Slideshow 7 leading tools for data preparation

  • April 03 2017, 6:30am EDT
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7 leading tools for data preparation

In the new Forrester Wave report, “Data Preparation Tools, Q1 2017: The Seven Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up,” Forrester analyst Cinny Little, along with Gene Leganza and Jun Lee, look at seven top tools to help data analysts best prepare data so that it can be used to provide business insights. Trifacta Wrangler Enterprise and Paxata Adaptive Platform were named leaders in the group. Alteryx Analytics, Datawatch Monarch and SAS Data Loader for Hadoop were named strong performers. Unifi and Oracle Big Data Preparation Cloud Service were named contenders.

Trifacta Wrangler Enterprise

“Trifacta delivers a strong balance for self-service by analysts and business users,” according to Little. “Trifacta leverages machine learning algorithms to automate and simplify the interaction with data, making data wrangling self-service for analysts and business users. A key element of its strategy is encouraging trials via its free Wrangler product. This approach serves double duty, as it also enables Trifacta to leverage a large corpus of data from the thousands of users of this free version to inform its machine learning models.”

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Paxata Adaptive Platform

“Paxata focuses on usability and fast time-to-insights for business analysts,” Little explains. “Paxata is powered by a unified set of technologies designed to support and balance data integration, quality, governance, collaboration, and enrichment. The vendor combines a user experience that’s intuitive for business analysts, along with machine learning plus text and semantic analytics so analysts can connect data quickly and get to insights faster. Its differentiators include a ClicktoPrep feature that enables bidirectional contextual integration with BI tools, the use of Spark for large-scale data prep, and a multitenant architecture purpose-built for the cloud.”

Alteryx Analytics

“Alteryx provides deeper data insights from in-tool advanced analytics,” Little explains. “Alteryx is known for empowering business users with data preparation and advanced analytics. On the business model side, Alteryx’s success in building its partner and technology ecosystem is a key competitive strength, providing value-added flexibility to customers as well as a growth engine for the company — partners account for a significant portion of its new business and revenue growth in emerging markets. Customer references had a very positive view of the ability to get up and running quickly with Alteryx.”

Datawatch Monarch

“Datawatch excels when semi- or unstructured data sources are priorities,” Little says. “Datawatch has been in the big data business since long before that term existed, and its large customer base reflects that. For data preparation, customers depend on Datawatch Monarch’s legacy strength in extracting and processing data from reports and documents. While other evaluated tools are stronger in critical attributes like analytics, customer references gave good scores for Monarch’s ease of use and gave top scores on its ability to quickly automate time-consuming or repeated manual tasks.”

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SAS Data Loader for Hadoop

“SAS Data Loader For Hadoop is purpose-built to manage big data on Hadoop,” Little says. “An established leader in analytics, big data, data integration, and data quality, SAS built this data preparation tool for the benefit of its customer base as a response to the democratization of data and the popularity of Hadoop. The vendor cited the product as one of its most successful recent launches. Customer references, all users of broader SAS offerings, gave top scores to the tool’s abilities to connect to more data sources than they were accustomed to and its ability to turn data prep steps into repeatable pipelines.”


“Unifi combines both self-service data discovery and preparation on one platform,” according to Little. “Unifi’s user experience for data discovery and preparation is a six-step process on all jobs: connect, discover, cleanse/enrich, transform, and format for viewing. As the cloud-optimized tool learns from the actions that professional in an organization make, its machine learning feature makes recommendations to the user at each step. Unifi’s tool has the strongest natural language search among evaluated vendors.”

Oracle Big Data Preparation Cloud Service

“Oracle’s Big Data Preparation Cloud Service provides self-service for business users,” Little says. “Available in the Oracle Cloud and powered by Apache Spark and Hadoop, Big Data Preparation Cloud Service (BDP) provides strong capabilities for data ingestion, preparation, enrichment and governance, and balancing business end user and technology management data steward requirements. As with the other evaluated vendors’ solutions, BDP provides independence and speed-to-insight to business users for data preparation.”