Proper data preparation is a critical component of successful analytics. If your data isn't prepared before analysis, it can result in misinformed decisions and missed opportunities. So how can you ensure your data is primed and ready? Enter data preparation tools.
Here are a few key takeaways to know about data preparation tools:
- Data preparation tools can significantly enhance the accuracy and reliability of your data. They ensure your data is cleansed, transformed, and organized.
- The best data preparation tools are easy to use with robust customer support. The tool you choose should also be able to handle a wide range of data prep tasks.
- Data preparation tools should connect to all your data sources and destinations, including databases or analytics tools.
- There are many data preparation tools to choose from, including Integrate.io, Talend, and Informatica to name a few.
- The key differences between leading data prep tools revolve around features, data preparation capabilities, and pricing.
In this guide, we'll cover 12 of the top data preparation tools for successful analytics so you can generate more useful insights from your data.
Table of Contents
- What Is Data Preparation?
- How to Evaluate Data Preparation Tools
What Is Data Preparation?
Data preparation, also known as data pre-processing, is a crucial step in the data analysis process. It involves cleaning and transforming raw data before it's used for data analytics. This process can include tasks such as removing or correcting errors, handling missing values, or standardizing and normalizing data.
Data preparation aims to improve the data's quality and reliability, making it more suitable for analysis or predictive modeling. It's a critical step because the accuracy and reliability of the insights or predictions generated from data analysis depend on data quality.
How to Evaluate Data Preparation Tools
With so many data preparation tools out there, how do you choose the one that's right for you? Here are a few key considerations to make as you evaluate tools.
Features and Functionality
The tool you choose should be capable of handling a wide range of data preparation tasks, like data cleaning, transformation, and integration. It should support various data types and formats and be able to handle both structured and unstructured data.
Ease of Use
Data preparation can be a complex and time-consuming process, but the right tool can greatly streamline it. Look for a data preparation tool with no-code/low-code capabilities and a drag-and-drop interface. In addition, make sure the tool you pick allows users to automate common data-related tasks.
Customer support is a vital aspect to consider when choosing a data preparation tool. The tool provider should offer robust support to help you resolve any issues as soon as they arise. A knowledge base is also important as it can help you find answers to the most commonly asked questions.
Rating: 4.3/5 (G2)
- ETL capabilities: Integrate.io offers advanced extract, transform, and load (ETL) capabilities, enabling users to efficiently collect data from various sources, transform it into a usable format, and load it into a data warehouse.
- Change data capture (CDC): The platform provides CDC functionality, allowing for real-time data updates and ensuring that your data is always current and accurate.
- Hundreds of built-in integrations: Integrate.io supports various integrations with data sources and platforms, facilitating seamless data collection and processing.
- Visual data pipeline builder: The tool features a drag-and-drop data pipeline builder, simplifying the process of creating and managing data workflows.
Integrate.io is an easy-to-use data integration platform designed to simplify the process of data preparation and management. It has ETL and reverse ETL capabilities and the industry’s fastest data replication feature allowing for real-time data updates.
The platform supports an array of integrations with various data sources and platforms, including databases, cloud storage, and popular business applications. This facilitates seamless data collection and processing, regardless of where your data is stored.
One of Integrate.io’s key features is its drag-and-drop builder that allows even non-technical users to create and manage complex data pipelines in minutes without writing a single line of code.
Integrate.io offers a transparent pricing model, with various plans to choose from depending on your needs. For example, our ETL Starter plan starts at $15,000 per year.
Rating: 4.8/5 (G2)
- AI-powered data quality enhancement: The platform allows users to easily discover and validate data quality issues using AI and ML algorithms.
- Data enrichment capabilities: Alteryx supports data enrichment helping companies get the most out of their data.
Alteryx is a data analytics platform with powerful data preparation features. Its data exploration and profiling capabilities allow users to visually explore their data, providing a clear understanding of variable distributions and overall data quality.
This is facilitated through intuitive visualizations such as field-level bar charts, scatterplots, and colorizations. Pricing plans for Alteryx start at $4,950 for the Designer Cloud edition.
Rating: 4.2/5 (G2)
- Self-service data preparation: Talend provides self-service capabilities for preparing data, empowering users to manage their own data preparation tasks.
- Reusable transformation recipes: The platform offers sharable and reusable transformation recipes, enabling quick remedies to common data quality issues.
Talend is a data integration platform built to streamline the data preparation process. The platform empowers users with self-service capabilities for preparing data, allowing them to manage their own data preparation tasks.
This feature and the platform's support for Spark batch processing facilitate efficient data transfer and preparation. As for cost, Talend’s pricing is based on features and usage. For more detailed pricing, you'll need to reach out to the sales team.
Rating: 4.5/5 (G2)
- Powerful data preparation functions: Altair has pre-built functions for many data preparation commands allowing users to automate and streamline repeatable processes.
- Enterprise capabilities: The platform supports sharing curated datasets across your entire organization through its collaborative interface.
Altair is used by businesses to access, cleanse, and transform data. The platform is best known for its data wrangling and transformation capabilities powered by the desktop-based, self-service data preparation solution called Monarch.
This allows users to connect to various data sources and transform challenging data into reliable datasets. Altair doesn't list pricing on its website. However, you can try Altair Monarch for free for 30 days.
Rating: 4.4/5 (G2)
- Interactive data profiling: The platform offers visualized data profiles and statistics to accelerate the preparation of large datasets.
- Intelligent automation: Streamline the data preparation process by leveraging Informatica’s AI-powered automation capabilities.
