Solve the puzzle: A company’s critical customer data is in a multiterabyte on-premises database, and the digital marketing application that uses that data to manage and execute campaigns runs in the cloud. How can the cloud-based marketing software quickly access and leverage that on-premises data?

It’s a puzzle that one small consumer-engagement consulting company, Embel Assist, found its clients facing. The traditional solution, perhaps, would be to periodically replicate the on-premises database in the cloud using extract-transfer-load (ETL) software, but that may take too much time and bandwidth, especially when processing terabytes of data. What’s more, the replicated data could quickly become out of date.

Using cloud-based development and computing resources, Embel Assist found another way to crack this problem. It created an app called EALink that acts as a smart interface between an organization’s customer data sources and Oracle Eloqua, a cloud-based marketing automation platform. EALink also shows how development using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure creates new opportunities for a small and creative company to take on big enterprise data challenges.

Say the on-premises CRM system for a drugstore chain has 1 million customer records. The chain wants an e-mail campaign to reach customers who made their last purchase more than a month ago, who live within 20 miles of one set of stores, and who purchased products related to a specific condition. Instead of exporting the entire database into Eloqua, EALink runs the record-extraction query on the CRM system and sends Eloqua only the minimum information needed to execute the campaign. And, the query is run when the campaign is being executed, so the campaign information won’t be out of date.

Learn more about Embel Assist in my story for Forbes, “Embel Assist Links Marketing Apps With Enterprise Data.”