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Point and Shoot Data Preparation

April 22, 2015

Do you remember analog film cameras?

You were always cautious in selecting and shooting pictures. Each picture had to be carefully considered due to the limited number of shots per film and the price of the film itself.

Then the film had to be brought to a specialist in order to receive prints of your pictures in a week, or in a few hours if you were willing to pay an extra fee. Only after going through that process, were you able to verify whether the pictures were a “success” or a “miss.” Unfortunately, this process led to way too many “misses” and would bring avid photographers like myself bitter regrets of lost souvenirs. To top it all off, the prints that were discarded cost just as much as the ones that were kept.

With today’s digital point and shoot cameras, the experience has totally changed. Anyone with a smart phone or digital camera can take as many pictures as they want with almost unlimited storage. Even kids can do it because the parameters of the camera adjust optimally for each given picture. And if a picture is not perfect, you can still edit or delete it thanks to the high definition display and editing features of cameras. Ultimately, physical prints of the best pictures can still be ordered from a professional.

The photography experience now is mostly pleasurable. The barriers to becoming a productive photographer today require far less experience and talent than they used to. Amateur photographers can gain experience without constraints or limits and for a fraction of the cost of an analog film camera. So much more fun!

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Given all of these advantages of digital cameras, it is no surprise they took the market by storm. They’re so much more convenient and fit today’s modern on-the-go lifestyle.

This analogy provides more context for what we’re doing at Trifacta and helps explain why so many people have their “aha” moment when they see Trifacta in action for the first time. They immediately understand that Trifacta is flipping the paradigm for how analysis is performed by empowering users that have traditionally been regulated to being consumers of data, to actually prepare the data themselves. Just like the advantages of the digital camera, this enables users to experiment and be more creative with their work because there is virtually no penalty if they make a mistake in this environment. By no longer having to rely on IT specialists to prepare data for them, analysts have nearly endless possibilities with what they are able to do with their data and can iterate quickly to determine what’s valuable and what’s not.

Traditionally, information consumers have to think precociously ahead of time to define what they want for their analytics. They are working on assumptions, with almost no ability to test their assumptions on the actual data ahead of time. Given that the current way to access data is incredibly complex, they typically have to rely on ETL, DW, and database specialists to construct a rigid and costly system that ultimately does not deliver on the initially defined expectations. This leads to frustration on both ends, a waste of time, and unnecessary costs. Ultimately, the system may “work,” but it is a long and painful experience for everyone involved.

Trifacta is changing this paradigm.

Trifacta enables the user to experiment and produce the final result of what they want without having to engage IT specialists to explain what he or she “thinks” they want. Trifacta enables users to play with data and explore possibilities in formatting, combining and cleaning different data without limitations on the size, structure or quality of the data they’re working with. Trifacta anticipates the best data transformations based on the type of data a user is working with and recommends a list of options they should try, guiding the user with immediate visual feedback on the potential impact of each option. Possibilities are endless for people to experience and transform the data the way they want.

When the user transforms data into the best form for their analytics needs, then, if necessary, they can engage with IT specialists. This approach, enabled by Trifacta, makes the job of IT easier because requirements provided to them are precise and thorough. IT professionals benefit by not having to waste time, resources, and money in building, breaking, and rebuilding artifacts to the point where the end user ultimately accepts the delivery.

Frustrations and miscommunication on both sides are removed making the overall process more efficient and leading to faster results.

This is the power of Trifacta, the point and shoot data preparation solution for every information professional.

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