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5 questions to help you evaluate data quality vendors

As businesses look to leverage data for strategic decision-making, risk analysis, innovative customer experiences, and organizational efficiency, it’s more important than ever to have a rock-solid foundation of quality, reliable data. And the key to what can feel like a monumental task is often outside help.

Many of today’s data quality management vendors provide complex platform solutions that can take years to integrate and hundreds of hours of services to put into place. And they often lack the self-service capabilities you need to empower both technical and business users alike to easily manage clean data with confidence. Selecting a vendor solution is both a large personal and organizational investment that help you gain trust and confidence from your organization—we’re here to help you get it right.

Here are five of the most important questions to ask yourself and your team when evaluating a data quality solution.

1. Is this a good strategic fit for our organization?

The success of your data initiatives and business objectives will depend heavily on your selected data quality vendor’s capability to understand your industry, business model, and the internal operations supporting that model. They also need to understand and communicate how they can support your near- and long-term objectives and how best to ensure the accuracy of your data throughout the customer life cycle.

2. Is this data quality solution flexible?

Your data environment is unique to your organization, and your infrastructure and specific needs will be different. Your data quality solution needs to be customized to fit your needs, flexible to your requirements that will likely change over time, and it needs to integrate seamlessly into your environment.

Find a vendor that is constantly innovating, not just resting on a single solution that is never updated or improved. As your needs change, you will want to work with a partner that will listen to your upcoming requirements and that either has a solution in place or will look to create a new product to address your needs.

Most importantly, make sure you ask to test the solution in your environment. If a vendor can’t do a demo or proof of concept in your environment, it may be a sign that the solution is difficult to implement. You can cross them off your list.

3. Does this data quality vendor have a history of collaboration?

Data quality is not a simple process; it requires collaboration between your company, the vendor, and sometimes third parties. Third parties are frequently used for data management strategy recommendations. In fact, 64 percent of companies have used or still use third parties for their data quality strategy.

The benefit of collaboration is you’ll get a data quality solution the can help tailor a series of capabilities that are right for your individual organization. Make sure you ask for a list of customer references, and specifically ask to speak with a customer with similar challenges so you can get insight into what the partnership will look like.

4. Does this data quality vendor have holistic insight?

Understanding your core needs around data quality is essential, but the best data quality vendors can then take that newfound understanding and develop a series of recommendations for customized solutions that benefit your entire business. This will provide you with the maximum ROI. The best data quality vendors care about being a trusted partner versus meeting a single, immediate need.

5. Do you have user-friendly tools our business can leverage and understand?

The data quality industry is filled with vendors looking to sell IT-specific data quality solutions. While IT stakeholders certainly play a certain role in choosing and defining data quality solutions, data quality is increasingly in the hands of business users. We found 42 percent of organizations report data management primarily sits with business users. Achieving data quality today requires a different organizational and philosophical mindset of empowering all departments to understand their data quality solutions.

Finding the right data quality management vendor is crucial to your business’s success today and in the future. Be sure to find a vendor that is a strategic fit for your organization, has user-friendly tools that enable business users, and provides a complete solution for your needs now and in the future. These are essential to finding a long-term partner that can evolve your solution over time.

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