Role of SQL in Automation

Automation can save countless hours spent manually creating reports week after week (Read this to understand why automation is gaining importance in analytics). There are a lot of components of any automation piece. SQL helps work on quite a few of these easily. 

  1. Storage:
    SQL databases can support large quantities of data. These can be picked up from various sources, and stored in a single location for posterity. The data can be accessed anytime, as per requirement. MYSQL, BigQuery, Transact SQL all provide storage capabilities.
  2. Consolidation:
    Data from various sources can be combined to generate a unified view. Using JOINs, one can connect disparate data to come up with otherwise deeply hidden insights. This can act as a great tool, to understand how seemingly unrelated things affect each other. For example, Site Analytics data can be combined with POS (Point Of Sales) and manually populated data and all of it can be pushed to SQL
  3. Manipulation:
    A lot of rather complex calculation can be easily done in SQL. Segmenting and filtering the data to look at a specific set, or calculating unusual KPIs that cater to custom needs, and reflect true information can be done easily in SQL. This helps create a concise picture from an incomprehensible dataset. For example, Given base metrics, we can calculate complicated metrics such as Life time value, group data by different time periods or other dimensions etc.
  4. Reporting support:
    Some datasets are required for ad hoc analyses, others are updated and used regularly and provide continuous reporting. Most SQL servers have the capability to cater to both needs. Reports can be connected directly to SQL table and reflect latest information. Many SQL tools have the capability to connect live to reporting tools such as Tableau, so as and when the data updates, the report reflects updated values.

There are various SQL tools available in the market,  each with their own set of pros and cons. However, nearly all of them provide most of the basic functionalities. Are there other tools/services/languages that provide all these capabilities as well as SQL? Let us know your thoughts below.

If you would like to know more about how SQL can help in automation in your process setup, reach out to us.

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