Picking a data preparation solution is a crucial step in any big data analytics, ML or AI project, and unfortunately it’s one that is often overlooked, rushed, or not seen as crucial. As a result, this can lead to mistakes that can cost you time, money, and valuable insights. In this post, we are going to share 10 Common mistakes people make when evaluating data preparation solutions, and how you can avoid these mistakes yourself.
- Not understanding your data.
Before you can pick a data preparation solution, you need to understand your data. This means knowing where the data is coming from (sources), what format the data is in, and what you want to do with it. Without this understanding, you’ll be picking a solution that might not fit your needs, and that can lead to a lot of wasted time and effort and frustration from the team and management.
- Not considering scalability.
Data preparation solutions can vary greatly in their scalability. If you’re working with a small amount of data, a basic solution will probably be just fine. However, if you’re working with large amounts of data (think petabytes of data for example), you’ll need a solution that can handle that. Not considering scalability can lead to a solution that becomes too slow or too expensive as your data grows.
- Not considering ease of use.
Data preparation solutions can be complex, and not all of them are easy to use. If you’re not a data professional such as a data scientist or data engineer, or the majority of the people on your team who will be using the solution aren’t data professionals, you’ll want to look for a solution that is easy to learn and use. Not considering ease of use can lead to a solution that is too difficult to use and that leads to frustration and wasted time.
- Not considering integrations.
Your data preparation solution should integrate seamlessly with other tools you and your team are currently using. This can include data visualization tools, machine learning libraries, and data storage solutions. Not considering integrations can lead to picking a solution that doesn’t work well or integrate with other tools, and that can make your data analysis process more difficult as well as frustrate team members.
- Not considering the cost.
Data preparation solutions can vary greatly in cost. Some are free, while others can be very expensive. Not considering the cost and really evaluating this up front, especially if there is a sliding scale cost, can lead to a solution that is too expensive for your budget, or that doesn’t have the features you need.
- Not considering the level of support.
Data preparation solutions can also vary greatly in the level of support they offer. Some solutions come with excellent support, while others don’t. Not considering the level of support can lead to a solution that doesn’t have the help you need when things go wrong.
- Not considering the level of automation.
Data preparation can be a time-consuming task. Some solutions offer a high level of automation, while others don’t. Not considering the level of automation you need or want can lead to a solution that takes too long to prepare your data.
- Not considering the level of collaboration.
If you’re working on a team, collaboration is essential. Some solutions offer collaboration features, while others don’t. Not considering the level of collaboration can lead to a solution that doesn’t allow team members to work together efficiently or effectively.
- Not considering the level of security.
Data security is an important consideration, especially when working with sensitive data. Different solutions offer varying levels of security. Depending on the industry you’re in or the type of data you’re working with, data security can be critical. Not considering the level of security can lead to a solution that doesn’t protect your data adequately, or worse, doesn’t comply with laws or regulations.
- Not considering the level of flexibility.
Data preparation solutions can vary greatly in terms of flexibility. Some solutions are very rigid and don’t allow for customization, while others have more flexibility. Not considering the level of flexibility needed can lead to obtaining a solution that doesn’t fit your needs or a solution that limits your ability to explore your data.
When picking a data preparation solution make sure to really understand your needs before purchasing a solution. By avoiding the mistakes outlined above, you can ensure that you’re picking a solution that most suits your needs and that will help you get the most out of your data. Remember to take the time to understand your data, consider scalability, ease of use, integrations, cost, support, automation, collaboration, security, and flexibility. Doing so will help you pick a solution that will save you time, money, and valuable insights.
Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that while a data preparation solution may have all the features you need, it may not be the best fit for your specific use case. It’s always a good idea to test different solutions, consult with experts, and ask the hard questions of the vendors. Don’t let them sell you on all the bells and whistles of their product, when in reality you didn’t need any of those features.
In the end, the most important thing is to pick a data preparation solution that works for you. By considering all of the factors outlined in this post, you’ll be well on your way to selecting the best solution for your data analysis needs.