How should businesses establish data preparation as part of their data strategy?
Data preparation is, frankly, a bit boring. In fact, you may recall the survey by CrowdFlower that identified data preparation to be the 'least enjoyable' task for data professionals. Unfortunately for them, data preparation also makes up most of their work.
You can't blame data scientists for feeling that way. Data preparation refers to cleaning and transforming raw data before it is processed or analysed, which is a lengthy task to undertake. However, avoiding it is not an option. Data preparation is necessary to generate insights and remove poor data quality. Therefore, it's super important for making business decisions.
These days, data and its processes are increasingly moving to the cloud. As a recap, the cloud provides a whole host of benefits for data. This includes scalability, which gives you flexibility for the future.
At the same time, enterprise data preparation is now considered an emerging market. As a result, a number of enterprise data solutions are available to take over some of the tedious work for your data scientists.
The cloud's silver linings
Cloud-native preparation tools are all the rage, and they probably will continue to be for a long time. It's no wonder either, as these all-encompassing solutions alleviate much of the burden from data scientists.
Take Cloud Dataprep by Trifacta. This data service enables data professionals to explore, clean, and prepare structured and unstructured data. After that, the data is ready for analysis, reporting, and machine learning. One of its most attractive features is that it can work at any scale. Therefore, you don't need to worry about managing or deploying any infrastructure.
Some of these solutions also offer end-to-end visibility within the data environment. For example, Oracle's Big Data Preparation Cloud Service delivers this transparency while also enabling quick ingestion, repair, and publishing of large data sets. In Oracle's case, you can integrate the data with other Oracle cloud services for downstream analysis.
Companies such as Paxata are well aware of today's fast-paced environments and the pressures it introduces. They know that enterprises want to be able to start, scale, and evolve as quickly as possible. Hence, the Paxata cloud offering enables exactly this. Their modern approach is the first elastic, multi-tenant, secure information platform that is also an information-as-a-service in public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid environments.
Similarly, Alteryx's offering transforms what would normally take hours into minutes. With their data preparation solution, your analysts have the power to work with data at speed. The Alteryx way is through an intuitive no-code user interface that is up to 100x faster than traditional counterparts. Their offering delivers frictionless connectivity between sources and targets, repeatability through reuse, and sharing capabilities to maximise productivity.
Of course, artificial intelligence (AI) does have a part to play in data preparation. We all get it by now: automation is the saviour for tedious, repetitive jobs – and data preparation is one! ClearStory Data hones in on AI capabilities to deliver a powerful solution for data discovery and analysis. The ClearStory Data attitude is to put your business in control and auto-discover insights. Furthermore, using AI, the ClearStory Data solution allows you to blend data at scale, delivering results within minutes.
The Unifi Self-Service Data Platform is another fantastic solution worth exploring. This platform includes the automatic parsing of semi- and unstructured data. Furthermore, you can rely on the Unifi offering to automatically cleanse your data. Better yet, the platform has AI-driven capabilities to normalise, enrich, and profile your data. With Unifi, you're in good hands. In fact, Ovum even named them as a Self-Service Data Preparation Market Leader.
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