IBM Taps Trifacta for New Era of User Data Prep


InfoSphere tool aims to empower business users, freeing up data scientists and IT.

As digital business processes become more dynamic, it’s now becoming apparent: end-users no longer want to wait for data scientists and IT departments to load and prepare data for them to analyze. That’s a challenge for organizations using applications designed primarily for data professionals. Now IBM is offering a data prep tool designed with the average business executive in mind.

The IBM InfoSphere Advanced Data Preparation tool is based on software originally developed by Trifacta. The company envisions a world in which end users regularly discover and incorporate new data sources into analytics applications on their own, says Joe Hellerstein, Trifacta co-founder and chief strategy officer.

“Other tools are designed for IT people trying to create intergalactic schemas,” he explains. “Our tool is aimed at less technical users.”

See also: How to Merge Machine Learning and Data Prep

In general, business users are a lot savvier about what data is most relevant to their work. As new data gets discovered, business users don’t want to wait on data scientists already overloaded with tasks to load their data, says Hellerstein. If anything, he adds, organizations want their data scientists to spend less time on data preparation and other associated maintenance so they can spend more time building advanced algorithms.

In addition to now working with IBM, an existing alliance makes Trifacta data prep service available on the Google Cloud Platform, which is gaining traction as a repository for analyzing massive amounts of data.

In addition, Trifacta recently announced its support for the data warehouse service provided by Snowflake Computing. As each platform continues to increase in size, the data gravity forces associated with that platform begin to attract even more data. That’s because end users look to analyze add more data in pursuit of discovering actionable insights that create a competitive business advantage.

It’s often a big challenge for enterprises to find a way to enable all those data sets to be loaded into various platforms without creating an insurmountable backlog of IT projects. That’s become an even more pressing problem, as the number and types of Big Data platforms employed in the enterprise continue to increase. Trifacta is betting a set of graphical tools that don’t require a lot of expertise to master will solve that DataOps problem.

Of course, it’s unlikely that the need for internal IT teams to be involved in data preparation projects will be eliminated any time soon. However, as end users gain access to tools from vendors such as Trifacta, it’s clear: internal IT organizations will be able to pick and choose where to be more involved.

In the meantime, it’s also clear a new generation of digital-native employees entering the workforce expect to be able to make data-driven decisions. In the absence of having access to that data, it’s a good bet that many of those highly skilled individuals would prefer to work for a more sophisticated organization less constrained by IT.

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