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It’s Not How Big Your Data Is. It’s How Fast You Can Use It.

June 13, 2016

Does it feel like you spend far more time preparing data to be analyzed than actually analyzing it? You aren’t alone. Forrester estimates up to 80% of most analysts’ time is spent preparing data. Data preparation takes so much time because for the most part, you have only two options:

Current Option A: Wait For IT

If you aren’t technical, this may be your only option for some tasks. While your IT team is awesome, if they’re like most IT teams, they’re swamped with work. You might have to wait days or weeks to get help. In addition their team may not have your context. For example, they may not understand marketing data, or the nuances of the sales automation data that comes in. As a result, their analysis may miss some important context and nuance that alters the conclusions drawn. If you want to test a hypothesis by making small runs of data then running them in iterations with small tweaks, that means you get back at the end of the line.

Current Option B: Do It Yourself

You don’t mind doing data preparation, but it’s just so time consuming! By the time you’re ready to analyze the data, you’re already behind schedule. And now your brain is tired. Your local machine has limitations: Cartesian limits in Excel, memory processing power, even bandwidth if the data set is large enough. Your own brain’s ability to grasp multiple simultaneous data inputs changing in real time is limited. If you lack strong technical skills, or are just in a hurry,  you might make errors in preparation, which affect the analysis.

Oh, and then next week or next month when you want to compare the results? You have to start over again, trying to remember why you wrote a particular formula or script. If you then change the script you have to go back and restate your previous results. If the intern or consultant that you had write that script or dashboard leaves? Also a problem.

Meanwhile the next project is already on your plate…

Expanding Solutions for Evolving Data

As big data evolves, the way we manage and report on it has to as well. Excel was an amazing tool for a flat file data set. But just as data storage has evolved its structures, analysts tools need to evolve to help prepare, analyze, and report on that data.

You should be able to work with the data on your local machine, while getting all the benefits of software-as-a-service: updates, new visualizations, and sharing with your colleagues. No matter what analytic ability people bring to the table, the tools you use should help them gain new insights into data that might have taken weeks to get previously. Marketing should be able to log in from their Macs-and see a real 360 degree view of the customer. Finance should be able to see that same picture from their Windows machines, and executives from their tablets. Consultants should be able to work immediately at the level of access you grant and the hard work your team puts in shouldn’t be lost when someone leaves.

While we’re at, you should also be able to repeat your import and preparation commands over and over again. And shouldn’t formulas, visualizations, translations, extraction methods be able to be saved and shared throughout the organization?

Focus On Analysis, Not Preparation

As an intelligent software layer between you and the raw data, Trifacta can be your right hand in data preparation. Here’s how it can help:

Visual: Actually see what’s in your data, and then use this understanding to drive your data transformation. For example: automagically get geographic data presented as a map.

Trifacta’s visual displays are Interactive. Just click on the elements to explore more deeply and add in other sources as you need. You can even preview what the results might look like, with actual data, on-the fly.

Intelligent: get suggestions about the most likely data transformation needed. Behind the scenes your requests are being mapped to efficient code that makes queries to the database less resource intensive. That means faster results for you and your team.

Repeatable: Save your work. Share with colleagues. Use their existing transformations. Ensure consistency across departments. No reinventing the wheel. Run weekly, monthly, quarterly, as needed. What will you do with all that extra time on your hands?

Data Analysis Can Be Fun And Profitable

You got into data analysis because you like solving problems. Trifacta takes the drudgery of data preparation out of data analysis so you can do the job you you really want to do. The best news is that making data analysis fun again can have huge benefits to the bottom line: For the typical Fortune 1000 company, an increase of data accessibility of just 10% means realizing more than $65 million additional annual net income. With Trifacta, you can cut reporting time by as much as 90%.

But don’t believe us. Pepsico has all but eliminated Excel in their CPFR organization by using Trifacta. Go Pro’s product development, marketing, and customer support teams now directly access the company’s raw data with Trifacta, without IT intervention.

What could you could do, if you weren’t spending 80% of your time on data preparation? Let’s find out, together.

To try out Trifacta’s data preparation software, sign up for Trifacta Wrangler for free today!