“We have systemx/systemy. Can CALUMO connect to that?” asks the potential CALUMO customer after my demo. I am asked this question all the time. And the answer is always “yes.“
I love nothing more than connecting to a database or system I have never heard of. It’s a challenge, and I know it can always be done with CPM and BI tools like CALUMO.
Below I have shared a few of the ways we connect. There are 4 primary ways (I dont want to give *all* of our secrets away!)..
Database to database
The database to database connecting is the easiest in most cases. Technically, we use something called an ODBC (Open DataBase Connectivity). CALUMO uses the Microsoft SQL Server database as the back end (back end just means database) and Microsoft has done a mighty job making their database connect to almost every other database. We create a small scale data warehouse in Microsoft SQL Server. ODBC, as the name suggests, uses open protocols, or code that every database should recognize readily. Once a connection is made, T-SQL (also known as Transactional Structured Query Language) is used to ask for data from the source database. The cool thing about T-SQL is it’s rather easy to learn, there are loads of resources on the internet to help you, and it’s very powerful. You can even load data from Excel with this method. New data is easily loaded automatically into CALUMO once your connections and queries are setup.
API (Application Programming Interface)
API is most commonly used when exporting data from cloud services such as Netsuite, Salesforce, and others. Using an API is similar to ODBC, but you’re often going through the web for this data. You may hear terms like RESTful API. API means someone has programmed specific data you are permitted to retrieve from the source database. I have noticed some API can be limited, but you can still get by. One limitation I have come across from time to time is a limit on the amount of data that can be loaded in one call. This can slow your data import down if you don’t update your CPM system often, or you’re loading historical data for the first time. Like the database to database connect, an API connection also easily loads new data from your source systems as often as you like into CALUMO.
The final way to load data into CALUMO is via a flat file data load. Sometimes, it’s the only option, and that’s OK. Flat file data load is similar to loading data into Excel; you just load it up! But it’s often not in a shape you need to have so to transform the data, change the shape, add summaries, add codes or names etc. Also, typically it’s a manual process to load data.
Once we have data load methods, the next step is to transform the data from your systems into a form that’s legible for people. And that’s where I love to play! If I am working with a system we have a connector for; this is a breeze. If it’s a system I haven’t work with, I have a toolkit I bring to the project with a lot of pre-built tables and cubes to make my life easy, and fast-track the implementation for my clients.
What’s a connector? I am not sure it’s the best name, but people get it. For CALUMO, a connector is a pre-built data warehouse, and data cubes for a particular application like Microsoft Dynamics GP, SL, NAV, Salesforce, NetSuite, and the list goes on. The connector also has the knowledge and queries written to extract data out of your systems and transform into the pre-built data warehouse. The CALUMO connectors fast-track implementations, and one of the cool things about them is they are very flexible. You can add other data sources to them too. So you might use the connector for GP and combine data from your homegrown sales system to the same pre-built data warehouse.
I have heard people call this a ‘one-stop shop for data’ and that’s exactly what CALUMO is.
If you want more information about CALUMO, drop me a line – firstname.lastname@example.org