Data preparation tools are applications that aid in the process of cleaning, structuring and enriching raw data into a desired output for analysis. Those tasked with data preparation for analytics or other downstream uses undoubtedly know firsthand that the biggest challenge of data preparation is the time-consuming nature of the work—up to 80% of the overall analysis process is historically spent cleaning or preparing data. We built a data preparation tool, Trifacta, to solve for this.
The Rise of Self-Service Data Preparation Tools
A critical part of ensuring the accuracy of data analysis, data preparation (sometimes called data wrangling) can be costly and time-consuming. Whether it’s top business analysts using Excel or SQL; or the IT team using Python, an organization’s most highly-skilled technical staff are often tasked with wrangling large, complex data sets. But the time and cost of doing so—combined with the increased pace and data-driven nature of modern business—have led organizations to seek out efficient data preparation tools that more people in the company can use.
Given the proliferation of data sources, it’s no wonder most companies struggle to extract the maximum value out of their data investment. The time and cost required to create, maintain and share one-off solutions made with Excel, SAS, or Python are driving a shift in the usage of self-service data preparation tools that enable non-technical business analysts to wrangle data themselves. When the end users who know the right questions to ask of big data are empowered to pursue those questions, organizations can arrive at insights faster and at a lower cost. Business analysts no longer need to wait months for their IT organizations to prepare data; they can now unlock big data’s power in just a few clicks.
What to Look for in Self-Service Data Preparation Tools
There is certain functionality that should be baked into all self-service data preparation tools. Best-of-breed applications should combine engaging visual interaction and pattern-detecting intelligence with back-end functionality so that the once overwhelming task of data wrangling becomes accessible, intuitive, and scalable across the organization.
Visual Interface: An intuitive representation of data is a must for engaging users and offering a quick snapshot of the data, regardless of their role within an organization. Functionality in data preparation tools should allow for deeper dives into the data, while at the same time be accessible enough for any user to draw immediate insights.
Interoperability: Regardless of your data’s structure, diversity, or complexity, these data preparation tools should be able to work across applications, systems, and frameworks to ensure consistency.
Collaborative Data Governance: In today’s regulation-heavy yet collaborative business environment, data lineage and secure access for team members are necessities for all data preparation tools.
Intelligence: The best data preparation tools maintain an intuitive wrangling experience that guides non-technical users through the process, so that wrangling takes increasingly less time and analysis becomes increasingly more accurate.
Data Preparation for Analytics with Trifacta
Incorporating all of the above essentials, Trifacta has been a leader in the category since its inception and is routinely recognized as the top data preparation vendor by industry analysts such as Forrester, Dresner Advisory Services, and G2 has ranked Trifacta as the top data preparation for analytics vendor.
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