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Richard Hackathorn

Welcome to my blog stream. I am focusing on the business value of low latency data, real-time business intelligence (BI), data warehouse (DW) appliances, use of virtual world technology, ethics of business intelligence and globalization of business intelligence. However, my blog entries may range widely depending on current industry events and personal life changes. So, readers beware!

Please comment on my blogs and share your opinions with the BI/DW community.

About the author >

Dr. Richard Hackathorn is founder and president of Bolder Technology, Inc. He has more than thirty years of experience in the information technology industry as a well-known industry analyst, technology innovator and international educator. He has pioneered many innovations in database management, decision support, client-server computing, database connectivity, associative link analysis, data warehousing, and web farming. Focus areas are: business value of timely data, real-time business intelligence (BI), data warehouse appliances, ethics of business intelligence and globalization of BI.

Richard has published numerous articles in trade and academic publications, presented regularly at leading industry conferences and conducted professional seminars in eighteen countries. He writes regularly for the BeyeNETWORK.com and has a channel for his blog, articles and research studies. He is a member of the IBM Gold Consultants since its inception, the Boulder BI Brain Trust and the Independent Analyst Platform.

Dr. Hackathorn has written three professional texts, entitled Enterprise Database Connectivity, Using the Data Warehouse (with William H. Inmon), and Web Farming for the Data Warehouse.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Richard's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

June 2008 Archives

Summer Ficarrotta, project marketing manager at Serena Software, motivated their product as dealing with the long tail of IT projects. In other words, there are many small situational applications that will not be done by IT. What if... business users could create their own solution? The solution, according to Summer, is business mashups!

Mashups are modular components that can be easily assembled on a single web page, such as embedded Google Maps with your customer list, showing locations of customers. Business mashups are enhanced mashups compatible with corporate IT standards, such as security, work flow management, and scalability. Serena is obviously pushing the term mashup for marketing motivations. However, that is okay if you accept that mashup technology is only feasible within corporate IT when enhanced as Serena has done.

The development lifecycle is: Design (in Mashup Composer that publishes the mashup), Deploy (in Mashup Management that deploys the mashup to the Mashup Server), and Administer (where Mashup Administrator controls the Mashup Server). Got all that? This should be super easy for non-programmers, which did not seem so during the demos.

Serena is using a per-user pricing model that is still being debated, with addition cost for more users. Meanwhile, Serena can be previewed by downloading the free Mashup Composer and deploy your biz mashup to their cloud for execution.

Side Note: Serena had a major marketing success using a low-cost YouTube video called Just @#$% It!! What are they saying? With over one million views, it had a lot of bang for the buck. However, the video pushes the envelope with sexual innuendo. See the comments by David Berlind at InformationWeek.

Posted June 30, 2008 5:50 PM
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Bob Eve, VP Marketing, and David Besemer, Chief Technology Officer, presented their Composite Discovery Appliance, which uses a three-level search approach: search line, list of objects, and a tabular table. In other words, it starts with the typical search query, which generates a list of objects, such as fields, tables, reports. In particular, it will find tables that can relate all values of the query string, even if many such tables are involved.

It uses a pre-computed index that finds all values and relationships among tables, both explicit and implicit. For typical databases, the schema contains relationships among tables. However, such schemas do not exist for tables across diverse sources. A correlation called Relationship Probability Score (RPS) is computed. A high RPS indicates a possible relationship between tables.

The company delivers their product as an appliance (hardware, software, service) so that it is easier for customers. It drops into your network. But, you must configure data sources. Perpetual pricing is $150K plus support, while subscription is $7500 for initial setup and $4000 per month. The first release is a single appliance can handle about a terabyte of data. In future versions, appliances will be able to cluster together to handle larger data storage.

Although limited for larger databases, the product provides a very useful tool for data integration in a complex environment.

Posted June 30, 2008 3:19 PM
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The first speaker is Kevin Quinn, VP of Product Marketing. Some facts about IB: privately-held software vendor, $314M in 2007, establish 1975, 1,400 employees, 12,000 customer site. They have a tight partnership with IBM to resell their products. The company has a dual image for integration software with iWay and BI tools with WebFOCUS.

A nice byline is Your Business, No Barriers, which has evolved into Because Everyone Makes Decisions. IB is reaching down the organization pyramid by emphasizing operational applications. Ford was given as a customer example with their Warranty Claims Mgt System. A unique feature is the guided ad-hoc report via a form. This generates a template that can then used to generate hundreds of specific reports by normal users. Kevin demonstrated Developer Studio with the ability to have various output formats, such as HTML, Excel, Word, and PDF.

