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Business Objects Tackles Product- and Region-Specific Data Quality Problems

New Universal Data Cleansing option extends data quality initiatives beyond customer information.

If the data's not right, you can forget about reliable insight. This garbage-in-garbage-out phenomenon was behind Business Object's April 2006 acquisition of data quality vendor FirstLogic, and it's also behind today's announcement of Universal Data Cleansing (UDC), a new product aimed at eliminating duplication and discrepancies in product- and region-specific data.

UDC extends the customer data quality and data cleansing capabilities developed by FirstLogic into the product and region realms, which are typically the next priority once firms have addressed customer data quality. "The data quality market has done a great job of helping firms to parse, correct, standardize, enhance and match customer information," says Kristin McMahon, product marketing manager of Business Objects' Enterprise Information Management (EIM) unit. "UDC takes that same process and applies it to areas such as product and financial data."

UDS automates the standardization process and addresses structured data as well as semi-structured text up to 8,000 characters long. For example, UDC can parse and identify characteristics within product descriptions. Preloaded dictionaries help decipher colors, sizes, weights and measures in both US and Metric standards and in six different languages.

Business Objects' EIM Portfolio addresses data quality, data integration and metadata management. McMahon asserts that UDC surpasses software available from rivals including SAS's Data Flux business, IBM (with products acquired along with Ascential), Informatica and SilverCreek. At the same time, she acknowledges that data quality initiatives stop short of the more comprehensive strategies and technology portfolios required for customer data integration, product information management and master data management (MDM).

"The market is definately moving toward MDM, and in order to realize the value of your data assets, you're going to need to have a really good strategy to manage all of that data," she explains. "Today we don't offer everything you would need, but we offer the majority of the tools required for a successful customer data integration, product information management or master data management projects."

An optional add-on to Business Object's Data Quality XI Release 2 (in either the Professional or Premium Editions), the UDC option is $25,000 per CPU with a minimum of two CPUs.

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