Data Preparation: BARC Survey Highlights Skills Shortage and Lack of Management Buy-In

Wuerzburg, 4th July 2017: The Business Application Research Center (BARC) announces the publication of  “Data Preparation – Refining Raw Data into Value”, a report into the current use of data preparation tools and the benefits and challenges they present. The study was based on an independent survey of over 695 business intelligence (BI) professionals from a range of industries worldwide, making it one of the most far-reaching studies to examine this emerging aspect of data management.

The increasing digitalization of business processes is making it necessary for companies to enable as many users as possible to gain insights from data. Many companies today view data preparation as the key to increasing their ability to efficiently use data in a distributed manner to optimize business processes, or to enabling new, innovative business models in the first place.

In today’s economy, achieving efficient and agile data preparation is of utmost importance. Increasingly volatile and saturated markets create a complex business environment where the ability to differentiate by leveraging the power of analytics is vital. Organizations struggle to keep up with the demand for data for analytics to gain insight into changing market conditions. The pressure on analytical landscapes to provide data for in-depth analysis is high and addressing these needs requires skilled personnel and a modern approach to data preparation.

Data preparation needs to be deeply and extensively embedded in the organization

According to the survey results, a lack of knowledge and budget are among the main obstacles to setting up data preparation initiatives. The ability to gain valuable insights from data through efficient and largely independent data preparation in business departments is currently seen as patchy. Therefore, there is an urgent need for training and coaching in order to be able to implement sophisticated digitalization strategies. To do this, management needs to allocate dedicated resources and budgets.

“As with many aspects of data management, data preparation cannot be done in passing,” said Timm Grosser, Senior Analyst at BARC and co-author of the report. “It has to be viewed as a valuable step in the process of creating value from data: not a one-off project that can be outsourced and completed externally, but an ongoing endeavor that requires a high degree of competence. Any organization that is serious about data preparation must look to acquire and nurture know-how and skills.”

Data Preparation survey figure 1

Figure 1: In your company, what problems do you face when using data preparation? (n=647)

Data preparation initiatives should involve both IT and business departments

The companies achieving the greatest benefit and highest satisfaction with data preparation are those that have made it a shared task between IT and business departments. In these cases, users with a strong sense of the business are able to prepare data independently in the main, but with the support of technical experts who ensure compliance with standards. This enables business problems to be answered quickly when they arise. Developed solutions are then automated by technical specialists and made available to a wider audience. This can prevent the formation of separate solutions and silos caused by the isolated preparation of data.

Seven ‘hot spots’ of data preparation

The key findings from “Data Preparation – Refining Raw Data into Value” are condensed into seven “hot spots”, designed to help organizations optimize their approach to – and achieve the maximum benefits from – data preparation.

The full study, “Data Preparation – Refining Raw Data into Value”, is available free of charge thanks to sponsorship from Denodo, MicroStrategy, SAS, Tableau and TimeXtender.

For more information and to download the report visit:

To see an infographic highlighting some of the report’s key findings, visit:

About BARC – Business Application Research Center – a CXP Group Company

The Business Application Research Center (BARC) is an enterprise software analyst and consulting firm with a focus on Business Intelligence (BI)/Analytics and Data Management, Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). For over twenty years, BARC analysts have combined market, product and implementation expertise to advise companies and evaluate BI, Data Management, ECM, CRM and ERP products. A long-running program of market analysis and product comparison studies forms the basis of BARC’s comprehensive knowledge of all the leading software vendors and products, as well as the latest market developments and trends. Along with analysts CXP and PAC, BARC forms part of the CXP Group – the leading European group of analysts for enterprise software and IT services with staff in eight countries. For more information, please visit: and

For further information or enquiries, please contact:

Nikolai Janoschek
Research Analyst
Phone: +49 931 880 651-59

Wiebke Lörcher
Communications and Marketing Manager
Phone: +49 (0) 89 232368-25