The experience of cleaning data in Excel is reliable and familiar; analysts have been successfully cleaning up data in Excel for decades in order to ready it for analysis.
However, as today’s data grows larger and increasingly complex, Excel is showing its age. Cleaning data works best when analysts are relatively familiar with the data at hand; they know what to search for and more or less what types of errors need addressing. If not, it’s hard to identify invalid numbers or incorrect dates, especially when that data respects certain format standards. And when it comes to assessing data inconsistency between multiple spreadsheets, cleaning data in Excel becomes a complex project all by its own.
Instead of learning how to clean data in Excel, analysts are increasingly using new data preparation solutions that intelligently identify possible transformations and visually surface errors. These types of solutions mirror the direction of the analytics world—adopting platforms that are user-friendly, flexible and allow for visual interaction.