April 21, 2022

What is KNIME and Tips for Getting Started

By John Emery

In 2017, The Economist declared:
“the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.” 

Companies such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft gather untold bytes of data, harvest it, create complex tracking algorithms, and sell it to the highest bidder. Yet, even for those companies that do not specialize in data, the collection and analysis of data can propel them to new heights of prosperity.

Unfortunately, using that data is often easier said than done. Between high costs of data software, labor shortages, IT bottlenecks, and corporate bureaucracy, many companies cannot leverage the power of their data. 

In addition, employees expected to work with data to create analyses and reports (often young and relatively inexperienced analysts) do not have the tools and skills they need to work quickly and accurately.

Analysts and other data consumers need a tool that allows them to connect to various data sources, create calculations and restructure tables, and output data into files and databases. There are many tools available in the marketplace that can do this, but one of our favorites is an open-source, drag-and-drop tool known as KNIME.

What is KNIME?

KNIME is a low-code data science and data preparation platform that makes understanding data and designing analytic workflows accessible to everyone. The KNIME suite includes two tools:

  • KNIME Analytics Platform is a desktop-based tool where analysts and developers construct workflows.

  • KNIME Server is enterprise software designed for team-based collaboration, automation, management, and deployment of workflows.

As a company, KNIME is dedicated to creating an accessible and open-source tool, and to that end KNIME Analytics Platform is free for anybody to download and use. However, do not let the cost fool you; KNIME is a full-featured and incredibly powerful tool for building data prep workflows of any level of complexity.

Whether you need to connect to Excel files, a Snowflake database, process audio files, analyze images, or build an interactive dashboard, KNIME can do it. Every day that we use KNIME, whether for a client project or personal education, we learn something new and exciting about the tool.

Using KNIME is incredibly easy.

Its drag-and-drop interface allows developers to connect to data, perform manipulations and calculations, create interactive visualizations, and much more — without any need for coding.

You can, however, code in Python, R, Java, JavaScript, or CSS within KNIME if you want.

Tips for Getting Started with KNIME

  1. Go to KNIME.com to download KNIME and start building workflows today!

  2. The KNIME forum is an excellent place to visit to ask questions, learn about cool KNIME extensions, discover new resources, and more.

  3. KNIME has published many incredibly helpful blogs, whitepapers, and e-books about their tool. Check out this getting started guide!

    1. Remove Analytics Bottlenecks by Upskilling your Team

    2. KNIME Cheat Sheets

    3. KNIME Workbench Guide


KNIME Analytics Platform is an excellent low-code data preparation and data science tool. No coding experience is required, and with its free user licenses and open-source philosophy, no other competing tool is as accessible. However, all that is moot if you do not know how to use the tool. 

Looking to start upskilling your teams with KNIME and other powerful data platforms? Our Training and Enablement services can help. Explore our curated set of learning plans today!

Data Coach is our premium analytics training program with one-on-one coaching from renowned experts.

Accelerate and automate your data projects with the phData Toolkit