Informatica is a cloud-native data management platform with advanced data preparation capabilities. The platform’s intuitive data compilation features and Excel-like interface make it a powerful but user-friendly data preparation tool.
Informatica’s pricing model is based on usage allowing you to scale up or down as needed.
Rating: 4.5/5 (G2)
- Enhanced data quality: Gathr’s drag-and-drop UI allows users to perform data quality checks and enrich incoming data using self-service operators.
- Zero-code operations: The platform offers over 300 built-in operations that can be implemented through its drag-and-drop interface, eliminating the need for coding.
Gathr is an ETL data integration platform with data preparation capabilities. It grants 360-degree visibility into the data preparation process and comes with point-and-click troubleshooting, enabling users to easily fix errors with a connector or destination in just a few clicks.
Gathr offers two main pricing plans: Gathr Cloud and Gathr Unlimited. You can also try Gathr for free through their 14-day trial.
Rating: 4.2/5 (G2)
- Collaboration features: The platform makes sharing the output with others easy via Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server, or Tableau Cloud.
- Wide data connectivity: Tableau allows users to connect to data on-premises or in the cloud.
Tableau is a data preparation and visualization platform that allows users to access, combine, and clean disparate data without writing code. The platform provides three coordinated views that let users see row-level data, profiles of each column, and their entire data preparation process.
Tableau offers a few different pricing plans, depending on your needs. For data prep tools, you'll need the Creator plan, which starts at $70 per user/month.
Rating: 4.3/5 (G2)
- Intelligent management and control: Design, execute, and monitor thousands of tasks across cloud and distributed data environments.
- Graphical interface: The platform offers an easy-to-use graphical interface that simplifies data preparation.
Qlik is an end-to-end data integration and analytics cloud platform. The platform's automated and real-time data integration capabilities ensure faster and more thorough data preparation.
The platform supports various sources and targets, enabling IT teams to load, ingest, migrate, distribute, synchronize, and consolidate data on-premises or in cloud environments. Qlik's pricing plans start at $30 per user per month.
9. Microsoft Power BI
Rating: 4.4/5 (G2)
- Reusable transformation logic: Power BI allows users to create reusable transformation logic that can be shared between different datasets and reports.
- Model-driven calculation engine: Power BI features a model-driven calculation engine that handles all transformation and dependency logic, significantly reducing the time, cost, and expertise required for data preparation tasks.
As a component of the Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft Power BI offers thorough data preparation and visualization capabilities.
Its self-service data preparation component, Power BI Dataflows, enables easy ingestion, cleansing, transformation, integration, enrichment, and schematization of data from various sources.
Power BI offers two pricing plans, including Power BI Pro and Premium. Power BI Pro starts at $10 per user per month.
Rating: 4.1/5 (G2)
- Snowflake-centered: Datameer is designed and optimized to run in Snowflake.
- Automation and insights: Automate data delivery, exception handling, and data quality with data-driven workflows.
Datameer is a SaaS data transformation platform that runs in Snowflake. It enables users to transform datasets using SQL or hundreds of pre-built operations. Plus, it can integrate with existing BI tools, offering powerful data transformation and automation capabilities.
Datameer does not disclose its pricing plans, so you must contact the sales team for a custom quote.
11. SAP Data Intelligence Cloud
Rating: 4.1/5 (G2)
- Enterprise ready: Seamlessly integrate and manage large volumes of data at scale.
- Efficient data management: Simplify the data preparation process with advanced, user-friendly filters.
SAP Data Intelligence Cloud is a data management platform and part of SAP's broader portfolio of data management and analytics solutions. It's designed to help businesses make data-driven decisions by connecting, enriching, and orchestrating data from various sources into a single source of truth.
You can try SAP Data Intelligence Cloud for free. After that, the tool's pricing is based on usage.
Rating: 4.2/5 (G2)
- Intelligent data wrangling: TIBCO allows users to combine, clean, enrich, and transform data from various sources, including big data sources, all within the analysis environment.
- AI-ready: The platform features smart machine learning workflows that simplify data preparation by automating tasks like AI-powered smart joins.
TIBCO is a data preparation and analytics platform designed to streamline data preparation and analysis. It provides intelligent data wrangling capabilities, broad data connectivity, the ability to build custom analytics applications, AI-powered insights, advanced collaboration tools, and process-specific applications.
TIBCO doesn't disclose its pricing on its website. For more information, you'll need to contact the sales team.
Prepare Your Data for Successful Analytics With Integrate.io
Integrate.io is a powerful platform that simplifies the data preparation process with its no-code/low-code interface and hundreds of pre-built connectors. Its robust feature set allows you to extract data from various sources and then transform, clean, and load it into your desired location.
Request a personalized demo today and see how Integrate.io can enhance your data preparation process.
Data Preparation FAQs
How Does Data Preparation Work?
Data preparation involves a series of steps to transform raw data into a format that can be used for analysis. It starts by collecting data from various sources. That data is then cleaned to remove any errors, inconsistencies, or duplicates. Once it's prepped, data is loaded into a data warehouse or analytics tool.
Why Is Data Preparation Important for Analytics?
Data preparation tools are crucial for analytics because the quality of the input data directly impacts the accuracy of the analysis results, which can ultimately lead to negative business decisions.
How Do You Choose the Right Data Preparation Tool for Your Business?
Choosing the right data preparation tool depends on your business goals and the apps that are already part of your workflow. The right tool must connect seamlessly with all your other data sources and provide built-in data transformation functions and mapping capabilities.