Picking the right ETL can improve your relationship with your data and help your startup grow.
What’s the meaning of ETL?
If you’re wondering, “What is ETL?”, what does ETL stand for, and what a data warehouse is, etc., check out this article where I explain in simple terms the various components of a modern data stack.
👉 Link to the article: How to make most of your data as a startup
To describe it in a few words, most companies typically have:
- Data sources: These are software and databases that record and generate data. Think of your production database, but also SaaS tools like your CRM (HubSpot, Salesforce, etc.), payment platforms (Stripe, Paypal), customer support software (Intercom, Zendesk, Front), and so on.
- When attempting to analyze your data, you need to get all relevant data into the same place: a data warehouse. This is simply a database that’s optimized for analytics.
- The process through which you move relevant data from these various data sources into the data warehouse is called “Extract Transform Load” (ETL). With ETL:
- You extract data from the data source
- You transform the data to make it easier to analyze in the data warehouse (this step is optional)
- Then you load the data into your data warehouse
- You’ll usually use a Business Intelligence (BI) tool to then view, explore, and analyze the data gathered in your data warehouse. This is the ultimate objective — to understand your data and gain insights on your business about how to make it better. Check out our articles on the best BI tools for a startup.
If you’re on the hunt for a solution to access and visualize quickly your data, you should definitely check out Actiondesk. Actiondesk is a code-free data analysis tool that combines the functionality of a spreadsheet with the power of a BI tool. Actiondesk transfers your data from a warehouse to a spreadsheet so you can quickly manipulate and analyze it to gain the insights you need to help your company thrive.
How to do ETL: build it yourself or use ETL tools?
You should always use ETL tools — end of story. Without ETLs, you’ll spend a lot of engineering time doing something that will accomplish far less than what ETL tools can.
Five or 10 years ago, doing ETL would have been hard and super costly. But now, we’re lucky to live in a world where you barely have to involve your engineering team to conduct ETL (ok, you’ll need to rely on them a little bit).
Here are the top ETL tools you should consider:
Top ETL tools for startups
Many factors must be considered when selecting the right ETL tool for your startup. For this list, we focused on price, simplicity, and the number of connectors supported. We believe that all of the ETL tools on this list can significantly impact a startup’s growth and success — especially when combined with a BI tool.
Fivetran comes with a base of 150+ pre-built data connectors and is another great no-code ETL solution. You can also build your own custom integrations if the connectors included don't offer what you’re looking for. Because Fivetran is a good fit for businesses of all sizes, it’s a good choice for startups hoping to quickly scale.
Fivetran starts at $1/credit.
Stitch is a straightforward ETL solution built specifically for data teams. The platform is often touted for its ability to support nearly any data source your team desires while ensuring your efforts remain secure at all times. Stitch also connects with more than 130 sources to help you tap into your data.
Stitch starts at $100 a month.
Segment is a popular ETL platform equipped with an API that lets you collect and route data to more than 120 tools and database services. With Segment, you can record data from a wide variety of sources including websites, apps, mobile devices, and servers before sending it on to a data warehouse.
Segment offers a free version of their platform.
Airbyte is one of the newer ETL solutions on the market, but it’s quickly making its mark on the landscape. With the free, open-source version of this too, you get the full Airbyte experience. Since Airbyte’s connectors run as Docker containers, you can build them in the language of your choice. If you’re looking for a high-quality, free ETL solution, Airbyte is a great choice.
Dataddo is a cloud-based platform that can work with a range of data connectors, including Google Analytics, Facebook, and Instagram. After extracting your data, Dataddo transforms and loads it to a wide variety of data warehouses — including those that work with Actiondesk.
Other Dataddo advantages include its lightning-fast deployment, adaptability, and simplicity. Dataddo is a code-free tool (meaning you don’t need any coding experience to use it) and requires zero maintenance. It also supports more than 100 off-the-shelf connectors and custom connections. If you’re looking for an affordable and powerful ETL, Dataddo is a strong choice.
Dataddo starts at $20/month per connector.
Talend is an open-source ETL tool with an intuitive user interface. Built for large enterprise organizations, it makes managing a large number of source systems with standard connectors easier than ever. One of Talend’s top features is its Master Data Management (MDM) functionality, which provides users with a single, consistent view of key business data. That means more transparency across the business. Talend also leverages more than 1,000 connectors and components to connect virtually any data source with a relevant data environment.
Talend’s pricing is unavailable.
Panoply is a self-service, automated cloud data warehouse focused on simplifying the data integration process. It sells itself as both an ETL tool and a data warehouse in one. In addition to connecting to other ETL tools, Panoply is compatible with any data connector that has a standard Postgres connection, ODBC/JDBC connection, or AWS Redshift connection. Just be warned — by trying to serve two functions, Panoply doesn’t always deliver the same quality as some of the other more focused tools on this list.
Panoply ranges from $399 to $999 per month.
8. Azure Data Factory
Azure Data Factory is a low-code ETL tool specifically designed by Microsoft for their cloud-based Azure platform, meaning it’s best for businesses that want to exist entirely within the Microsoft ecosystem. Azure Data Factory includes a large range of data connectors to help with data ingestion, but that data can only be loaded into Azure data warehouses.
Azure Data Factory starts at $1 for 1,000 runs per month.
Logstash is another open source solution. It functions as a data processing pipeline that can ingest data from a number of sources at once, transforming that data into ElasticSearch by default. The solution has a JSON-like structure that delivers a clear separation between internal objects. Like Panoply, Logstash does more than just ETL — it also delivers data visualizations and a few BI functionalities, which can be good for startups seeking a single tool.
Logstash is a free, open-source tool.
Picking the right ETL for your startup
Setting up a proper data stack is crucial if you want to get the most out of your data. Trust me, it’s much less daunting than it sounds and can be done pretty quickly thanks to two factors: the ETL tools listed above and the managed data warehouses offered by every main cloud provider (AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure).
Once your set up is ready, you'll probably hunt for a low-code solution to analyse all the data you gathered. Actiondesk supports most of the data-warehouses and databases. You can build dashboards and reports in seconds with your spreadsheets skills. Give it a try today.