Data Quality and Cleansing initiatives are essential to improving overall operational and IT effectiveness. However many efforts do not get off the ground and get stalled before they really start.



Lack of focus and an attempt to use large providers (Vendors who charge $100K – $2 M per year) first

Data quality can mean many things, insuring financial transactions are done right, product data accuracy, customer data integrity, etc. It can become overwhelming, especially with the marketing campaigns and industry research sponsored by large providers pushing an enterprise wide ‘fix everything’ first approach.

“(Installing the large data quality solution) was like putting in a new ERP system that had to tie into everything. A big drain on our people, time, and energy. Even the vendor selection stage took four months with all of the presentations and due diligence”

– IT Director at a Fortune 1000 Retailer

From the initial Request for proposal to implementation typically takes 6 to 9 months (Based on interviews with 14 customers of large data quality solution providers).

Immediate benefits can come from cleaning up the most important information in any company, customer information. Finding, removing, and merging duplicate customer information has significant vale. Additionally, the data cleansing of customer and sales lead data is easily understood and a good starting point for energizing the organization. Usually these areas are ignored by large scale implementations which typically focus on only internal data and ignore external data, like marketing or sales leads lists.


No Identified ROI (Return on Investment) or TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).

Very few providers provide solid information on what the true ROI will be for the organization because, in all honesty, they don’t know, and have seldom followed through to make sure theoretical benefits actually happened. Questions posed to large data quality vendors on this topic are usually not addressed specifically. In addition, most providers do not state the total cost of their software publicly or even within a completed quote. Quotes are left open ended with a variety of potential service charges which in practice increase the cost of an implementation by 36 – 75%. (Based on interviews with 14 large Data quality solution customers.) These facts make it difficult to get approval for six or seven figure data cleansing budgets.

Business users are typically not used and High end internal IT personnel are required for support

Most Data Quality solutions are very complicated and require high end IT personnel to implement. This significantly increases the true total cost of ownership and tends to keep business users and super users from fully embracing the project.

Professional Research has shown widespread doubts of the value of a large data quality solution

Quotes from Gartner’s 2009 “Magic Quadrant for Data Quality Tools” by Ted Friedman and Andreas Bitterer

Gartner is an IT Industry Research Company with very thorough investigations into the Data Quality Tools segment (Large Providers Only, Over $400,000 per implementation)

“Customers report only average satisfaction with the value of (Provide D’s) software relative to its price, and some customers continue to struggle with the overall high price of the software…”

-Comments on the Leading Data Quality Solution

“the cost model associated with the technology is perceived as adequate but sometimes a challenge.”

“While some customers have expressed satisfaction with (Provider A’s) pricing and received value, an equal number were rather negative about the licensing and the business value received from the implementation, particularly with regards to multiple add-on fees.”

This research is based on questionnaires typically answered by IT personnel. If IT doesn’t buy into the value, it is very likely that General Management, Finance, Sales, Marketing and Operations also struggle with the value of large scale data quality projects.


Concerns over sharing information, giving an application access across systems, and effects on legacy systems.

Most large data cleansing providers have excellent reputations. However valid concerns exist on sharing sensitive information and the extra time needed to insure security and legal policies are kept in compliance.

So what is the Solution?

A Simple Plan, with a Free Trial, and results in an afternoon

1. Investigate Easy to use data cleansing desktop tools that are very affordable, can be used by business users, and can be acquired without a lengthy approval process (Free Trials), like our data cleansing package DataMatch.

2. Get your data cleansed in an afternoon. We suggest you first attack customer and sales lead information with Data Cleansing and deduplication of your multiple customer and sales lead lists.

3. Demonstrate results and get buy in from the essential areas of the organization. Our sales reps will help you develop a presentation to highlight your success in a way that gets noticed.

Typical ROI: More targeted sales leads, eliminate duplicate mailings, improve sales effectiveness, and reduce time required for administering duplicate customers (Accounts receivable, sales planning, sales management, and more accurate financial reporting)

Use the quantified results to gain buy in from CIOs, CFOs, CEOs etc. This momentum can pay for further initiatives and energizes the organization with tangible results.

Feel free to contact our sales team to help you develop your own simple plan to start improving data quality and bringing dollars to the table.

Looking forward to your comments and would love to hear your stories or questions to help you “Get the Most Out of Your Data”

–         Linda Boudreau


Data Ladder LLC