Editor's note: Theis is the first article in this series which highlights several emerging business uses and implementation approaches for data quality technology. The second article, Discovering Data Quality, provides recommendations for extending a point solution into an enterprise-wide data quality platform. The third part, Winning Hearts and Minds (and Money) with Data Quality, examines the practice of data quality - the tangible activities required to increase data usability, improve effectiveness of business decision-making and build confidence among information consumers about data completeness and accuracy.

The data quality market has seen a dramatic level of consolidation recently - yet another clear indication that the quality of data is finally being recognized as a mainstream component of good IT management. For the most part, companies have learned about the cost of poor data quality the hard way, through failure after failure of major IT projects and through cost overruns and schedules gone completely out of whack. Some forward-looking companies are now using data quality for wider purposes and as a distributed service for many systems, applications and business processes across the enterprise.

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