Does Your Data Virtualization Tool Functionality Meet Your Business Needs

Robyn Greenspan

Updated · Feb 23, 2024

Does Your Data Virtualization Tool Functionality Meet Your Business Needs

The saying your business runs on data is more true than ever since data is what you use to make decisions that affect every aspect of your business.

Even small mom-and-pop shops use data, even if it’s just to create customer mailing lists, and shifting through all of the incoming and stored data is more than time-consuming; it’s a frustrating process. This is when data visualization tools come in handy, but they’re not all equal, which means wondering if your data visualization tool functionality is meeting your business needs.

While every organization is different, there are some similarities. Here’s a look at some of the common functions you’ll probably want in a data virtualization tool.

What is a Data Virtualization Tool

Before you can start thinking about functionality, it helps to have a basic understanding of data virtualization tools. The tool is a software application that does something simply amazing with data. Instead of staring at a spreadsheet or Excel sheet filled with seemingly random numbers, you get easier-to-understand visual aids. Think of charts, graphs, and even heat maps.

Not only are images preferred over lists of numbers, but visuals are also easier to understand. This means that instead of spending days or even weeks pouring over data and trying to make sense of the numbers, a data virtualization tool turns it into useful images. Even if your business isn’t dealing with massive amounts of data, these tools are still extremely helpful.

Functions to Look for in a Data Virtualization Tool

Finding a data virtualization tool isn’t difficult. A quick Google search will pull up an extensive list that can leave you scratching your head. Which software app is right for your business? Do you really need all of the functions or can you scale back to basic functionality?

The answer to this question depends on your business and the data you’re trying to organize. However, there are some functions you should expect regardless of which tool your business decides to use.

Ability to Make Decisions

The tool isn’t going to make business decisions, this is still your job. However, you want the data virtualization tool to do a little more than analyze your stored data. While this is something all tools accomplish, it doesn't do a lot when it’s time to make decisions based on the data patterns.

Some of the best data visualization tools will reveal patterns in the information. These tools are capable of predicting future patterns using advanced metric assessment features. This way, you have the information necessary to make decisions based on predicted trends. In other words, you’re future-proofing your business.

For example, if your business sells women’s fashions, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to stock before the latest trend hits the internet. You’re ready for the influx of orders, which means you’re a step ahead of the competition.

Dynamic Infrastructure

When you think of infrastructure, your IT department probably comes to mind. However, software like data virtualization tools also have an infrastructure. This applies to the code and other technologies that allow the software to integrate and run on your system/devices. Some aspects to look for include the amount of data the software can store, manage, and analyze. If your business is generating a lot of data, you’re going to want to use software with a robust infrastructure.

Something to consider is using a data visualization tool with cloud computing functionality. Since the cloud is easily scalable, the amount of data you use is never a problem. An added benefit is the lower cost that typically comes with the cloud. You can also see savings from your IT team. They’re not focusing on data, instead, they have time to devote to other tasks. This may mean not having to hire additional personnel for the sole purpose of managing data.

Seamless Integration

The last thing you or your IT staff want to deal with is software that fights to integrate with your system. You also don’t want your system repeatedly kicking the software off your network. This is not only time-consuming and frustrating, but it can also be a waste of money. If you can’t use the software, it’s just going to sit there instead of analyzing your data.

Most data virtualization tools are compatible with all systems and networks unless you’re using one that hasn’t received any updates in years. If this applies to your business, you’ll probably want to update your IT gear before you start looking at data virtualization tools.

With that being said, some tools can still experience difficulties integrating with your system—but don’t panic. Hopefully, you’re using one that displays metrics highlighting integration success and failure points. This way, you can see where the issue is occurring and take steps to correct the problem. You may also want to look for a tool that provides API support.

Produces Fast Results and Insights

When you and your team are still waiting for results and insights from the stored data, the tool isn’t doing its job. You’re risking losing out on trends and may even make faulty decisions due to a lack of information. This isn’t what you want from a data virtualization tool.

Your tool should have features like dynamic loading, editing, deleting, and updates. A main reason your tool may be producing slow results is a lack of access to direct memory, which is one of the easiest ways to ensure your tool is producing rapid results.

Team Collaboration in Real-Time

There are multiple reasons why team collaboration is being encouraged throughout the workplace, starting with improved efficiency and productivity. This team spirit should also apply to your data virtualization software.

There will probably be times you have with multiple team members need access to the data. When they can view the data simultaneously in real time, they can have productive conversations as each new visual image is released.

Make the Best Decisions with Help From Data Virtualization Tools

Data virtualization tools have become essential, not just an optional upgrade, for businesses aiming to navigate the complexities of modern data management and analysis. These tools play a critical role in synthesizing disparate data sources, enabling real-time access and analysis that informs strategic business decisions.

Prior to committing to any specific software, it's crucial to thoroughly assess whether its features align with your company's specific data handling and analysis requirements. This ensures the tool not only integrates seamlessly with your existing systems but also empowers your team to leverage data more effectively, ultimately driving better business outcomes.

  • Management Software
  • News
  • Robyn Greenspan
    Robyn Greenspan

    Robyn Greenspan, an independent researcher and speaker, is interested in innovation, market trends and information technology. She was a participant in the AI Summit and also took part in the IEEE International Conference on Edge Computing, International SOA Symposium series and the International Cloud Symposium series. She graduated from Temple University. She was previously the communications and research manager for the AMS, an internationally recognized professional association that advances knowledge in the IT and business management areas.

    Read next