DataFlux Ships New Data Quality Suite

New data monitoring component to assist validation, compliance efforts

This week, DataFlux Corp., an SAS company, announced DataFlux Release 6.2, a data-quality product positioned as a one-stop shop for diverse data quality, data profiling, and data monitoring requirements.

New in Release 6.2 are features that the company says will empower business users and let them more effectively collaborate with IT.

“From a high level perspective, what we’re trying to do with [Release] 6.2 is try to make it so there’s not a real big distinction between a business user’s view of data and IT’s view of data. We’ve tried to put technology in place to allow [business users and IT] to collaborate,” says Tony Fisher, president and general manager of DataFlux. “It’s the business user that understands the data and knows what the characteristics should be, but it’s the IT user who owns the data.”

For example, says Fisher, in Release 6.2, business users can recommend several different actions when they discover data problems, which can then be acted upon by IT. They can also build business rules designed to correct, integrate, and enhance data during the initial data discovery phase.

“The business user can actually point and click and say, this is an issue with this data, we need to apply this kind of standardization,” at which point IT can “take the notes and the task the business user created and apply that to the workflow,” explains Scott Gidley, director of research and development with DataFlux. “We own the technology for both profiling and quality … and combining those together has really made the integration much tighter.”

Fisher says that many organizations are working with data stored in so-called legacy systems that—in some cases—were designed decades ago. IT may own the data, he concedes, but business users effectively understand it: “There are no people there [in IT] who really understand the ins and outs of these applications anymore … but the business users can come in and make those determinations and hand it off to the IT folks, who can do the actual movement and consolidation of the data.”

Elsewhere, DataFlux officials trumpet the data monitoring capabilities that are new to Release 6.2. Gidley, for example, says that data monitoring lets companies track and validate data quality over time, which lets them vet the effectiveness of their data management process. “Over time, you want to take snapshots of your data and see how it measures up against the standards that you’ve set,” he explains. “Trending is another way to look at that, and that is where (from a data warehousing perspective) you’ve gone through and made sure that your data is [at] a high quality level.”

For compliance efforts, says Fisher, users can define business rules to generate alerts whenever there’s a violation of any kind. “Where an organization has gone to the trouble of analyzing their existing records and their existing customers base, OFAC, USA PATRIOT Act, they may have gone to great lengths to ensure that none of their customers are people that the Treasury Department has designated are individuals who they should not be doing [business] with,” he explains. “So monitoring will allow you to look at your transactions and data sources over time and—if one of those names pop up—will generate an alert.”

Finally, DataFlux has beefed up Release 6.2’s connectivity options to other systems, with connectors into SAS, SAP R/3, Siebel, and Informatica. “We really use SAS when we’re looking at mainframe data. SAS has a huge presence on mainframe data, and there’s some data that I think SAS is the only package that can get to,” Gidley concludes.

About the Author

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