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The complete guide to picking the perfect data hub 11 min read
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As technology improves, we all have access to an insane amount of information. Some of it is useful, and a lot of it is confusing or downright overwhelming.

Arguably the hardest part of this new dynamic is figuring out what to do with it.

Research has found that 57% of data and analytics leaders invest in data warehouses, 46% use data hubs, and 39% use data lakes.

But what does all that mean, and how can you start pooling your data to make more informed decisions?

In this article, we’ll define data hub and many more terms as we unpack what to look for in the perfect data hub application.

What is a data hub?

Before we can begin contrasting data hub features, it’s good to be on the same page with some definitions.

A data hub is a central service that connects your information technology (IT) systems in a way that orchestrates the storage and flow of your data in a more efficient manner.

In plain terms, a data hub is a way to capture all your company’s data in one place that’s easy to use and fully accessible from anywhere in the world.

They’re also typically jam-packed with other useful features that make your organization more effective and efficient when it comes to processing incoming data.

The better you process data, the more effective your organization is at making decisions. Everyone wins. While simple in concept, it can be challenging to pull off such a feat if you’re using the wrong tool for the job or aren’t familiar with the possibilities your data truly provides.

For more on that, let’s get into more definitions.

What’s the difference between a data hub, data lake, data warehouse, and a database?

If you’ve heard of data hubs, then you’ve likely heard of data warehouses, databases, and data lakes too.

A side-by-side comparison of data warehouses, data lakes, and data hubs.

(Image Source)

To fully understand how all 3 differ, it’s good to understand the difference between structured and unstructured data:

  • Structured data is neat and fits nicely in a table. It’s basically a data scientist’s dream. There are titles, context, and plenty of identifiers to run algorithms on.
  • Unstructured data is the exact opposite. It’s dirty data that has little to no context. It’s hard to feed this to any algorithm or do much with it.

With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of the 3 terms:

  • Database is structured and organized items that fit into a set of tables with columns and rows. They’re typically designed to be transactional, not to perform data analytics.
  • Data warehouse sits on top of multiple databases. It consumes all the database data to create a layer optimized for data analytics.
  • Data lake is a central repository that stores structured and unstructured data from multiple sources. Often it stores raw data and acts as a catch-all. It’s possible to extract the data later and make more sense of it.

As you can see, all 3 have their uses and differ from a data hub. There’s a good chance you’ll need all of them if you process a lot of data.

What are the benefits of a data hub?

Data hubs bring everything together and, more importantly, make the data work for your organization. They enable you to access everything you need with ease.

A full-featured data hub like

  • Aids with avoiding sparsity, so your data is cleaner
  • Helps curate or filter data more easily to show you exactly what you’re looking for
  • Helps maintain consistent hierarchies, which helps greatly with searching and scanning
  • Accelerates future builds and provides greater agility, so using your data is faster
  • Makes data more easily accessible via indexing and searching, which makes your organization more efficient

The list of benefits is endless, and if nothing else, a strong data hub platform will make it easier for your teams to collaborate since everything is centrally located.

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Common data hub use cases

If the idea of deploying a data hub sounds technical and confusing, you’re not alone.

As a data hub, stores all sorts of customer and internal data.

A lot of people assume it’s only for computer scientists or analysts, but a good data hub can connect your company in ways you never thought possible.

Of the countless use cases, it can:

  • Serve as systems of record to keep up with actions and transactions
  • Feed other downstream systems with pertinent information
  • Provide a trusted center point for software integrations
  • Sort incoming data manually or via automation
  • Help process reporting and analytics functions
  • Provide real-time data insights

There’s a strong chance your organization needs some or all of those features, and if a platform like — shown above — can simplify what feels complex, it’s definitely worth a free trial to find out for yourself.

5 essential features to look for in a data hub

Looking for new software is hard. For starters, you have to find one that checks all the “must-have” boxes and is scalable enough to grow with you. When it comes to picking the right data hub, you’ll obviously want one with central cloud-based storage that syncs in real-time, but what else?

Here are 5 critical features to consider when looking for the perfect data hub for your organization.

1. Customization

When possible, you should always lead with a flexible solution. A modern data hub shouldn’t be rigid. It should bend and flex to your company’s unique needs. Ideally, it will not only capture, organize, and serve up the data you need, but it’ll integrate into your existing workflow.

Here’s one place truly shines. You can create an infinite number of boards for every department, team, and process at your organization. These boards are fully customizable because of the 30+ column types that help you build the perfect workflow.

