Firstlogic boosts data cleansing

Firstlogic Inc. will unveil a new data quality integration framework next week designed to allow companies to tackle the burgeoning problem of data cleansing commonly faced when data from disparate front-end and transactional systems is linked for customer profiling and other business intelligence projects.

IQ8 Integration Studio features a new Web services interface to allow enterprises to build and enforce common business rules to disparate data that may be pulled from multiple information systems. Via this interface, data is sent and received between an application and the IQ8 server. Data can be processed on a transactional basis from a custom application or -- with the Web service -- batch data flows can be launched.

By infusing consistent data cleansing throughout an enterprise, companies can eliminate the traditional exhaustive and expensive hard coding efforts often needed at the end of projects built with data from multiple systems, said Steve Varsolona, Firstlogic market development director.

"Data quality is always something that is on the radar screen.... but (companies tend to think) it will be easy to clean up, and we will deal with that on the back end," he said. "On the back end, it smacks them in the face. There is a broader understanding that data quality has to be dealt with on the operational level. They have to pay attention to the quality of data coming in to the organization. There are daily feeds into the data warehouse now."

It used to be that organizations had to go through a lot of heroics pulling information out of a warehouse.

There was a lot of manual cleansing to get data to the C-level. You don't need individual heroics outside of system to get it corrected."

Firstlogic joins a growing number of vendors that are infusing their offerings with data quality tools as enterprises increasingly rely on real-time BI data feeds and reports for business decision making as opposed to viewing BI as analysis of historical data. Business Objects embedded data cleansing functionality from Firstlogic in its new data integration platform rolled out earlier this year. In addition, SAS Institute Inc.'s new SAS 9 BI platform features data quality functionality and a common metadata repository designed to ensure the reliability of information across IT systems.

Paul Kirby, a research director at AMR Research Inc., said Web services is well-positioned for attacking the data cleansing problem, but enterprises need to inventory their IT infrastructure before settling on a particular data quality solution.

"Web services is ideal for integration projects like data cleansing because you are dealing with so many different data sources and integrity rules that are useful for not only data cleansing but for building data warehouses," Kirby said. "Companies need to focus on scalability -- how much data do they have? How much data do they need to process? The higher-end tools will connect to a very large number of data sources. They need to look at integrating (data cleansing) into the development framework that their company has established."

IQ8, which is scheduled to be announced May 11 at The Data Warehousing Institute World conference in Boston, will be generally available on June 30.

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