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The “Goldilocks” Solution to Integrating Unfamiliar Client Data

April 6, 2020

Let’s say you work for an analytics provider. It could be a marketing analytics provider, healthcare, supply chain—it doesn’t matter. You’ve just closed a deal with a new client. One of your first orders of business is to get your hands on your client’s data. 

Your client sets up data sharing. Your team stands ready to onboard your client’s data. The process involves connecting to, understanding, cleaning, blending, and outputting the client data into a workflow that, in turn, feeds your analytics product or platform. 

Your team has done this hundreds of times. But no two clients’ data is ever the same. The process of transforming unfamiliar, raw client data into a specific format or schema that’s fit for purpose—how often does that go according to plan? Almost never, right?

When it Comes to Integrating Unfamiliar Data, Excel and Code Fall Short

The two most common approaches to integrating unfamiliar client data—Excel and coding—just don’t cut it. 

While everyone knows Excel, analytics providers need more out of the spreadsheet program that it can give. It lacks capacity, scale, and automation, and it’s not particularly helpful in resolving data quality issues. It’s just not built for this purpose. If you’re looking for limitations and manual tedium, Excel delivers. But who’s looking for that?

Coding tools like Python or R fill in some of the automation gaps left open by Excel. But a one-size-fits-all Python script or ETL process is no match for integrating highly variable client datasets. And besides, who has enough code-proficient project managers to handle the volume of new scripts that need to be built for each new client dataset? Manual code is not the solution you’re looking for, either.

The “Just Right” Solution is Self-Service Data Prep

When Excel Is too limited, and code is too technical, self-service data preparation Is just right. It’s the Goldilocks solution to integrating unfamiliar client data.

A self-service data preparation platform:

  • Combines the ease-of-use of tools like Excel with self-service automation capabilities.
  • Offers visual guidance to help you discover and understand the contents of your data. This is super important when you’re working with a new client’s unfamiliar data.
  • Speeds up the time it takes to integrate a new client’s data the first time—and every time thereafter—by automating the work.

We’ve written a whole eBook on this subject—check it out! It shows you how self-service data preparation saves analytics providers massive time in both design and production. 

And as we know, time is money. The quicker you can get your team working directly with your clients’ data and build out repeatable processes, the sooner you can deliver value to your clients, earn their trust, and build your business. (What are you waiting for? Get your copy of our eBook now.)

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