What Is a Data Stack? And How to Build Yours

Companies today are sitting on a goldmine of information, extracted from a dizzying array of sources. Making sense of this data and transforming it into actionable insights will guide your strategy. That’s why you need a data stack to manage the flow of data throughout your organization. 

Of course, some companies still ignore their data and operate based on guesswork and old habits. But they won’t be as successful as those that are data-driven. They will fail to set their businesses apart and lose more customers as a result of not taking crucial data-backed actions. 

To get the most from your data, your company needs a data stack, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about in this article. 

What Is a Data Stack?

The data stack, or the modern data stack as it is also known, is the set of tools and technologies that underlie your ability to collect, manage, process and analyze your data. These include cloud data warehouses, analytics tools, and customer data platforms. 

It’s about taking the raw data your company possesses and transforming it into a format that generates actionable insights. Without a data stack, the pieces of data floating around in a company server don’t have much use. 

The root of the term “data stack” comes from technology stack, which are the applications and tools that software developers use in the creation of software products. 

Data stacks are increasingly cloud-based and easy to set up. This allows even non-technical business users to understand and gain value from their company data. 

The benefits of a modern data stack

The modern data stack comes with a lot of benefits, including better insights, improved customer experience, and cost-effective deployment. Let’s dig into those in more detail.

  • Visualize data and get actionable insights at scale:
  • New insights are the main promise of a modern data stack. Use a smart ensemble of tools to help unlock hidden hints and patterns in your data.
  • Cost- effective:
  • Hosting a data stack on your own servers means you’re paying for full output 24/7, and scaling is slow and expensive. Cloud-based solutions offer pay-as-you-go models, letting you adjust your usage to suit your needs in real time. 
  • Fast to set up:
  • Modern data stacks are quick to set up and execute in comparison to their counterparts a short number of years ago. A company setting up a brand new data stack can be up and running in less than a day, all without requiring any coding.
  • A more cohesive customer experience:
  • With a data stack, you can effectively manage customer data and make sure all interactions follow the same pattern.

How to Build a Data Stack

In this section, we’ll explain exactly how you can build your modern data stack in 2022.

1. Choose a Data Warehouse

A cloud data warehouse is the main component of your data stack. It’s the key element of your strategy in becoming a data-oriented business. 

It’s what will determine the other tools you need for your data stack. It’s a kind of data management system that facilitates business intelligence practices.

Examples:

2. Find a Data Ingestion Tool

Your ingestion tool is what you will use to gather data, and there are a number of effective and reasonably priced options out there. 

Data ingestion is the process of bringing in large amounts of data into the system from a number of different external sources. Data is ingested in order to synthesize and make sense of the data in order to enhance business activities. 

Examples:

  • Apache Kafka
  • Wavefront
  • DataTorrent
  • Amazon Kinesis

Business intelligence tools also often have ingestion capabilities.

3. Create a Data Modeling Process

This is the stage where you’ll be transforming your data into something that can be used in the analytics process. Data modeling is the process of building an image of your data system and conveying the connections between the data points. 

This phase of the data stack requires experience with SQL. Having a robust, streamlined data modeling process is the way you organize your business around shared metrics. 

Smart data apps created with no-code tools are the easiest way to do this.

4. Develop an Analytics Process

While the previous phases of the data stack have been handled by software, developing an analytics process requires the skills of your data analysts or an external data team. A tool like Google Analytics is nothing compared to what big data analytics platforms can do.

But if you want real insights, you need high-quality data — data cleansing is a necessary evil to get rid of duplicates, typos, and worse.

You’ll need to hire skilled analysts who have the ability to extract the most value from your data. You should fully define your goals and then develop a technique that will allow you to extract the data and meet your goals.  

Toric — the Easy Way to Set Up Your Data Stack

Toric is a zero-code, full-stack data workspace that allows your company to make the most of its data without messing around with complicated tools. 

The advantage of Toric is its seamless integration with industry-standard software tools and APIs that combine to give companies a unified dashboard for viewing their data. 

Toric is typically used by architecture and planning organizations, civil engineering, construction, and real estate firms to combine data all in one place for analysis and insights. 

With Toric, data becomes an asset rather than an engineering challenge. In apps and dashboards, data is usable and accessible to everyone. It’s simple to connect your databases and SaaS services to Toric and import data ready for analysis. 

Use Toric’s ready-made connectors to connect to apps like Google Sheets, Quickbooks, and Salesforce to import your data and utilize a single pipeline for analyzing data. 

Want to Be Data Driven? Invest In Your Data Stack

A modern data stack is the only way to store, manage, and analyze your data efficiently. A sales manager will struggle scouring through vague customer data to create an action plan. But a custom dashboard can show them what needs to be done in a single look.

You’ll need to go through the four phases of building your data stack and make sure you have the help of skilled data analysts to help you in this process. 

New tools and low-code and no-code data management platforms have made this process simpler than ever, and it’s increasingly easy to get by without an experienced team of server architects, analytics engineers, software developers, machine learning experts, and more. 

Consider Toric when designing and building out your company’s data stack for a seamless experience. Schedule a free demo to see what your data-driven future could look like.

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