Not what I would call data preparation

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I visited the recent Tableau conference in London and, amongst others, CloverETL was exhibiting. In case you don’t know CloverETL the company (and product), as its name suggests, is an ETL (extract, transform and load) vendor. It has been around for a number of years, has an established user base, and is a certified technical partner of Tableau.

All well and good. What isn’t so well and good is the leaflet I picked up on the company’s stand: “CloverETL Provides Data Prep for Tableau”. Now, it is perfectly true that you can monitor and schedule transformations using CloverETL or, indeed, any other ETL tool. And it is also true that most such products allow you to build in data validation and cleansing processes and to leverage workflow capabilities. They may even have easy to use – even “self-service” – user interfaces.

But this doesn’t mean that this is data prep. Or, at least, not as you or I know it. To be fair, the spokesman on the CloverETL stand was happy to admit that the product is not comparable to Paxata, Trifacta or Alteryx – all genuine data preparation products – but, if that’s the case why put out misleading marketing material?

Sorry, silly question. Of course we know why marketing tries to mislead potential users.