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Poor quality data increases the risk of drawing false conclusions, producing inaccurate analytics and making bad business decisions.Working with reliable data is one of the core requirements for any business intelligence or decision-making process to work, but many companies don’t have the processes or technology in place to optimize their data quality.

SEE: Data governance checklist for your organization (TechRepublic Premium)

A variety of data quality software solutions are available today to help businesses make their data operational with efficient workflows and automation. In this review, TechRepublic discusses the IBM InfoSphere QualityStage tool, which helps companies enhance their data quality and information governance while optimizing their time, resources and expertise.

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What is IBM InfoSphere QualityStage?

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Image: IBM

IBM InfoSphere QualityStage is a solution within the IBM Information Server suite that is designed to improve data quality by enabling you to investigate, cleanse and manage data. With features found in InfoSphere QualityStage, users find that they are able to maintain consistent visibility over key data entities.

This tool offers a range of pre-built modules and operations for improving data quality, such as cleansing, deduplication, normalization, standardization, data survivorship and matching. In addition, this solution helps with data governance, assisting business users with data discovery, classification and disposition.

Key features of InfoSphere QualityStage

IBM InfoSphere QualityStage provides a comprehensive solution for managing quality data, processes and people. It includes the following functionalities that help organizations increase productivity and customer satisfaction:

Deep data profiling

InfoSphere QualityStage supports deep data profiling, allowing users to identify and categorize data. This feature is especially helpful in assessing database quality, integrity and structure. Examples of deep data profiling that the tool can perform include multicolumn primary key, overlap, relationship, and column analysis.

Built-in data classes

Data classification is a process that can be complex and time-consuming. With IBM InfoSphere QualityStage, built-in data classes allow users to find the storage locations of sensitive, personally identifiable information and other data types. IBM InfoSphere QualityStage comprises over 250 built-in data classes, such as credit cards, taxpayer IDs and U.S. phone numbers.

This feature allows users create and customize three types of data classes: valid values list, regular expression (regex) and Java class. The number of built-in data classes in IBM InfoSphere QualityStage gives it a competitive edge in terms of customization and breadth of features.

On-premises or cloud deployment

InfoSphere QualityStage is available in on-premises or cloud deployment models. For cloud deployment, businesses can choose between public or private cloud environments.

The cloud version of this tool typically leads to benefits like faster time to value, lower administration costs and risk-free subscription pricing. Deployment in the cloud enables you to scale your resources up or down as needed. In addition, you’ll automatically have access to the latest software updates and won’t have to worry about upgrading manually.

Built-in data quality rules

InfoSphere QualityStage offers many built-in data quality rules for common data cleansing tasks, especially tasks that occur before loading data into a data warehouse, data lake or applications. Data can be transformed into a new form using one or more of these rules.

This tool offers over 200 built-in rules; these built-in data quality checks provide proactive enforcement and automated error identification in your data transformation process. Users can develop custom rule definitions that evaluate variables based on a defined condition or type of check.

Data standardization and record matching

Data standardization and record matching is a core function of IBM InfoSphere QualityStage. This feature can be used to organize and cleanse data sets by providing several pre-defined or user-defined rules. This means it can take data from one system and then match it with another.

It also can replace duplicates in the process, so if there are duplicate records, this feature will replace them with the most up-to-date version.

Users who take advantage of this feature can create accurate data that can be trusted. For example, the tool can catch spelling mistakes, inverted letters, missing values and other inconsistencies.

Built-in governance

InfoSphere QualityStage provides built-in governance with added flexibility and control over data processing.  The built-in governance capability helps organizations comply with government regulations and maintain control of the data they collect. This is vital in the healthcare, finance and insurance industries in particular, where strict rules about what can be stored in data systems exist.

The built-in governance engine allows for customizable policies that allow users to dictate how data will be handled within the environment. Users can decide when data can be deleted, who can access it and how frequently it needs to be backed up.

Automatic business-term assignment with machine learning

The automatic business-term assignment with machine learning feature simplifies data preparation by automatically assigning the right business terms and mapping business terms to assets. Machine learning can automatically assign and recommend terms for column names and data classes, thus speeding up the metadata auto-tagging or classification process and making the whole process easier on data stewards. Terms are auto-assigned to assets as a part of column analysis, automated discovery and quick scan.

IBM InfoSphere QualityStage pricing

IBM InfoSphere QualityStage pricing is not publicly displayed on the product page but is available upon request; interested buyers can schedule a 30-minute one-on-one call with the IBM sales team to learn more about this software and get personalized pricing quotes based on their company’s needs.

IBM InfoSphere QualityStage alternatives

Data quality can be a complex problem to solve. There are many tools out there for you to use, and the best solution for your company depends on the problems you’re trying to solve. Some possible alternatives to IBM InfoSphere QualityStage are:

Oracle Enterprise Data Quality

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Image: Oracle

Oracle Enterprise Data Quality (EDQ) offers users a set of pre-built modules for assessing, improving and managing data quality. It includes modules for master data management, data governance, data integration, business intelligence and data migration services, all of which work together to support an end-to-end solution for data quality.

The suite provides an integrated environment to address all aspects of data management. EDQ features profiling, audit and dashboards, parsing and standardization, match and merge, case management, address verification, and product data capabilities.

Informatica Data Quality (IDQ)

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Image: Informatica

Informatica Data Quality (IDQ) is a data integration and quality solution that enables organizations to transform data into trusted information assets. Informatica Data Quality provides an end-to-end process for cleansing, matching and linking disparate data sources.

IDQ improves the quality of your data by removing duplicate records, filling in missing (null) values and synchronizing inconsistent records. This tool’s key features include role-based capabilities, a rich set of transformations, exception management, discovery, and search and profiling.

SAP Data Quality Management

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Image: SAP

SAP Data Quality Management is an end-to-end intelligent content management platform for data governance and quality. It provides access to the technologies, methodologies and processes required to improve your data quality. It also gives a comprehensive view of your business operations across teams, departments and locations.

You can manage all data assets through one system, including unstructured information. With the support of an integrated set of products for discovery, classification, profiling and matching, users can confidently meet global regulatory compliance requirements around privacy and records retention policies.

Talend Data Quality

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Image: Talend

Talend Data Quality is an enterprise-grade data quality solution for data cleansing, deduplication and standardization across systems. It provides scalable rules-based matching, real-time data masking, profiling, and cleansing.

In addition, it can manage large volumes of data in the cloud or on-premises and leverage machine learning to provide insights into complex issues.

WinPure Clean & Match Enterprise

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Image: WinPure

WinPure Clean & Match Enterprise is a data quality tool that acts as an extension of the ETL process, helping users to refine, process and enrich data before loading it into enterprise systems.

WinPure described its solution as the complete data quality, cleansing, matching and deduplication software suite for your mailing lists, databases, spreadsheets and CRMs. The community version of this tool is available to download for free, but the paid version has more advanced capabilities.

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