Firstlogic’s Tough Sell
Firstlogic refreshes its IQ8 data quality suite with improved dashboarding and collaboration features, project monitoring and reporting capabilities.
Earlier this month, Firstlogic refreshed its IQ8 data quality suite with improved dashboarding and collaboration features, along with enhanced project monitoring and reporting capabilities. On top of this, Firstlogic officials also trumpeted the revamped IQ8’s support for phonetic matching algorithms.
Exciting stuff, to be sure. No doubt Firstlogic hopes the new IQ8 8.05 release will whet the whistles of new and existing users alike, but there’s a good chance some of the company’s customers will approach it with an especial wariness.
It was just two months ago, after all, that Firstlogic was acquired by direct mail and campaign marketing powerhouse Pitney-Bowes Inc. And although Pitney-Bowes itself isn’t new to the data quality game—that company snapped up Group 1 Software last year—there’s bound to be some post-acquisition uncertainty in long-time Firstlogic accounts.
With this in mind, says Rob Lerner, a senior analyst for data management with consultancy Current Analysis, the IQ8 8.05 should help to put some of these concerns to rest. “While the company is offering a few enhancements that will make the product more attractive, especially to the business user, the release at this time helps the company limit concerns that its pending acquisition by Pitney Bowes is distracting,” he writes.
On the plus side, IQ8 8.05 ships with a number of business user-friendly amenities, starting first and foremost with its revamped Project Portal. This gives users a browser-based environment for managing enterprise-wide projects, and it also lets them view reports from any location. Lerner says it makes for a valuable addition to the IQ8 suite.
“The portal adds another layer of flexibility to project management, because projects can be managed remotely and during off-hours through the portal,” he writes. “And because it supports the business user, it helps the company position IQ8 as being a business-user friendly solution, unlike the initial release of the solution which was geared to IT departments and developers.”
Ditto for another IQ8 8.05 addition, improved support for business rules. Customers who manage proprietary, standardized business rules in relational tables can use this data directly with the IQ8 suite. “This enables administrators or business users to leverage these tables across all batch and transactional projects and ensure consistency across the organization,” Lerner says.
As for IQ8’s new phonetics capabilities, Lerner says they’re also of substantive value for business users. “Essentially, this capability enables IQ8 to match on data according to sound, or what the company calls sound-alike data ... which potentially catches variants that would not ordinarily be matched using some other matching techniques,” he writes. “It also gives IQ8 another matching capability, strengthening the solution’s overall matching capability by allowing it to match data in any number of ways as opposed to relying on only one algorithm, which may be limited for some types of data.”
Of more interest to existing users, says Lerner, is what the new release says about the company’s ongoing strategy and intent—especially when considered in tandem with several recent Firstlogic partnering announcements. For example, Firstlogic recently firmed up accords with Siebel Systems Inc. and Cognos Inc. If nothing else, both partnerships give that company a chance to sell its data quality solutions into the sizeable CRM and BI installed bases of both vendors. According to Lerner, the timing of Firstlogic’s Siebel accord was abysmal—the partnership was announced after Oracle Corp. announced its intention to purchase Siebel—and the Cognos partnership is still very general, with no specifically articulated goals.
Lerner says the new IQ8 enhancements do leave something to be desired. “While the product offers some interesting enhancements, they are few in number and the company still has a ways to go before IQ8 is a completely business-user friendly solution,” he contends. The net-net, Lerner concludes, is a mixed bag. “[T]here could be some hesitation in some quarters about buying into this release, given the company’s pending acquisition by Pitney Bowes. Such prospects will want to see where Pitney Bowes will take the company and whether its products will be supported or integrated into other solutions,” he notes.
Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.