An Innovative Approach to Data Profiling

i/Lytics Data Profiler will be released as a standalone solution; integration with its data profiling technology and the rest of the i/Lytics data quality solution will follow

Last week, data quality specialist Innovative Solutions announced a new data profiling capability, called i/Lytics Data Profiler.

The new technology is an important deliverable for Innovative Systems, which recently found itself squeezed out of a reseller agreement with a long-time data-profiling partner even as most of its competitors are fielding data-profiling capabilities of their own.

Innovative Systems was one of the first data-quality vendors to deliver a data-profiling solution, called Innovative Discovery, which was based on technology that it OEM-ed from data-profiling specialist Avellino Technologies. Last year, Avellino notched a similar agreement with the Trillium Software division of Harte-Hanks—one of Innovative’s data-quality competitors. But when Harte-Hanks acquired Avellino earlier this year, Innovative found itself bereft of a data-profiling solution even as industry watchers argued that the technology had become more important than ever.

Fast forward to the present. Innovative says its new i/Lytics Data Profiler offering is Unicode-enabled—unlike the technology that it once OEM-ed from Avellino—and supports single pane analysis (SPA) of profiling results, custom property fields for notes, along with the ability to preview data before it’s loaded. Like Avellino, i/Lyrics Data Profiler exploits a proprietary database.

Innovative says that the product can drill down to data and test joins without impacting source system performance, and can also perform dependency testing. Initially, Innovative plans to offer i/Lytics Data Profiler as a standalone solution, but says that it will ratchet up integration with its data profiling technology and the rest of the i/Lytics data quality solution set at a later date. In the interim, Innovative will provide software connectors that support data flows to and from i/Lytics, officials say.

Jeff Cantor, executive vice president of operations with Innovative, says that his company had been working on its own data profiling solution for quite some time, and stresses that this isn’t something thrown together in the aftermath of Avellino’s acquisition by Harte-Hanks. “In August of last year, our exclusivity with Avellino ended. That was part of the agreement,” he comments. “We kind of expected that they intended to find a suitor at some point, and we also recognized the inherent challenges of managing our customers on a long-term basis with someone else’s technology, so we began to develop options.”

Cantor says that Innovative plans to deliver the standalone version of i/Lytics Data Profiler within the next 30 to 60 days. The version of the product that’s fully integrated with the i/Lytics suite won’t ship until later this year, he confirms. It’s unknown if i/Lytics Data Profiler was designed completely in-house, or if it borrows from third-party technology. Innovative officials declined to comment.According to Rob Lerner, a senior analyst in application infrastructure with consultancy Current Analysis, Innovative was under a lot of pressure to deliver a data profiling capability, largely because all of its competitors—with the sole exception of Group 1—are doing so.

“The new solution is important for Innovative because of the increasing demand for data profiling, especially in combination with other data-quality products. In fact, data profiling in the data-quality market is becoming de rigueur, at least among the major players, and Innovative keeps itself from potentially being marginalized by introducing the technology,” he comments, noting that i/Lytics Data Profiler also “demonstrates the company’s resilience and ability to change quickly.”

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.