Gartner released its new Magic Quadrant for Data Quality tools. Normally, this being an integration blog, this would be iffy territory for me, but as the report explains, "the trend of convergence" means integration and master data management tools are now components of any data quality tool worth its salt.
Right now, few vendors offer both, but Gartner predicts more vendors will move toward this convergence, particularly as bigger vendors buy up smaller vendors in the space.
It's a trend I've noticed for a while now, and maybe you have, too. Increasingly, to talk about integration is to talk about addressing data quality and vice versa. And really, it just makes sense. So, it's to be expected that the report spends a lot of space discussing both data integration and MDM capabilities, and, not surprisingly, there are a few cross-over names from integration, including Informatica, Talend and DataFlux.
Data quality tools increasingly also are designed for those outside IT-something Gartner recommends organizations consider when evaluating tools. That's because, as both Gartner and a recent IDC report note, managing data is becoming more than IT can or should manage alone. Tasks traditionally done by IT increasingly are being delegated to business analysts and other adept, but non-IT users.
If you've never seen a Magic Quadrant, they're truly easier to read as a graph than to explain, and, as luck would have it, you can read the report for free online, without even having to register-so, thank you Gartner for that one. You also can search online and find a slew of press releases from vendors touting their position in the quadrants. For those of you who like the short version, the leaders-ranked in order first from most completeness of vision to least, then from most able to execute to least-are:
Research reports like this, and the Magic Quadrant in particular, have attracted a lot of criticism, mostly from vendors. But frankly, I think if you're trying to find a tool, then these reports are your friend. True, not everyone's listed and it tends to focus on big vendors over small and proprietary over open source. But, on the plus side for CIOs and other IT leaders, the Magic Quadrant:
Really, that's a lot of information in one place, and it's updated annually, so not a bad deal, considering it's free.
That said, these reports aren't perfect, and they probably aren't how you're going to choose a tool anyway, according to Jim Harris. Harris is an independent IT consultant and writer, and in a recent blog post, he questioned the impact this type of research has on the market. It sounds academic, but it's actually a really funny and insightful post. Based on some recent reading, he suggests that ultimately people decide these things based on relationships and why a company does what it does, more than on what a tool does. Definitely check it out, if than for no other reason than it might force you to question how rational you are about the tools in which you choose to invest.