A new release of Informatica Corp’s acquired data quality tools suite adds new business user-friendly features and tightens up integration with its core PowerCenter data integration platform.
Data Quality 3.1 and Data Explorer 5.0, which comprise the data cleansing and profiling software acquired from Ireland’s quality specialist Similarity Systems at the beginning of this year, also add new functionality to streamline quality initiatives. For Data Quality 3.0, Informatica has enriched the name and address validation capabilities of the software to include company name directories. There is also a special Country Pack that comes with pre-defined data quality rules.
Configuration and security functions have also been enhanced to allow for flexible deployments of Data Quality servers. And both 32-bit and 64-bit platform support is now provided.
Data Explorer 5.0 includes new graphical interfaces called workbenches that are aimed at business users wanting to define data quality rules and metrics without IT involvement. The workbenches are process-driven and follow well-defined workflows that guide business users through all the key steps of data investigation and cataloging. Users can also set up visual data quality scorecards to surface rules and metrics in a business-friendly display to show how quality is impacting the organization.
Another enhancement in Data Explorer is enhanced auto-profiling, including easier set up of complex batch profiling processes.
Karen Hsu, senior product marketing manager at Redwood City, California-based Informatica, said the most significant aspect of both releases was end to end integration with PowerCenter across both development and runtime environments. For example, PowerCenter now calls any Informatica Data Quality function required and users can use Informatica Data Explorer analysis profiles to craft ETL mappings. Data Explorer sources, targets and profile tags can also map directly to PowerCenter ETL components including filter and expression transformations. We’re enabling data cleaning and profiling to become an integral part of the overall data integration lifecycle.
Hsu also said that users would benefit from the integration through greater productivity and lower development costs. She added that Informatica’s data quality tools would also benefit from PowerCenter’s parallel processing, grid and SOA architecture. Data Quality 3.1 and Data Explorer 5.0 will be rolled out this month.
Ivan Chong, vice president of product strategy and marketing at Informatica, said that data quality business is starting to ramp up nicely. We’re ahead of plan for the year, Chong said without disclosing any specific revenues. He claims that Informatica is starting to notch up bigger deals, and recently signed its largest ever data quality contract, adding that most of the recent successes have been driven from combined deals with PowerCenter, as part of a complete data integration platform offering. But we’re also still seeing plenty of uptake for standalone data quality tools, as well.
After OEMing data quality technology from Firstlogic Inc for several years, Informatica formally brought this functionality in-house after buying Similarity System for $55m in January 2006. Interestingly, a month later Informatica’s ex-OEM partner was quickly snapped up by Business Objects SA for $69m.
Business Objects is also starting to pay greater attention to data quality as part of the enterprise information management strategy that it launched this year. Chong said that Informatica is offering its legacy Firstlogic customers a migration program to shift over to its own data quality products. For many it’s in their long term roadmap.
Chong said the next release of Data Explorer would push design and profiling services as a core part of Informatica’s new data services SOA integration framework. We believe we have the tightest integration in industry right now. But we can make it tighter to make profiling a more integral piece of the data integration lifecycle.