Transforming Your Business: The Power of XML Conversions Explained

February 26, 2024 Business

Information is power – this couldn’t be truer in the data-driven world we are living in. Making data-backed decisions separates market leaders from laggards. But what if your most valuable data is trapped in complex XML documents that are inaccessible for analysis?

This is true for many organizations that exchange data with partners and operate in heavily regulated industries. Though they know that valuable customer data holds the key to predictive models and is no less than a gold mine, the complexity of these structures makes extracting value seem impossible for all but specialized experts.

Ever wished for XML documents to fuel your decisions instead of just collecting digital dust?

Well, now this is possible with new automated XML conversion techniques. With the help of this technique, you can transform simple XML documents into engines for enterprise analytics. This article will cover how leveraging the power of XML conversion tools will transform your business.

What is XML conversion?

XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a versatile document format that structures, stores, and transports data. It excels at:

  • Modeling hierarchical data with parent-child relationships
  • Facilitating data interchange and system integrations
  • Ensuring flexibility for future changes.

However, end users struggle to extract and analyze data locked away in XML. It requires specialized skills like XPath and XQuery to query XML. XML is not readily compatible with SQL-based data analysis tools that business users are familiar with. 

Converting XML to relational database formats makes the data more usable. A relational model structures data into simple tables with interconnected rows and columns. This tabular format can integrate smoothly with business intelligence tools. SQL makes it easy for anyone to query relational databases.

By converting XML data sources into an optimized relational schema, data can shift from being just archived content to fueling business insights.

How does XML conversion benefit your business?  

Many industries exchange data in specialized XML-based formats for regulatory or interoperability reasons. These data standards ensure consistency across organizations by uniformly structuring information. Consider examples like:  

  • Financial: FIX, FpML, ISO 20022
  • Healthcare: HL7, FHIR  
  • Government: XBRL
  • Supply chain: UBL 

Without conversion, critical business data gets siloed within these complex XML structures used for transmission. Your partner companies might only provide data to you in these standards without accessible analysis options.

Converting industry-standard XMLs to a relational database schema integrates disparate data sources for company-wide visibility. This way, your organization gains the capacity to combine, query, and report on information that previously existed in isolation. 

Having integrated access to larger volumes of data aids in advanced analytics. It powers efforts around:

  • Business intelligence and reporting  
  • Predictive modeling   
  • Machine learning

Adding depth and breadth of data for analysis directly enables data-driven decision-making. Companies become more agile and forward-looking by using converted XML content.

Manual vs. automated XML conversion  

When it comes to converting XML data into more usable formats, there are two approaches to it:

1. Manual coding 

2. Automated conversion tools

Manual conversion involves developers writing custom scripts to extract, transform, and load XML data. It grants precise control but requires specialized XML skills. Developers invest significant effort in analyzing complex XML schemas to map into a relational model. For major industry standards spanning thousands of elements, manual mapping takes months.

On the other hand, XML conversion tools like Sonra intelligently parse XML and XSDs to auto-generate optimized relational schemas and bi-directional mappings. Conversion requires only hours and days instead of weeks and months, regardless of complexity. Automation handles large data volumes while performance tuning output to your infrastructure. Ongoing maintenance for changes is also minimized through automation.  

So, when should you choose between manual coding or automated conversion?

Choose manual coding when there are:

  • Simple XML structures
  • The small number of XML schemas 
  • XML experts are available
  • Smaller data volumes

Choose automated conversion when there are:

  • Complex XML or unknown structures
  • Many different XML schemas
  • Lack of XML skills 
  • Need to scale across large data   

Blending both manual and automated approaches provides flexibility across integration use cases. Manual coding suits one-off tactical integrations, while automation handles large-scale, repeatable conversions where efficiency matters.  


The value of data is realized when it enables business insights for strategic action. Converting complex XML documents into easily accessed relational formats makes it possible. Integrating disparate data sources creates a competitive edge. Automation handles large volumes without XML expertise.

Modern conversion approaches allow you to transform siloed XML content into fuel for your data-driven business success. To conclude, XML integration lays the foundation for advanced analytics that helps make forward-looking decisions.