Active report is a portable and distributed thin-client analytics with no licensing. It can generate PowerPoint slides, pivot table, time-elapse reports. In the future, flash is embedded within PDF reports to allow self-contained interaction with the data. Google Maps is used to create dashboards for location intelligence. Mobile Favorites can reach disconnected people with simple mobile phones.

WebFOCUS Magnify Search is an enterprise search solution. A recent release has reduced the cost to customer. Monitors can be put on input transactions, which can intercept to be enhanced or filtered. Performance Metrics Manager comes with over 500 pre-built metrics. InfoAssist is a new tool coming out in October, written in Ajax, to compete directly with BO and Cognos web tools. In the fall, IB will release rStat that is a predictive analysis tool. They plans to release XBRL generation tool to submit complex financial reports to

The second speaker is Vincent Lam, Director of iWay Product Marketing. iWay group evolved from the need for data integration to feed the old FOCUS reports. The Java standards of J3EE caused a rewrite that stimulate the spin-off of iWay.

The tag line of iWay is Because Everything Should Work Together. Their adapters cover 85 databases and 150 real-time sources, both traditional data and event-driven messages, along with application adapters for terminal emulation, transaction servers, and procedural code hooks. The seven styles of data integration for: data warehouse, RT data warehouse, operational data access, (missed items), general search data.

Partnership with IBM supplies various adapter because IBM is discontinuing their old CrossRoads adapters. Google is using iWay adapters for their search product. Integration tools use Eclipse studio. In 2008, iWay has released an activity monitor, managed file transfer, secure messaging, and service manager. In 2009, iWay plans to released a data manager tool, message exchange tool, (missed remaining items). iWay is positioned to be an application development environment where their components can be assembled via the SOA framework. Their call is to Don't Code, instead Integrate and Assemble.

Posted June 30, 2008 12:14 PM
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My prior feelings are that the SAP acquisition was not in the best interests of my colleagues at Business Objects. It certainly was in the interests of SAP and maybe in the interests of the greater industry. Hence, I will listen carefully about the pro/con of the acquisition during this session.

During their two-hour session, there are three talks. The first speaker was Paul Clark, Senior Director of BO Marketing. Paul directly started with my issue. SAP is leader in Enterprise Application, which is good execution. BO is leader in BI, which is good strategy. Paul noted that in many companies there is a disconnected between strategy and execution. 9 out of 10 are doing a bad job on bringing strategy together with execution.

Paul suggested a closed-loop approach of Strategy-Decisions-Execution-Insight; hence SAP needed BO. Got it? Well, maybe... The weak link is closing the loop with Insight - taking analytics seriously by senior management so that it influences Strategy formation. How does SAP-BO fix this disconnect? Paul remarked that the problem requires more than tools. It requires behavioral changes in the people involved. This is a partial answer. More focus on senior management specifically.

The second speaker is Dan Kearnan, Director of SAP BI, who was working with BO prior to the acquisition. His first topic was Why SAP+BO! The combination provides the following complete stack, which is claimed to be open and agnostic.

+ EPM + GRC (Governance/Risk/Compliance) Platform
+ Biz Intelligence
+ Data Warehouse
+ Enterprise Apps
+ Biz Process

About 50,000 of the BO customers were not SAP. SAP plans to keep BO open to other stacks, like Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and legacy apps. BO will be run as a division of SAP, rather than complete integration, so that BO can maintain this cross stack functionality. Only 15% of the 7,200 BO employees are devoted to SAP, so the rest remain focused on the other stacks. Dan continued by outlining the components of the BI platform from BI. BO recently did an OEM agreement with SAS to provide deeper predictive analytics.

(side note: on several slides Dan showed Cloud Data as referring to external coming from web-based sources)

The third speaker is Aaron Mahimainathan, Senior Director of SAP Platform Marketing, on Trusted Information Foundation, a detailed description of SAP/BO tools. An intriguing example was global data synchronization across the supply chain. SAP supplies data to the data pool to be shared with partners.

Posted June 30, 2008 9:43 AM
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I am attending the 'first' Independent Analyst Platform in Phoenix. It is hot outside - 111! Rick van der Lans, the organizer, is using the heat to force us to remain in this cool meeting room. It is three solid days of briefing, seven sessions per day, with a total of 18 vendors. The best part is the 24 analysts that are attending. I know most, but there are some exciting new faces with a nice international flare.

Rick measured our GQ metric for all the analysts. GQ? Google Quota! Rick added up all of our GQ. And, this is getting close to Gartner! Yea! When you divide the respective GQ by the number of analysts involved, the Independent Analysts look even better against Gartner!

Depending on my energy level and concentration, I will try to submit a short blog on each session! Sure... Wish me luck!

Posted June 30, 2008 9:16 AM
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