There's a software tool for every nitty-gritty data quality management task, and big tech vendors are acquiring specialists to piece together a complete set of products.
Business Objects, IBM, and Informatica have snapped up software companies with tools they think can help inject data quality management into broader IT and business processes. Business Objects last month completed a $69 million buyout of Firstlogic, a supplier of data quality software and services. The Firstlogic technology has become a key element of the vendor's enterprise information management line of products and services, unveiled last week and designed to provide a foundation for its business intelligence and performance management applications.
IBM last year acquired Ascential Software, including its ProfileStage data-profiling software, and a toolset for data matching and de-duping called QualityStage. Now the software is part of IBM's WebSphere Information Integration system. In January, Informatica added data quality tools to its PowerCenter data integration software when it bought Similarity Systems, a developer of data profiling, cleansing, matching, and standardization software. Two years ago, Pitney Bowes bought Group1 Software, another data quality tool vendor, and began offering its technology for a range of address correction, customer data integration, and geospatial applications.
The risk of integrating data quality tools into other products is that it reduces visibility of the problem. But the trend helps put data quality where it belongs--in the middle of IT processes and the business processes they support. Says Gartner's Ted Friedman, "It's made the synergy between data quality and data integration more obvious."
Illustration by Jay Montgomery