Data preparation is the art, or science, of combining data from multiple sources and preparing it for analysis. Historically, data preparation has been around for a long time but it was limited to relational data and required specialist expertise. What is now emerging is a market segment that is aimed at data preparation that not only spans multiple sources and types of data, but also provides self-service capability for the user. In most cases the user will be a business analyst though there are products that focus more on data scientists. Relevant products may also be suitable for use by developers or ISVs (independent software vendors) wishing to embed analytics into applications.
This is an emerging market and we expect more vendors to enter this market (indeed, we know of one other that is already planning that). A significant number of vendors: IBM, Informatica, Progress and Tamr have only launched their products within the last twelve months and in several cases much more recently than that. Indeed, Easyl, while available to the existing customer base (largely partners) is still not generally available. Needless to say, such early releases cannot usually be expected to be as rich in functionality as some of the more mature products on the market though vendors with a strong background in data quality and associated areas have a potential advantage in that they can reuse existing capabilities.