Independent technology advisory firm Forrester Research has released its latest Forrester Wave for Data Preparation Solutions, Q4 2018. Data preparation tools have exploded in popularity over the last few years, and Forrester hits the nail on the head, saying: “Enterprises need to put data for generating insights where the money gets generated: directly into the hands of more people in the firm whose organizational and individual goals depend on improving business outcomes.” This software market includes tools that provide machine learning optimization and data governance features so users can take full advantage of data.
In their 18-criteria evaluation of data preparation solutions, Forrester researchers Cinny Little and Gene Leganza identified the 10 providers whom they consider most significant in the category: ClearStory Data, Datameer, Datawatch, Oracle, Paxata, SAP, SAS, TIBCO Software, Trifacta, and Unifi Software – then researched, analyzed, and scored them.
The Wave report details their findings and examines how each vendor meets (or falls short of) Forrester’s evaluation criteria and where vendors stand in relation to each other.
In order to help data and analytics leaders select the right tools, The Forrester Wave report outlines the current state of the market and separates the top providers into leaders, strong performers and contenders. At Solutions Review, we’ve read the report, available here, and pulled a few of the most important takeaways.
Data preparation software needs to “fit right in”
Data preparation solutions need to, as Forrester puts it “play nicely” with existing data sources, tools and IT frameworks to be effective. Users need the flexibility to deploy and use data preparation where they see fit. These tools also need to cut the time-to-insight by a considerable margin. Just 15 percent of data preparation is done by lines-of-business. However, this a trend that many expect to become pervasive as adoption for data preparation continues.
It’s Trifacta’s (and Paxata’s) world, we’re just living in it
Trifacta and Paxata are both major players in data preparation software. Trifacta’s stand-alone product provides machine learning-enabled data preparation and is flexible enough to be custom-fit into existing IT architectures. The solution can be deployed on-prem or in the cloud, and integrates with BI and data analytics, data science, data viz, and catalog tools. According to its reference customers, a new user can begin using Trifacta within 3 hours of training.
Paxata’s Adaptive Information Platform offers data integration, quality, and governance capabilities for business analysts. It features flexible deployment options and self-service operation. The provider’s Self-Service Data Prep Application is built on a visual user interface that has familiar spreadsheet metaphors so users don’t have to learn an entirely new tool. Paxata scales well, and customers are using it to move increasingly large data volumes.
Unifi Software and ClearStory Data have strong current offerings relative to the competition
Unifi Software scored the highest on Forrester’s vertical axis for current offering, besting even the top two overall performers. The company’s data preparation software combines integrated cataloging and machine learning. The user interface also features natural language search that is presented in a single search field that operates like Google.
ClearStory Data is appropriate for a variety of user personas, and Forrester reference customers speak to the tool’s speedy data discovery and acceleration features. The company’s flagship product offers ways for organizations to discover, prepare, and blend data from structured and unstructured sources. ClearStory’s Data Inference tool automates the data preparation process for any data source by inferring semantics in business data, reading values, and automating transformations.