Data prep is the process of cleaning, structuring and enriching raw data into a desired output for analysis. Data prep is as important to data analysis as a pre-flight checklist is to a pilot. With so many moving parts, if a plane isn’t in perfect condition, there’s a potential for even a tiny flaw to cause catastrophic failure.
In the case of data prep, the failure could result in anything from an embarrassing meeting with your client to a million-dollar mistake, but these errors are easy to avoid if you approach them with discipline and focus. The right data wrangling tools can ensure a smooth landing for everyone. Alteryx’s approach to data preparation. Below, we’ve included some of the core functionalities needed in a modern tool for successful data preparation.
4 Key Data Prep Priorities
Priority One: Interactive Exploration
Data prep tools should present users with automated visual representations of their data based upon its content, generating the most compelling visual representation. Every profile should be completely interactive, allowing users to simply select certain elements of the profile to prompt suggestions in the data preparation process.
Priority Two: Predictive Transformation
With each interaction—clicking, dragging, selecting—savvy data prep technologies should offer ranked lists of suggested transformations for users to evaluate or even edit depending upon what they’re trying to do. This accelerates and automates the process, allowing users to move faster—no coding knowledge required.
Priority Three: Intelligent Execution
Every transformation during the data prep process should be logged and, at execution time, automatically compile down into the appropriate processing framework based upon the scale of the data the user is working with and the type of transformations being applied.
Priority Four: Data Governance
To meet the growing data governance requirements of modern IT departments, data prep tools should provide support for collaborative security, access, data lineage, and metadata.
Value Leaks in Data Prep Can Scuttle Your Flight Plan
Analysts report spending up to 80% of their time in data preparation. That means value is leaking out of your organization, whether because valuable engineering time is spent extracting one off reports; or because analysts are spending analytic time trying to cobble together a report on the fly.
For example, if your enterprise has dozens of analysts spending countless hours feeding data to Excel sheets or using a traditional extract, transform, and load (ETL) process to pull data and format it for use, you likely have a value leak.
When it comes to data prep, Alteryx Designer Cloud can ensure a smooth flight experience for everyone, from engineering, to IT, to data analysts, business users, to executives. Let us help you scope your data prep investments to help you spot leaks and prevent a failure before it happens.
Learn more about how Designer Cloud can help with your data preparation needs. Download our ebook Transform Your Data and Transform Your Business in Six Steps.