One of the features of the SMART automation in Automation Anywhere is the data pattern matching to automatically extract data of the same type from a given web site. By clicking on the data to be extracted, confirming with a further example and (if required) indicating that multiple pages are to be treated, you can have Automation Anywhere fill out a file that can immediately be used in spreadsheet or database applications such as Microsoft Excel or Access. Similar possibilities exist to extract data that is already organized into tables as well. With Automation Anywhere and Office applications you can already enter into the world of ETL and business intelligence.
ETL refers to the operations of handling data, generally with the aim of making them more accessible, easier to work with and more suitable for transformation into information that shows meaningful facts and data relationships.
- Extract. Extract data from a first source or database
- Transform. Convert the data into a different form if this is required by the destination database or the way in which the data will be used
- Load. Write the data into the destination database.
Large scale ETL can involve terabytes of data from a variety of sources such as standard structured databases, legacy applications, spreadsheets and unstructured text files. On the other hand, entry level ETL can give small and medium sized companies valuable information and insights without requiring the ‘heavy lifting’ that goes on in some larger corporations.
Data Mining and Business Intelligence
When the data are transformed and loaded into the target database, this is often done with the aim of then analyzing the data using another software program to produce a report that shows relationships, trends or other conclusions. In bigger ETL operations that combine multiple data sources into one, the result is known as a data warehouse. Within the data warehouse, ‘slices’ of the data that are destined for specific uses or departments are known as data marts. Drilling down into data to uncover connections and relationships is called data mining.
Automation Anywhere and Excel
Automation Anywhere makes no claims to replace the expensive infrastructure required to handle large amounts of disparate data. However, in conjunction with Microsoft Excel, it can provide users and organizations with a very cost-effective way to do ETL to extract data and then collate and analyze: for anything from truck driver insurance details to competitive product pricing. Automation Anywhere is used first to extract data automatically from websites (for instance) and to put the data into a CSV file. The CSV format is standard for Excel, which then offers a range of functions such as TRIM to format the data. These operations can be called within Excel by Automation Anywhere. Finally, business intelligence functions and graphing options within Excel or possibly in a third application can be used to publish reports on the data for business use.
If you’d like to know how Automation Anywhere, the automation software with extensive easy-to-use functionality, can help you build complete business process automations easily and intuitively, try a free Automation Anywhere trial to see what it can do for you.