I have been working on a project to bring in a large amount of data into The Raiser’s Edge. Everyone else on the project has been using SSIS to do this and previously I would probably have manipulated the data in Excel, Access or for the most complicated data written a small application to convert the data into the format that I wanted before importing it into RE. Having used SSIS for a day now I am say that I am converted!
SSIS stands for SQL Server Integration Services. Wikipedia describes it:
Integration Services provides a platform to build data integration and workflow applications. The primary use for SSIS is data warehousing, as the product features a fast and flexible tool for data extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL). The tool may also be used to automate maintenance of SQL Server databases, update multidimensional cube data, and perform other functions.
Put simply it is a really good tool for manipulating incoming data and spitting it out in another format. Clearly you can use Access to perform similar tasks but what I like about SSIS is the feeling of data flowing from one end of the chain to the other. You can clearly see what steps you have taken to manipulate the data so that it is easy to repeat those steps. With Access or Excel it is so easy to lose a step. Writing a program can be overkill but SSIS seem just right for many tasks.
I would be interested to hear how you have used SSIS to bring data into or out of RE.