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It has become a struggle for businesses to keep up with the changing technology and the rising demand for data-driven insights.

But tackling a larger scale project is difficult for many. One such example is performing a successful data mapping. Nonetheless, gaining insights from data sets is important to make informed business decisions.

So, data mapping simply transforms a large amount of data into understandable visuals for better analysis.

In this ultimate guide to data mapping, we'll explore its meaning, importance, benefits, usage, and much more. Let's get started!

What is data mapping?

It is the process in which we take one set of data, referred to as the “source,” and map it towards its destination, which you can name as the “target.” Data mapping is basically the evaluation and organization of data in a company’s databases.

According to a recent study, almost 73% of data that organizations collect is never used. It ultimately leads to no or poor decision-making.

The purpose of data mapping is to transform the data in an organized and accessible manner.

Following is the illustration of data mapping on the movie, actor, and director databases.

Why is data mapping needed?

We need data mapping to understand the relationships between different elements. It involves using different software tools and creating links between different data sets.

We refer to data sets here as the information a company gathers from its customers, like their interactions, purchases, and feedback.

As data mapping organizes the data in a structured manner, the company can analyze the data quickly to make informed decisions. It may include solving any problem or devising a new marketing strategy.

It is also essential for understanding complex data sets that contain multiple variables. We can also use data mapping to discover correlations between different factors and how they interact.

For example, a company might use data mapping to identify customer preferences. They can analyze their purchases, geographical location, or age group. It can help the organization decide where to focus marketing efforts or target products for new customer segments.

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How does data mapping work?

It is a process of connecting data elements from one data set to elements in another dataset. This data is used to create graphical representations of relationships between information.

We can use data mapping for different effective factors

  • Identifying patterns and trends
  • Tracking changes over time
  • Locating areas where we need improvement
  • Comparing different sets of data

Following is a brief description of how data mapping works

  • First, we gather the relevant source material. Then organize it into different categories to identify the major and common aspects.
  • The next step is to identify the connection between these categories, called mappings. It might involve assigning each category an ID number or writing code to link them together.
  • Once we establish the mappings, we can present them in various ways, i.e., charts and graphs. Then the analysts can spot the differences and similarities more quickly. It is quicker than manually examining a spreadsheet or database.

Why should you use data mapping?

Data mapping is an important tool for businesses and organizations of all sizes. It provides a method to organize complex data sets and, understandably visualize them. Also, businesses can quickly identify patterns, relationships, and trends within their data. It would be difficult to analyze otherwise.

Following are some reasons why anyone should use data mapping:

1.Gain deeper insight into data

It helps analysts to understand how different datasets interact with each other and how they may affect each other’s performance. Analysts can understand how they should approach a particular project or solution. They can analyze how two data sources are similar or different in structure or content. It means that when a company gathers a customer’s feedback on a particular problem, it can then analyze and organize the data of thousands of consumers and notice the similarities and differences. Then it is easy to assess the problem and what approach to take to solve it.

It could include understanding how two software applications interact with one another. Or it can discover which factors influence customer behavior when using an online store.

2. Spotting Errors

Data mapping is also useful for spotting errors in datasets. It makes it easier to compare different versions of the same files and detect any differences between them. It also helps to prevent generating inaccurate results. These could be due to faulty data-entry procedures or incorrect dataset assumptions.

3.Understand customers better

Data mapping helps businesses to understand their customer base better. It categorizes marketing techniques and optimizes the performance of its business processes. The visual representation of a company's data by data mapping is easier to understand and analyze.

Data mapping uses graphical representations to represent different types of information from different sources. The visual nature of the data can help users quickly conclude the various aspects of the data they are viewing.

4.Recognize Problems

Data mapping helps companies to recognize potential problems before they become complex within the system. It highlights weak links in customer databases or other internal systems. Using data mapping techniques such as heat maps or user flow diagrams helps them to understand how customers interact with different parts of their organization. Then it uses those insights to improve services or target audiences more accurately.

Overall, data mapping is an effective way for businesses of all sizes to gain fresh insights into their customers and operations.

