a command that between 6 pm and 6 am, all of the lighting towers at the site turn on. Or if an incident occurs and you need to shut down plant remotely, you can deactivate it at the press of a button.
- Improve existing business norms or processes – Measure assets remotely so you can assess any issues or priority list before dispatching workers. Therefore, your employee needn’t travel to check on capital at different sites.
- Give insight to other metrics thought previously to be too hard to measure – For example, an original equipment manufacturer can collect data on their products in the field across several of their customers. They can easily find common faults or predict spare part demand by getting live usage statistics across a whole population of units, instead of getting sporadic feedback from individual customers.
- Add context to existing business information – For example, quickly pull up driver ID from the database to identify drivers against vehicle telematics events. This may identify over-speeding or harsh braking to target training and reduce vehicle maintenance.
Start Using Data Aggregation in Your Business Now
It may seem like an overwhelming process to begin to incorporate data aggregation into your business operations.
In our experience, the main reasons for businesses not engaging with data aggregation include:
- Fear of the unknown – businesses may have been operating with the same processes for a very long time and changing from manual reporting can seem very daunting
- Time and skills constraints – businesses may perceive that they don’t have the time or skills to utilise data aggregation
- Budget constraints – businesses may have the perception that the process of data aggregation may be too costly
These are perfectly understandable concerns. However, one conversation with Single Source will ease your mind. We work closely with our clients to provide solutions that are tailor-made to their specific needs. We respect that utilising these processes may be a considerable shift in the organisation’s previous day-to-day routine. We are here to support our clients throughout each step of the data aggregation process, ensuring that you feel well informed and comfortable.
We believe that data aggregation should be a competitive advantage accessible to all businesses – no matter the size, application, or budget. For this reason, the prices of our services are extremely competitive in comparison to the excessive costs of similar companies. We have built a platform deployable in stages and only charge you for the parts you need.
Single Source data aggregation solutions are simply intuitive. We identify what you need and set up a platform for your success. A single conversation with our team could transform your perspective on the potential of your business.