Others in the top category are DataFlux, Business Objects, Harte-Hanks Trillium Software, and IBM; expect to see increased M&A activity as smaller, international players make their presence felt.
Posted Jul 6, 2007
DataFlux, Business Objects, Harte-Hanks Trillium Software, IBM, and Informatica are in the leaders quadrant of Gartner's "Magic Quadrant for Data Quality Tools, 2007," released Monday. The market continues to be driven by data quality's expanding role within the enterprise, as various aspects of data quality functionality--beginning with profiling--appear in related technology markets and in enterprise application vendors' platforms via master data management (MDM) and customer data integration (CDI) solutions.
"Companies have discovered that data quality has a significant impact on their most strategic business initiatives," says Ted Friedman, vice president of data management and integration at Gartner, and author of the report. As such, data quality visibility is increasing, driven by compliance, transparency, and the need to lay a firm foundation for business intelligence (BI) projects. "It's a common thread that underpins successful initiatives in each of these areas: the prerequisite for high-quality data to add accuracy and value to the relevant business processes," Friedman says.
Data quality continues to play an important role in MDM and CDI environments, where it's still commonly viewed as mere "data cleansing." According to Friedman, the more powerful strategic approach to data quality requires a more complex perspective: profiling, standardization, matching, and enrichment. And while customer data has always been and continues to be the primary focus, the report notes that organizations are increasingly looking to deploy data quality tools in other subject areas--in particular, product data and financial data.
In Gartner's "leader" quadrant, Business Objects and Harte-Hanks' Trillium unit were deemed strongest in execution, led by Business Objects' market share leadership and breadth of data quality and profiling capabilities, and Trillium's broad data quality tool suite and strong focus on customer data. DataFlux, IBM, and Informatica were tops in vision. DataFlux continues to move out of the shadow of parent company SAS, and continues to expand its support for SOA via its CDI offerings and upcoming MDM solution. IBM was noted for its strong data quality offering, big brand recognition, and updated versions of Information Analyzer (the successor of ProfileStage) and updated QualityStage solutions. Informatica made the jump up from last year's visionary status, thanks in large part to its acquisitions of Similarity Systems and Evoke Systems in 2006 and 2005, respectively. The vendor continues to enhance its strategy for developing a comprehensive data integration and data quality offering. "We believe that Gartner's recognition of Informatica as a leader in the magic quadrant is an indication of the great progress we have made since our entry into the data quality market just 18 months ago," says Ivan Chong, general manager of data quality at Informatica.
Fuzzy! Informatik and Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software landed themselves in the challengers quadrant. Fuzzy! Informatik, founded in 1994 with roots in Daimler Benz, is a strong European provider with 350 customers and noted for its focus on CRM implementations with name and address profiling and correction. Group 1 continues to focus on its traditional positioning of "Customer Data Quality," and the report notes its specialty in global name and address standardization and validation.
Human Inference, a European company that offers strong multilingual capabilities, was the only company to land in the visionary quadrant, thanks to its focus on monitoring and maintenance and SOA-based data quality platform. The report also highlights the fact that Human Inference integrates well in heterogeneous corporate-technology environments.
Several firms, including Fuzzy! Informatik, were included in Gartner's report for the first time, and, like Fuzzy!, several are based outside the U.S.: Datactics (Ireland), Datanomic (United Kingdom), and Uniserv (Germany), along with U.S.-based vendors DataMentors and Netrics.
Moving forward, Friedman says to keep an eye out for the acquisition of the smaller niche and visionary players--a prediction he also made last year. He suggests that the "mega vendors," such as IBM and SAS, are being challenged by international entrants that have a focus and propensity toward designing and deploying domain-agnostic data quality services. However, with the increasing trend toward embedding data quality capabilities in business applications, data integration tools, and other software offerings, larger vendors that are still lacking certain data quality capabilities will look to expand their portfolios. "These smaller competitors will face significant challenges in survival and growth," Friedman says. "This will lead to more acquisitions and consolidation in the data quality tools market."
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