Here are just a few that you’re sure to love:

  • File columns allow you to easily attach items to your boards
  • Email Columns make it easy to send emails to people with 1 click
  • People columns make it quick and easy to assign someone a task
  • Status columns give a real-time indication of the task’s progress
  • Tag columns make it easier to organize and filter your boards

The list of columns goes on and on, and so do the possibilities.

2. Integrations

A major part of what makes a data hub truly magical is its ability to play nicely with multiple applications simultaneously. Many know that as an open API, data integration, or even apps. showing dozens of integrations

Data comes from a million different directions, and a great data hub will do its best to open up possibilities. has dozens of integrations. If you get data from Dropbox, Slack, Google Drive, Excel, One Drive, or countless others, then will make that process much easier thanks to direct integrations.

Arguably the greatest integration is the one with Zapier, which connects to 3,000+ apps and broadens the possibilities even further.

Beyond integrations, has an apps marketplace that has 100’s of custom integrations, widgets, templates, and more that are sure to extend your reach even further.

There are apps for reporting and analytics, CRM, and much more.

3. Collaboration

A major component to getting the most out of your data is its accessibility to real people. Your people are your company’s greatest asset, and chances are they’re the ones gathering, processing, and using this data to reach your company’s strategic objectives.

Sounds easy enough, right?

How solves this problem is by putting people at the forefront of all features. We know you need a space to brainstorm and collaborate virtually in real-time, so we created monday whiteboards.

Shared boards give everyone a granular view of each project, and dashboards provide that high-level perspective needed by management and senior leaders.

If you’re collaborating on text-based data, you have monday workdocs, which bring doc creation in-house. You also can comment on images to give or get feedback using the image annotation features.

4. Task management

All the data in the world is worthless without action.

Unless you’re literally in the data storage game, you’re likely trying to do something with that data. With data sharing capabilities, each user in your database should access the source system anywhere and anytime.

Weekly to-do's filtered by owner, status, and priority

That means they can collaborate together or assign tasks out for completion. makes it feel effortless to divvy out tasks to your team, check on each other’s status, and communicate in real-time about task details. That means fewer meetings and emails and more getting things done.

5. Automations

Arguably the greatest feature of a data hub is the ability to automate your processes at scale. Relying on an individual user to do every little task is cumbersome and a waste of precious human capital.

When it comes to capturing data, assigning tasks, or communicating about data, it’s best to leave it to the robots so you can focus on more important work.

In essence, an automation recipe is just a pre-defined combination of trigger and action.

The trigger is anything that could set an automation in motion, such as a status changing, while an action results from a trigger, like notifying someone.

You can set specific time periods for automations as well, which are based on date and time specifications. That means you can set recurring tasks or conditional tasks, which both remove items from your to-do list.

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How provides the data hub outcomes you’re seeking

By now, you realize that is a data hub that provides a single source of data for your company’s sales, marketing, HR, customer service, and more.

A sales and marketing team might use the CRM features of its data hub to verify a lead or follow up to schedule a demo. A customer service rep might use that same data 8 months later to cross-reference why they bought your product and make relevant recommendations.

With’s boards, you can store data on an unlimited number of boards, which all connect with the right columns or dashboard combinations. dashboards showing high-level data insights

In the end, that’s what it’s all about.

It’s connecting your employees to the data you’ve spent precious time and resources collecting or creating. It’s about using that data to extract valuable knowledge that you can use to better the world and grow your business.

The reason fits so perfectly into that equation is that it’s a complete Work OS that eliminates the silos from your business and brings a level of collaboration you never thought was possible.

Plus, you get added features most data hubs don’t provide, like:

  • 24/7 customer support, so you always have the confidence knowing someone is a phone call away
  • 200+ templates that will kickstart your data hub’s effectiveness by giving each department their own space
  • 8+ data visualizations that let you see all your data from fresh and unique perspectives
  • Unlimited automation recipes so your team can focus less on admin work and more on what they do best

The feature list is impressive, and so are the results you’ll get from using a data hub.

Choosing the right platform

As time goes on, your company has more data at its fingertips and needs a solution that’ll keep track of it all and make it useful. In short, you need a data hub that stores data but also integrates with your organization’s unique workflow.

We believe is the no-brainer solution, but don’t take our word for it. Give our CRM template a shot and see the difference for yourself. It may be the best thing you do all week.

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