Data profiling (DP) has always had a special relationship to information quality (IQ) and has often, though not always, been represented by Forrester as a subset of the larger IQ market. The market has now validated the hierarchical relationship again with the announcement of the Harte-Hanks/Trillium acquisition of Avellino in February 2004. Meanwhile, Firstlogic has shipped data profiling capabilities with IQ Insight 2.3; and DataFlux enhanced the data profiling capability of its version 6.1 IQ technology. In a preemptive move, Innovative Systems is promoting Synchronous, its customer data hub, and will continue to support Avellino's Discovery, which it had previously sold as Innovative Discovery.

Best of breed data profiling will now be inbred, which will enrich the gene pool of the software DNA of the assimilating enterprise. Data profiling capabilities such as redundant data identification, parent-child relationship analysis, data validation and sampling have always been a part of data standardization. Vendors such as Vality (now a part of Ascential), Trillium, Similarity Systems, Innovative Systems and Firstlogic have been featuring their data profiling functions in briefings to Forrester industry analysts, including this author, for years. What is happening now that makes this an inflexion point? Three causal factors follow:

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