Posted by Scott Barker on August 9, 2017

In Part 1 we explored the challenges with Excel that lead to wasted time and inaccurate data. The good news is, you no longer have to do the heavy lifting or waste your time manually cleaning up data. You no longer have to deal with the frustration.

Self-service data preparation software, like Datawatch Monarch, delivers an efficient solution to help you get answers from your data quickly.

Self-service data preparation software runs on your desktop. It extracts data from nearly any source and converts it into analytics-ready rows and columns in seconds making data clean-up a snap. Ultimately, it’s about much more than just cleaning up your data. As you collate, share, and collaborate on the information you’ve created, you can add version control, data integrity, and security to the data, solving the many challenges people face with their Excel data models.

We all use Excel but truth be told, most of us only know about 10 percent of the capabilities off the top of our heads. Most times we stumble through trying to do something – knowing full well that if we just opened the help files, or looked up some YouTube video we’d figure it out this one time.  The challenge, of course, is the next time we ‘may’ need to do that could be at the end of the month or next quarter.  By then we’ve forgotten that technique or trick…and are back to googling.

Thousands of Monarch customers have eliminated the time-consuming and error-prone manual processes required to make data work in Excel. When you choose a data-preparation tool, make sure it has the following features to increase your productivity while using Excel:

Preview Data Before Loading

You should be able to quickly preview all your data and determine if you’ve got the right information and whether or not it needs to be cleaned before loading to avoid unnecessary work.

Extract Data From Reports and PDFs

No matter the format of the original source, you should be able to easily parse the information into rows and columns and import the data in a standard format for further analysis without any manual work.

Use Data From Websites

Your data preparation software should allow you to get data from websites while eliminating the “noise” (e.g. images, ads, navigation) so you only bring in the necessary rows and columns. It should also be able to pull updated information in automatically as the information on the website is updated.

Combine Data Sets and Consolidate Data Tables

You should be able to join entire data sets or selected columns in a variety of manners quickly and easily.

In addition, combining similar data sets, joining with other data or updating them with new data should be just a mouse-click away.

Fix Missing Data

You should be able to replace nulls with a single value in a few easy clicks.

Process Sensitive Data

An ideal data preparation tool provides options so you can mask data in different ways based on your need. You should be able to fully redact the data or create aliases if you want to keep aggregating information.

improve-opeerations-icon-316x316
Image source

You should also be able to set access control so only authorized personnel can see the masked data.

Version Control and History

A data prep tool should help you track every action taken with the data and allow you to access and edit an earlier version. It should also allow users to collaborate on a file and see each other’s work to help improve data accuracy and productivity.

Automatic Update and Data Prep

When you receive new data, your software should update reports automatically. In addition, you should be able to capture the automation process so you can reuse it for another data set or reports.

If you haven’t been using a data prep software to help you get the most out of Excel, it’s time to upgrade your toolbox.

Datawatch Monarch is designed to help business users and data analysts increase productivity, fully utilize available data, and reduce errors.

Find out how much easier your job can be with automated data prep. Your co-workers will all think you’ve become a data wizard, or magically added hours to your workweeks.

For more information on how Monarch helps Excel, check out Part 1 of this blog: The Excel Conundrum (Part 1): Why Most People Struggle with Data.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.datawatch.com/2016/03/30/make-excel-excellent-self-service-data-prep/

http://www.datawatch.com/resource-center/literature/10-way-excel-ebook/

http://www.datawatch.com/what-is-data-preparation/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_masking

Product Tour