CSI Prescribes an Rx for Data Quality Woes

CSI plans to leverage its professional services expertise to address data quality shortcomings

Data quality often seems like an uneasy commingling of art and science. Even though many organizations have implemented data quality programs and observe tested data quality best practices, they still experience poor data quality.

Because of these and other data-quality shortcomings, several vendors have recently introduced data-quality consulting and implementation practices.

Enter the newest such offering, a Data Quality Competency Center (DQCC) service from Conversion Science International Inc. (CSI), a professional services firm that specializes in business-intelligence and data-warehousing solutions. CSI joins data-quality stalwart FirstLogic Corp., among others, which (just two months ago) announced IQ Assurance, a data-quality program designed for organizations that don’t have existing data-quality investments.

CSI, for its part, says DQCC is a service that’s designed to improve data quality by standardizing enterprise-data processes and procedures, creating and validating business rules, and defining the people, processes, data, and technologies needed to establish metrics and drive return on investment. On the technology front, DQCC includes CSI’s data profiling solution, along with data-quality technology from Similarity Systems.

According to Rob Lerner, a senior analyst for application infrastructure with consultancy Current Analysis Inc., CSI’s all-inclusive approach to data quality makes for a compelling offering. “DQCC should prove attractive for organizations considering a data quality initiative … because the company is providing an all-inclusive data quality package from a single source, or a single point of contact, and for a set price,” he points out.

Another selling point—and an area of difference from a dedicated data-quality vendor such as FirstLogic—is DQCC’s technology-agnostic approach. “Customers can choose the technology that they wish to leverage—that is, they don’t have to use CSI’s or its partners',” Lerner explains, adding that this lets them keep the technology investments they’re familiar with.

CSI’s consulting expertise is another important competitive differentiator, Lerner suggests. “CSI brings a strong range of best practices and methodologies to any engagement. For example, the company can provide expertise in Six Sigma, and it also offers what it terms Centers of Excellence that are dedicated to developing, testing, and implementing best practices.”

In addition, CSI has industry-specific expertise in several important (and data quality hungry) verticals, such as retail, financial services, health care, and telecommunications.

If it sounds like an ambitious program, it is. For this reason, Lerner concedes, DQCC might not be ideal for small or medium-sized organizations. “Although the company states that the DQCC’s services can be ‘tailored for any organization based on their specific business requirements,’ CSI’s push to large organizations will likely limit the appeal of this among smaller organizations, circumscribing the market for CSI’s services and technology.”

In addition, Lerner notes, the data-quality-services market isn’t exactly bereft of similar offerings—many of which are provided by CSI’s professional services competitors—companies such as Blue Hammock, Cap Gemini, Deloitte & Touche, EDS, IBM, and Knightsbridge, among others.

About the Author

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