TMMData Blog

Six Data Preparation Tasks You Thought Only Programmers Could Handle

December 18, 2017

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We know all too well that manually converting thousands, let alone millions, of rows of data into actionable insights is no walk in the park. For many analysts, making sense of raw data can take hours of manipulating, cleaning, and prepping in Excel spreadsheets using pivot tables, transformations, and VLOOKUPS – especially if they’re less familiar with technical coding languages. Not to mention that manual data prep leaves more room for errors. Ultimately, the hours of labor and risks to data quality are why many lean on developers and IT partners to handle their data prep using SQL or an advanced database coding system.


But in this day and age, shouldn’t data users of all technical skill levels have the capability to easily reformat data sets, rename data fields, filter out content, or compute functions without having to rely on outside teams for help? We think so, and it’s why we developed the self-service tool Fix to help any user shape, enrich, contextualize, and explore their data for analysis. If you thought you needed years of coding experience, your own programmer sidekick, or a thousand more hours in your workweek to take control of your data prep, read on to explore the tasks Fix can help you conquer:  


1. Easily and confidently interact with large quantities of data

The sheer volume and variety of data so many organizations capture can make data prep incredibly overwhelming for any user. Fortunately, Fix utilizes an easy point-and-click interface ensuring full access and visualization of datasets. Whether managing hundreds or tens of millions of rows of data, users can filter, clean, or format content and watch their dataset refresh in the process, all while knowing that data quality has been preserved. Because all data is stored within the Foundation platform, users can also confidently transform rows and columns without the risk of applying permanent changes to the underlying catalog of data. As a result, there’s always an option to revert to the original, un-prepped view of data, or just toggle back and forth to previous views.


2. Quickly add a new data source to your analysis

Part of Fix’s power comes from its seamless collaboration with TMMData’s data integration tool, Flow. Together, the tools combine to allow easy access to additional data sources, so you have the freedom to dive deeper into your analysis (without having to bother IT for a data integration request first).


3. Cleanup and create custom data views quickly and with memory

Customizability is pretty much Fix’s middle name. The tool’s easy-to-operate commands allow you to quickly rearrange, rename, filter, compute functions, add and remove columns, blend datasets, and more, so that you can view and showcase data in the way you see fit. Even better, “Fixed views” allow you to save your preferences to apply for later use and implement even quicker data cleanup in future datasets.


4. Prep data with sophisticated functionalities fluent in SQL

While you don’t need to know technical coding languages to take full advantage of Fix, the tool itself is completely fluent and compatible with SQL coding language and has a wide range of advanced prep functionalities. As users make adjustments to their data, Fix simultaneously maintains “magic” SQL codes with accurate syntax, great for use as reference and for more technical users.


5. Get answers to “one-off” analysis questions or data lookups quickly

Need to know how many of your California customers purchased products in the winter or details about the Mother’s Day marketing campaigns that ran over the past three years? Fix allows you to explore data outside of your regular reporting, and immediately investigate specific questions or data entries with search and filtering functionalities, no matter the size of the dataset.


6. Collaborate and share during data prep

Who says data work is isolating? With the tool’s table notes and documenation functionality, users can increase collaboration by adding notes about the transformations they’ve applied to the prepped data and have conversations within the platform. Increased communication helps avoid the redundancies of multiple analysts doing the same preps on the same data. Further, Fix can keep roles clear with permissioned data views limited to certain groups, and user-defined calculations, groups, and hierarchies.  


And just like that, no more bugging IT or drowning in data prep. Instead, Fix can put the power of your data back in your hands. Interested in how Fix could help your data needs? Contact us to request a demo.


Inquiries may be directed to Jennifer Moore: