Data Quality Tools in 'Trend of Convergence' With Integration, MDM Support

Loraine Lawson

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:

  • DataFlux
  • IBM
  • Informatica
  • SAP Business Objects
  • Trillium Software (which rated higher than SAP, Informatica and IBM on ability to execute)

 

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:

  • Is usually available online for free, either by Gartner or a vendor who made the Magic Quadrant.
  • Summarizes the basic capabilities you should expect-and what you shouldn't expect.
  • Gives you a quick overview of the market.
  • Provides at least a starting place and a long list of vendors to consider, since it also includes unranked products.

 

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.



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Jul 2, 2010 10:01 AM Len Dubois Len Dubois  says:

Loraine,

Thank you for the call out regarding Trillium Software's position on the 2010 Gartner MQ for Data Quality.  You observations are correct that many vendors are consolidating their offerings.  But I would like to add that while it is true that all data integration is improved with the addition of a data quality solution it does not necessarily hold that data quality is involved only where data integration and MDM are involved.  The use of data quality in all its forms; analytical, operational, real-time, and SaaS is a vital part of an organizations strategic business process and is compromised of not only technology but the people and processes that make a business run smoothly. 

I know you weren't trying to imply otherwise, but wanted to reach out and make a pointand also say thanks for continuing to move the topic forward.

Len Dubois

Trillium Software

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Jul 2, 2010 10:14 AM Loraine Lawson Loraine Lawson  says: in response to Len Dubois

Yes, very true, and I did notice that a large number of vendors are still focused "pure play." Originally, I'd mentioned that, but I deleted it at some point in the editing process, since the focus was on trends.

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Jul 2, 2010 10:42 AM Len Dubois Len Dubois  says: in response to Loraine Lawson

Loraine,

posted a link to your article on twitter, didn't think you'd mind.

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Jul 2, 2010 10:52 AM Jim Harris Jim Harris  says:

Excellent article, Loraine.

As more and more organizations realize the critical importance of viewing data as a strategic corporate asset, data quality is becoming an increasingly prevalent topic of discussion. 

However, and understandably, data quality is still most often discussed in its relation to enterprise information initiatives such as customer data integration, master data management, data warehousing, business intelligence, and data governance. 

The other trend influencing convergence is that gap between the Business and IT is starting to close as both business and technical stakeholders are coming together in collaboration around data driven efforts to enable better business decisions and deliver optimal business performance.

Tools, and technology in general, definitely have a supporting and enabling role to play in these efforts, but I believe it is the trend toward increased collaboration among people from all across the organization that is the most promising convergence.

Thanks also for the mention (and kind words) about my post on how research affects both the perception and the reality of the data quality tool market, as well as purchasing decisions.

Best Regards,

Jim

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