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BI: Garbage Out, Trust In

Business Objects (BO) is helping companies take out the garbage.

The Paris and San Jose, Calif.-based vendor of business intelligence (BI) software is introducing a product suite designed to improve data quality and help companies comply with the U.S.A. Patriot Act.

The solution, called Data Quality XI, integrates seamlessly with government databases so that companies, particularly financial institutions, can identify individuals flagged by Treasury department watch lists such as the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Data Quality XI also inter-operates with third-party and proprietary applications such as those from SAP , Oracle   and Informatica .

This helps ensure that data from multiple databases and languages conform and are processed accurately, which is critical to large enterprises and companies with foreign subsidiaries, partners or customers.

"We want customers to have confidence in those business intelligence reports," said Kristin McMahon, product manager for enterprise information management at Business Objects.

The release comes at a time when industry sales trends suggest that business managers no longer have to be sold on the upside of BI.

But the downside of BI is that poor data quality produces the opposite of intelligence. Thus the saying, garbage in, garbage out.

And according to a Harris Interactive survey commissioned by Business Objects, information workers in the U.S. spend an average of 12 hours per week verifying the accuracy of data.

Data Quality XI is built using service oriented architecture (SOA)  and helps business users standardize data through the use of a centralized business rule repository.

For example, customers can consolidate multiple sales databases and ensure that the same data quality process is applied throughout the enterprise.

The solution includes features that help enterprises deal with data received in a variety of character sets and languages, such as Arabic, Japanese and Chinese. It also provides matching, which helps companies eliminate duplicate records, by identifying that IBM and International Business Machines, for instance, are the same entity.

McMahon told internetnews.com that one customer using a beta version of the solution realized that it had 40 percent fewer customers than it thought thanks to this feature.

The suite also offers reports that business analysts can generate without needing help from IT and allow them to track improvements in the accuracy of BI reports.

"For instance," said McMahon, "they can see how the bad address situation is evolving over time."