It provides an easy and structured way for non-technical teams to gain valuable insights. They can look into how customers interact with their products and services. It also allows technical groups like IT departments to control large datasets. They can access the situation and sketch improvement strategies.

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How to do data mapping? A Step by Step approach

Data Mapping step by step

Image Source: ResearchGate

In six steps, we will explain how to do data mapping.

Step 1: Identifying the Source Data

The first step in data mapping is to identify the source data. It can be stored in an external database or within the application or a company’s system. It is important to identify the source. The reason is to correctly extract and map all the necessary information to its destination.

Step 2: Defining the Target Data

After you identify the source data, it's important to define what kind of target data you want to map the source data too.

For example, do you want to map customer information from a sales report into an accounting system? Or do you want to migrate customer details from one website to another?

It's important to know what type of target information you're aiming for before mapping any data.

Step 3: Identifying the Relationships between Data Fields

Once you've defined your source and target data, it's time to identify their relationships. Next, you must look at how each source data field relates to its corresponding field in the target system and ensure they are related correctly.

For example, if there is an address field in both systems, ensure they both contain similar fields for street numbers or postcodes.

Step 4: Designing a Mapping Process

Now that you have identified relationships between fields, it's time to design a mapping process. It will transfer all of your source data in its correct form to your target system. It involves using an ETL (Extract-Transform-Load) tool, which automates much of the work in mapping complex data sets across different platforms.

Step 5: Developing the Mapping Documents & Guidelines

Make sure to develop a document lining. It must contain an outline of how to map each field. Also, specify any rules or guidelines about how to do it. It is to ensure accuracy throughout your mapping process.

It can help you avoid any potential errors while implementing devised strategies.

Step 6: Testing and Monitoring the Results

Once your mapping process has been designed and documented, it's important to test it. It is to ensure that it works exactly as intended. It should work without any errors or discrepancies during implementation or operation.

Monitor the performance closely over time too. It allows you to detect any issues ahead of time and fix them quickly before they become major problems.

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Data mapping for enterprises

Data mapping provides an organizational overview of an enterprise's data and how it is used. It helps to identify areas of risk, optimize performance, and ensure the solutions comply with the company’s regulations.

It plays an important role in the effective management of large-scale applications.

Must-Have Rules of Data Mapping for Enterprises

When conducting a data mapping process for large-scale applications, it is important to consider a few key aspects:

  • Firstly, you must ensure accuracy. You can do it by validating any changes to existing data structures or new deployments.
  • Secondly, you must consider scalability when creating larger or more complex data mappings.
  • Thirdly, security must be maintained throughout the process via protocols such as TLS/SSL.
  • Lastly, you must improve the user experience. You can do it through intuitive interfaces that simplify the navigation of large datasets.

Data mapping for enterprises helps them analyze all the information they have and ensure it works well and is safe. It also helps them organize their data in a way that can grow and work with other things they use. This can help leaders make better choices and save money and time.

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Data mapping automation

Data mapping automation tools are invaluable for businesses in the modern era.

These tools allow them to save time and money while improving the accuracy and efficiency of data mapping.

Following are some of the most famous data mapping automation tools.

  1. Nanonets
  2. Pentaho
  3. Talend
  4. Informatica
  5. Altova
  6. Salesforce
  7. IBM InfoSphere

The automation tool helps to automate the process of transforming data from one format to another. It makes it easier to share information across multiple systems and applications. You can use this automated process in multiple areas of business. Examples include financial reporting, customer relationship management (CRM), e-commerce, and more.

Nanonets for Data Mapping

Nanonets is an AI-based OCR software with advanced workflow capabilities. It is the perfect solution for businesses looking to maximize the potential of document data. Whether it is automating document data entry, document verification, document management, or document storage, Nanonets can handle every document-related task efficiently.

Nanonets connects with 5000+ applications, making it easier to quickly map data across platforms, sync data, and validate data points. Nanonets can map data from any document ( images, PDFs, word documents, CSV, excel) and sync it up with any software of your choice.

Why Nanonets? Well, here are some reasons:

Have a use case in mind? Reach out to our sales team or start your free trial!

