Informatica's purchase of Similarity continues the consolidation in the data quality tools market that we have been tracking over the past year or so. Absent Pitney Bowe's aborted acquisition of Firstlogic, the absorption of DQ technology into a greater data integration environment seems to be, at this point, a fait accompli. With most major US DQ tools vendors now part of something bigger (Trillium, which owns Avellino, is itself owned by Harte-Hanks, Dataflux is owned by SAS, Vality and Metagenix's tools have been sucked into Ascential, now a prime part of IBM's data motion strategy, and Evoke, tossed by CSI into Similarity's hands is now part of Informtica).
Data profiling seems to be a key component - everybody's doin' it, including Oracle (with a sophisticated tool embedded within OWB), Informatica has a nice profiling capability as part of Power Center. I hear in dark alleyways that Ab Initio has a profiling capability also. This does dovetail with my continuing observations on how profiling has numerous uses that span the information management lifecycle.
So what is next for the DQ tools industry? Here are my predictions: look for additional consolidation on the standardization and matching/record linkage side - smaller vendors may be absorbed by other larger concerns just to "stay in the game." Also: there are still two relatively senior DQ tools vendors still unattached, Firstlogic and Innovative - one or both may be candidates for marriage. Lastly: look for innovation in the DQ tools space from Europe and Asia, where there is a more penetrating understanding of engineering data quality into the development process.