Data preparation tools: Your analytics strategy’s secret weapon

Data preparation is frequently cited as the leading roadblock to leveraging data within an organization. Getting the right tool for your organization can help you breakthrough.

Data preparation tools: Your analytics strategy’s secret weapon
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To reap the benefits of data analytics, you first have to get data preparation right. For many organizations, this is a significant bottleneck, with up to 70 percent of their time focused on data preparation tasks, according to recent research from Gartner.

"Finding, accessing, cleaning, transforming, and sharing the data, with the right people and in a timely manner, continues to be one of the most time-consuming roadblocks in data management and analytics," says Ehtisham Zaidi, senior director analyst of Gartner's Data and Analytics team and lead author of Gartner's Market Guide for Data Preparation Tools.

For organizations seeking to transform their business with analytics, the chief problem is less about mastering AI and more about mastering the data pipeline, says Jonathan Martin, chief marketing officer of Hitachi Vantara.

"The data preparation piece is the piece that is most challenging," he says. "How do I identify where all this data is? Am I able to build a portfolio? Am I able to engineer the pipelines to connect all those data sources together in an automated and managed and governed way to allow us to get that data to the right place, the right person, the right machine in the right time frame?"

Following is an in-depth look at why data preparation remains a significant analytics challenge, how data prep tools have evolved to address these issues, and what to look for when choosing data preparation tools for your business.

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