How do Data Mapping Automation Tools Work?

These automation tools work by using algorithms and specialized software. They convert data from its original format into a different one (for better understanding).

With data mapping automation, businesses can automate many aspects of their processes. It includes data transcription, cleansing, merging, and integration.

However, some technical expertise is required to implement the automation properly.

Automated mapping tools provide helpful features like drag-and-drop interfaces, user-friendly wizards, and graphical representations of changes made on different fields or tables.

Advanced features like fuzzy matching are available, allowing similar pieces of information from different sources or documents to be combined while quickly preserving accuracy.

How are Data Mapping Automation Tools Beneficial?

Data mapping automation provides businesses with a great way of streamlining their processes. It does so while producing more accurate results in much less time than manual methods.

It surely requires some initial setup. However, this will ultimately pay off significantly. It increases the efficiency of the process, saves time, and improves accuracy when dealing with large volumes of complex data sets.

Additionally, automated mappings are always up-to-date. They will automatically adjust when changes occur in the source or target format, meaning you don’t have to worry about being out of date.

What are the best practices for data mapping?

The best practice for data mapping is to maintain a consistent, accurate, and up-to-date map of data flow across systems. It involves understanding and documenting the relationships between different elements in a data flow. It should also quickly and effectively identify any inconsistency or indifference. The goal is to ensure that data is properly managed throughout its life cycle, from generation to storage to analysis.

Planning the Data Mapping Approach

First and foremost, organizations should plan their data mapping approach ahead of time. It includes creating a roadmap of all the endpoints involved in the data flow, along with their respective connections and dependencies. This plan should be documented so that everyone involved can understand it. It’s also important to review this plan repeatedly to ensure accuracy and completeness. An up-to-date system map will help prevent unexpected issues down the line.

Ensuring the Quality Processes

Organizations should also focus on quality assurance practices throughout the process. It involves validating data accuracy at each step in its journey while ensuring any errors are quickly identified and resolved.

Implementing the Suitable Procedures

It is important to have a proper way of adding new information to the map and make sure it is recorded and everyone knows about it. This way, any changes can be tracked and understood by all users.

Adopting the Use of Third-party Analytics Tools

Organizations should also consider using advanced analytics tools for data mapping activities. These tools can automate many tedious tasks associated with manual mapping processes. These include tracking different versions of documents or verifying complex relationships between datasets. They can also uncover hidden patterns or insights within large datasets that are not noticed during traditional methods.

Automating the Data Mapping Process

Finally, having automated tools for data mapping can reduce overall time spent and maintenance costs for larger projects which require frequent updates over time.

What are the different use cases of data mapping?

Following are the main use cases of data mapping out of many.

Data Integration

Data integration aligns and combines data from two different sources into a single understandable format. It helps for more efficient analysis and reporting. This process involves the following steps

1. Identifying common data elements across multiple systems

2. Removing duplicate data

3. Formatting the data in a single format

Data Migration

Data migration means moving data from one system to another. This process involves identifying and mapping data elements from the source system to the target system. It ensures that all relevant data is transferred and data integrity is maintained.

Data Transformation

Data transformation means changing the format or structure of data to make it more usable or compatible with other systems. This process involves identifying and mapping data elements from the original to the desired format. And then using that mapping to transform the data.

We’ll also discuss the main techniques of data mapping.

Manual Data Mapping

As the name suggests, this technique requires manual labor. An IT professional does all the mapping processes manually.

Schema Mapping

The second technique is half automated and half manual. A data mapping software is used to establish the path between the source data and the target. The IT professional will then check it and do the required adjustments.

Automated Data Mapping

It is a fully automated data mapping technique that uses an automation tool for the whole process. Thus, it is the most accurate, efficient, and simplest way of data mapping.

Final Words

Data mapping is the process of creating a roadmap for your data. It is done so you can better understand where it comes from, how it flows through your systems, and where it goes when it’s no longer needed.

This guide provides an overview of data mapping, including its benefits and key steps to get started. You can clearly understand your organization’s data landscape by creating a data map. Then you can make more informed decisions about managing and using your data best.

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