Teams that combine different data sources in a cloud data warehouse are all familiar with the data connector conundrum.
A data connector is the necessary link between a data source’s API and a cloud data warehouse. Data connectors are required to get data from point A (data source) to point B (cloud data warehouse). They integrate disparate marketing data, CRM tools, analytics platforms, financial data, social metrics, and more, into a single data repository.
Teams have two choices: they can either build data connectors, or leverage pre-built data connectors. However, in most cases, the choice is clear: pre-built data connectors are the way to go.
Here are 5 reasons why pre-built data connectors are the best option.
Building data connectors from scratch requires real developers. Teams that want to self-build data connectors can either rely on in-house developers, or hire more developers.
Tapping in-house developers does not increase immediate overhead expenses. But there are opportunity costs. While working on data connectors, developers contribute less labor to mission critical projects. This leads to delays in key strategic goals such as new features and product updates.
Hiring new developers creates upfront costs in the form of increased payroll. For this reason, some companies opt to hire cheaper freelancers. But if data connectors break, the lack of a quick in-house response can incur reputational costs with customers.
Pre-built data connectors, on the other hand, generate significant cost-savings by eliminating this expensive development process altogether. There are no costs for new developers, or opportunity costs for operating with a labor shortage. With pre-built connectors, dev teams can continue to focus on critical projects, without having to hire new staff.
The long, slow process of building a data connector, from coding, to testing, to implementation, bogs down data projects. Even after data connectors are live, teams are still disrupted by maintenance tasks such as fixing broken connectors and versioning updates. And this, of course, leads to slower results, both internally and for clients.
Pre-built data connectors entirely remove the friction points of the building process. No more manual coding for API interfaces. No more repairing outdated versions. Everything is already built and ready to use. This paves the way for quicker projects that deliver faster results.
Building data connectors from scratch can hurt a company’s scalability. As new clients and data sources enter the equation, the cumbersome dev work associated with building data connectors makes rapid expansion a struggle. Clients expect a certain level of service, and failing to scale fast enough to meet their technology needs is always an untenable position.
Pre-built data connectors, however, enable companies to scale quite rapidly. The plug-and-play functionality allows clients to start massive new projects in a few clicks. Some platforms even develop pre-built connectors on demand, in a condensed time frame, so clients scale up data sources without delay.
No Maintenance Required
Teams that build data connectors must perform all maintenance tasks in-house. These teams have to track API changes, manually update each connector when an API is modified, fix broken connectors, and much more. This round-the-clock maintenance demands significant time and resources, even after the initial building of the connector is complete. And if the in-house team can’t fix an issue, customer and company projects could suffer indefinitely.
Pre-built data connectors are typically offered through platforms that automatically manage all maintenance tasks. Connectors are automatically updated when an API is modified. If a connector breaks, the platform is responsible for the fix. Essentially, any technical issue that arises is fixed by the service provider. This leads to less down time, and more time spent on important non-maintenance tasks.
Building data connectors is a high-investment project that takes a significant amount of time and energy. This inevitably makes teams less nimble, and less capable of responding to emerging opportunities. Teams that self-build connectors cannot quickly launch novel campaigns, or add in new data sources at the last minute. A sudden shift in strategy, or an opportunity that’s too good to miss, could become impossible to capitalize on.
Conversely, pre-built data connectors are designed for strategic nimbleness. Teams can add or remove data sources almost instantly. This gives teams the flexibility to respond to emerging business opportunities and challenges as they happen. A big new account, a last minute event, and countless other emerging initiatives are only opportunities if the tech infrastructure is there when it needs to be.
What’s the Right Choice? Only Your Team Can Tell
Pre-built data connectors offer a number of advantages that self-built connectors do not. However, this does not necessarily mean that pre-built connectors are always the right choice. Self-building makes sense when teams want to completely own the data connector and its associated source code. There are business and security reasons for this, and teams should consider all options.
However, when it comes down to benefits, the comparison isn’t even close. Pre-built connectors offer cost-savings, faster results, strategic nimbleness, zero maintenance, and rapid scalability. And this is just a partial list of benefits. Each company is different. But pre-built connectors, such as those offered by Rivery, have a lot to offer, no matter the team or project involved.