One of the most time consuming and laborious processes of data analysis is the required preparation that must take place ahead of the actual analytics. The Analysis Factor noted that as much as 80 percent of the work associated with data analysis takes place during the preparation phase, and as one digs deeper into the steps that this can entail, it isn’t hard to see why.
Collecting and transcribing
First and foremost, of all the various sources analysts will utilize to answer their query must be gathered together and transferred from their original locations into a single, unified system. As CVENT noted, this ensures that data is accessible to the apps and users that will leverage it for analysis.
Once data has been transcribed, it must be cleaned to ensure accuracy and eliminate any redundancies that could skew results. This is one of the most critical steps in data preparation, as any overlooked errors or issues with the source data could heavily impact the results analysts receive.
The Analysis Factor noted that cleaning should involve seeking out elements like impossible or incorrect values, duplicates, any information that doesn’t meet analysis criteria, any missing data, skip-patterns or logic breakdowns.
While cleansing processes of this kind are certainly time consuming, utilizing a tool that supports automation can considerably help reduce the amount of time required.
Establishing and formatting variables
After cleansing the data, analysts must create the variables and parameters that will be used to guide its analysis. These can include things like change scores, scale indices, predictors and restructuring data from wide to long format, or vice versa. It’s imperative that these variables are formatted correctly.
“Failing to format a missing value code or a dummy variable correctly will have major consequences for your data analysis,” The Analysis Factor noted. “[I]t’s much faster to run the analyses and interpret results if you don’t have to keep looking up which variable Q156 is.”
The Unifi Self-Service Data Platform Solution
Data preparation is a necessary, yet an effort-intensive process that can require considerable time before analysis. Thankfully, leveraging an advanced self-service data platform like that provided by Unifi Software can help.
The Unifi platform includes features for automatic parsing of semi- and unstructured data, automatic cleansing, incremental data capture and even AI-driven capabilities for normalizing, enriching and profiling data.
To find out more, visit our website and connect with us for a demo today.