ETL – Extraction, Translation, and Loading



Do a Google search on ETL, and you find you’ve uncovered an entire industry.  I bet you didn’t know this:  there is a website called devoted to following this market.  They help with research and case studies, and you can even buy their report that compares the top 18 offerings.


Vendors such as IBM, Oracle, Business Objects, and Microsoft offer tools in this “space”. 


ETL stands for Extraction, Translation, and Loading – or at the local High School, English as a Third Language.  In a smaller enterprise, you may not have a budget for ETL tools, much less an IT department (or even a budget for that matter).


ETL is unglamorous, boring stuff.  In a big company, you’ve got all these disparate systems that evolved over time and you’d like to get all the data in one place so you can rape and pillage more efficiently.


In a small company, you’ve got accounting data in one place,  web statistics in another, customer info in an Excel spreadsheet, who knows what in the point of sale system; and you want to pull it all together so you can make this a better world, continue your march to sainthood, and make a little money along the way. 


If you don’t have an assistant who can muscle the data into a master spreadsheet, you’re out of luck.  What I see a lot of people do is just go without.  You can get by often just by the seat of your pants. 


But if things get a little dicey, or you’re looking to grow; there’s nothing like the comfort of monitoring your key performance measures.  You want to look at which ones are doing OK and which ones need attention.  You also want feedback when you initiate some action and you want to see what the actual result is.  Oh – and you don’t want to spend much money on it, and it better not take up any of your valuable time.


You want to “Shine the spotlight on drivers of Profitability and Cash Flow” as my friend and business partner, Philip Campbell, likes to preach.  (While being as cheap as only Philip can be – and not spending a dime more than you have to).


This is really at the core of SurvivalWare, this whole ETL thing.  Because if the ETL thing can be solved – i.e. the bringing together of data from multiple places, efficiently and automatically and reliably – then the impossible is no longer.  Most business owners would go apeshit with access to good data and simple tools for analysis – they just don’t have the time or the skills to create these systems themselves.  And if they are “processes” instead of “systems” – i.e. they require a lot of labor – then forget about it.


In upcoming blog posts, I’ll explore some of the benefits of bringing data together from multiple sources, and improvements coming in SurvivalWare version 2.0 that attempt to make ETL easier to do.

Shining the Light on Franchisee Profitability and Cash Flow



I just got off the phone with Philip Campbell (my business partner and author of the book, “Never Run Out of Cash”).  Philip just got back from appearing on a panel at the International Franchise Association (IFA)  annual conference.  He said there was standing room only for the session – maybe 80 to 100 people.


Here’s how they promoted the session to attendees:

§         Learn how to improve franchisee profits and cash flow §         Focusing on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)  You can’t manage what you don’t measure §         Learn how to make franchisees WANT to share their P&Ls with you.  §         Learn how to create healthy internal competition amongst franchisees, for record breaking performance. §         Learn how to accelerate the growth of your system with the right people  §         Learn how to make all of the above work to the advantage of your franchise sales process 

Philip has made available his slides and a sample Profitability Model written in Crystal XCelsius to illustrate some of his points at this URL:


Philip preaches that just giving visibility to the key measures is a step in the right direction.  If you start watching a particular measure, you will make sure it improves.  I’m going to test that theory by posting my weight at the top of each blog entry starting today.  If it doesn’t start going down over the coming weeks and months, then we know that Philip’s theory is all wrong.