• July 31, 2015
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

The 2015 CRM Market Leaders: Data Quality

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Data is the lifeblood of any CRM system. The problem for many organizations, however, is that they're being inundated with it. Social media, mobile devices, and Big Data are contributing to the data deluge, making it harder for enterprises to make better business decisions. Clearly, the need for data quality tools to collect, extract, and analyze relevant data has never been greater, and the barriers to entry for high-performance, scalable data management and computing continue to fall. For these reasons, it should come as no surprise that the global market for data quality tools is on the rise; analyst firm TechNavio predicts that it will grow 17.1 percent per year through 2019.

Analyst firm The Information Difference notes that many data quality vendors now offer some form of cloud solution, though in most cases the traditional on-premises model still accounts for the vast majority of license revenue.


Our analysts gave category newcomer Experian high marks for cost (4.1). The company earned its second highest score (3.6) for customer satisfaction; analysts suggest that Experian's customer satisfaction score was buoyed by efforts to make the product easier to use and by the fact that it supported key privacy standards that go beyond minimum requirements. Experian also received a strong analyst endorsement for its cloud strategy, which began in late May with its launch of a self-service email validation tool. That tool, the company says, is the first in a new line of self-service software-as-a-service offerings.

IBM posted the highest score in depth of functionality (4.6); it also scored well in company direction (4.1), landing near the top of the leaderboard in that metric, which would come as no surprise to our analysts, who say that Big Blue's shift in focus to Big Data, analytics, and business insight is a core part of its future. As evidence, the company in late October released a new set of data services on the IBM Cloud; among them was IBM DataWorks, a set of cloud-based data refinery services that shape, cleanse, match, and secure data for analysis. And though it did well in customer satisfaction (3.9), the company continues to face analyst opposition to its high price tag, demonstrated by its lackluster cost score (2.9).

With scores of 3.8 in depth of functionality and cost and a 3.7 in customer satisfaction, Pitney Bowes secured its spot on the leaderboard. The company's growing focus on geospatial data helped it with analysts, as did the increased adoption of its Spectrum solution. A recent partnership with SAP to use the SAP HANA platform also positions Pitney Bowes well for future growth.

SAS Institute has long been a favorite among companies with a penchant for app development and for customizing their own software, but the firm this year has spent a lot of time making apps both simpler to use and more highly functional. In 2014, the company for the first time enabled its products to support data coming in from Hadoop, and it launched its Visual Statistics and Customer Intelligence applications, which both signal a deeper move into the data analytics space. Analysts have taken notice of these developments, giving SAS a high depth-of-functionality score (4.3) this year.


Informatica continued its market dominance this year, largely on the strength of its depth of functionality (4.4), overall company direction (4.3), and customer satisfaction (4.1). Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, says the company "still has the most flexible ability to customize data quality rules as needed, and the integration to Vibe is key to companies building insight-driven business models." Leslie Ament, senior vice president and principal analyst at Hypatia Research, says that Informatica "has one of the most robust offerings in data quality, information management, and data integration and should be shortlisted for evaluation by large and midmarket enterprises alike."


Trillium Software, a Harte-Hanks company and perennial industry leader, lost a step or two this year, but its moves have kept it on the radar of many analysts. In fact, Andy Hayler, founder of The Information Difference, singles it out for its cloud strategy. That blueprint, he says, "is impressive, given its long heritage." Analysts also pointed to a recent partnership with Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a step toward deflecting negative perceptions about its product innovation.

[Editor's note: The overall award rating is based on a composite score of analyst ratings for customer satisfaction, depth of functionality, company direction, and cost. For the cost score, analysts gave the highest marks to vendors with the lowest expected costs. Company revenues were also factored into the overall score, but these numbers are not included in the chart above.]

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