Mastering Real-time Data: Unleash the Power of Real-time Monitoring and Insights

In today’s data-driven landscape, things happen fast. Access to immediate insights empowers informed decision-making, providing a competitive edge. One of our clients, a cryptocurrency trading firm, faced challenges managing their data, leading to issues in their automated trading system. 

Background

Capturing data from external sources can be messy, especially when utilizing techniques like web scraping. However, this is sometimes the best option to capture data in real-time while minimizing costs.

We’ve come across this situation many times. Websites change, scraper logic doesn’t function properly, and the risk of data loss can be massive. In this situation, our client missed out on valuable trading opportunities – or, even worse, placing incorrect trades based on stale or invalid data. The data issues were so severe that operations were on the verge of being shut down to prevent further losses.

Accurate data is vital to the performance of any data product. Luckily, safeguards can be implemented to help validate the data and ensure information is captured as accurately as possible. 

What are the best options for monitoring data in real-time?

The remainder of this article will summarize some ideas for handling situations like this and put your product in the best position for success.

Every situation is different, but to help frame this analysis, here is a breakdown of the requirements defined for this project:

  • Implement a monitoring tool that identifies data issues in real-time
  • Create an alerting system that delivers messages via email and Slack to relevant stakeholders
  • User-friendly interface with intuitive features
  • Visual-based analysis to allow efficient interpretation of data quality issues
  • Identification of problem areas in messages so issues can be addressed as quickly as possible and prevent downtime
  • Low-code/no-code solution to allow non-technical users to work with the data and assist with troubleshooting

Option 1: Tableau Alerts & Subscriptions 

Tableau provides an easy-to-use interface that simplifies alert and subscription creation. Users can easily define conditions and triggers based on visualizations and data conditions through a visually configured setup. This accessibility makes Tableau’s alerting and subscription feature suitable for a diverse audience, catering to business users, analysts, and technical support teams.

See below for a breakdown of the pros and cons of this tool:

ProsCons
Simple setup of alerts through the Tableau interface.The data must be delivered to Tableau in real time.
There is no need to provision resources to implement the process – Tableau handles everything.Data needs to be prepared in a format that is interpretable by Tableau.
The platform supports automated report delivery through subscriptions on a scheduled or event-driven basis.Tableau development skills are required for initial setup and maintenance.
Notifications can be delivered via Email or Slack.Tableau subscription fees apply (not relevant if already using Tableau for other purposes).

Option 2: Custom Python Scripts & Advanced Analytics

Python scripts for data monitoring provide significant customization and flexibility, allowing developers to implement intricate logic and tailored calculations. The real-time data processing capabilities allow dynamic and immediate responses to changing conditions, enhancing system responsiveness. 

Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of this approach:

ProsCons
Python allows integration of diverse data sources beyond Tableau’s native capabilities.Costly initial setup – A Python developer is needed to create the process and define alert conditions.
Alerts can be highly customized, allowing deeper insight into potential problems.Data connections must be custom-built for Python to access relevant information.
Messages can be delivered through various mediums, including Email, Slack, Telegram, or other messaging platforms.The development team must provision resources for the process.
Machine learning and AI can be easily integrated into this process – enabling automated problem-correction processesA highly technical implementation that can not be modified easily by standard business users.

How We Handled This Situation

After thoroughly assessing the situation, Tableau alerts were determined to be the best option. The main reason for this decision was the ability to implement this solution quickly with minimal business disruption. Another reason is that this client already used Tableau for other purposes, so no additional subscription cost was incurred for implementing these alerts. 

The beauty of this solution is that we could implement alerts within a few days, compared to 1-2 weeks for building out a custom process in Python. The solution did not require any resources from the development team, freeing up time to focus on other pressing issues.

There was an immediate impact on data quality from these alerts. Business leaders gained more visibility into the system, identified issues in real-time, and alleviated common pain points that were dragging down the team. 

Conclusion

The decision to use one tool over another always has pros and cons – and it is crucial to fully understand these tradeoffs before beginning any work. Our client decided it was better to sacrifice some flexibility with the alerting features to avoid any unnecessary overhead for the development team. 

Sometimes, a lightweight and simple solution is the best bet, even if it’s not exactly what business leaders desire. By building a simple solution efficiently, your team can receive the immediate gains that come with incremental improvements – rather than taking on this risk of sinking time and resources into a highly technical solution that becomes a burden to the team instead of helping to improve operations.

Partner with Databender

Working with Databender can be a transformative experience. Our comprehensive implementation process, user-friendly interfaces, and dedicated support promise impactful results. 


Visit databenderconsulting for more information, or follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook for updates on data management and advanced analytics.

Interested in working with us?

Reach out to us and we will make sure to help you achieve your business goals!