Data preparation moves into mainstream

Data preparation has gone from one of the more understated topics in the analytics discussion to one that is generating buzz across market segments, industries and regions in a relatively short period of time. Now that firms are beginning to recognize the importance of data prep, demand for relevant services is booming, leading to increased competition among the vendors that supply these types of solutions.

This is certainly good news for all involved, as optimal preparation and data cleansing will yield stronger performances within analytics programs, as well as more progressive strategic changes as time goes on. In the coming years, many expect data preparation to move even further into the mainstream spotlight, especially as a high volume of businesses begin to leverage advanced analytics programs and will need to get this right.

A look at the future
Gartner analyst Lakshmi Randall recently published a blog on the company’s website regarding the future of data preparation, affirming that this particular market segment has become “indispensable” in the past 12 months. According to the author, preparation is currently centered between analytics and general data management, and it is yet to be seen whether it will become its own industry entirely, or if it will remain in this position.

After citing some of the interests business leaders have, such as application architecture-based preparation and data-as-a-service, Randall stated that the current pool of vendors that can offer the right options is still relatively small.

How will data prep play out?Data preparation markets are expected to grow in the coming years.

“A few stand-alone data preparation and analytics vendors who offer end-user oriented data preparation are strengthening their products by bringing in robustness with capabilities such as “in-database” and “in-cluster” processing in order to accommodate preparation of large volumes of data,” Randall affirmed.

Finally, the analyst noted that the range of functions that forthcoming data prep solutions will involve should expand relatively quickly, especially given the need to improve user-friendliness.

No need to wait
Businesses can already acquire the services, support and solutions they need to handle data preparation with more ease and greater efficiency, as leading analytics providers have already paved the way in this regard. For example, outsourced data cleanse tools are available today, while self-service data preparation platforms can be provisioned to boot, thus allowing firms to capture the solutions they need to maximize returns on analytics investments in stride.