We discuss the use of orthogonal wavelet transforms in preprocessing multivariate data for subsequent analysis, e.g., by clustering or dimensionality reduction. Wavelet transforms allow us to introduce multiresolution approximation, and multiscale nonparametric regression or smoothing, in a natural and integrated way into the data analysis. As will be explained in the first part of the paper, this approach is of greatest interest for multivariate data analysis when we use (i) datasets with ordered variables, e.g., time series, and (ii) object dimensionalities which are not too small, e.g., 16 and upwards. In the second part of the paper, a different type of wavelet decomposition is used. Applications illustrate the powerfulness of this new perspective on data analysis.