Data profiling is the process of analyzing actual data and understanding its true structure and meaning. It is one of the most common and important activities in information management. Data profiling is the first critical step in many major IT initiatives, including implementing a data warehouse, building an MDM hub, populating metadata repository, as well as operational data migration and integration. It is also the key ingredient to successful data quality management.
While proliferation of commercial tools made data profiling accessible for most information management professionals, successful profiling projects remain elusive. This is largely because the tools allow gathering large volumes of information about data, but offer limited means and guidelines for analysis of that information.