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Blog: Richard Hackathorn Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed!

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!

Recently in BI Events Category

Bill Hewitt, president and CEO of Kalido, showed how companies can get their hands around the changes in their markets. Does IT help companies get better? Bill summarized their focus as "Information should be delivered as a service, where producers and consumers will create/consume/distribute information in near real-time." By the time that data gets to the proper people, the information is too late, too old. Managers need the context and the relevance for their business.

The Kalido Information Engine consists of:

+ Business Information Modeler
+ Dynamic Information Warehouse
+ Universal Information Director
+ Master Data Management

Robert Dickson, principal resales consultant, continued with a detail demonstration of augmenting a Cognos tool with enhance metadata. In particular, the field of Reseller Type was added as an attribute of Reseller so that users can query on this new field.

It is interesting that Kalido does not supply a database engine (since it uses SQL Server, DB2 and the like) or query tools (since it uses Cognos, Business Objects, and the like). It automates the metadata management layer above database/query products so that the data warehouse is more responsive to changing business requirements.

P.S. During the break David Loshin and I discussed the Kalido presentation and felt that it was the best so far. The reason is that the CEO came and give the value proposition, all in 20 minutes. Then, a knowledgeable technical person gave a detailed demo with real product, all in 30 minutes. And, the demo actually worked!

Posted July 2, 2008 11:33 AM
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The opening keynote was delivered by Philip Rosedale, CEO and president of Linden Labs, the creator of Second Life (SL). They affectionately referred to him El Presidente, reinforcing my impression of him as a visionary who is friendly and persuasive.

To his credit, he started humbly by admitting the poor reliability of Second Life. He wore a white t-shirt with big black block lettering saying "Missing Image", which occurs when SL has insufficient computing resources to properly construct the image of your avatar. This sent a strong message to his audience that he is fully aware of their concern for reliability. SL is just over 90% uptime including planned update outages. He quipped, "That's one nine, and it's better to have one nine than not any nines at all." I take this as a positive statement and hoping that at next year's conference he can argue that it is two or three nines.

Because SL is so complex, requiring constant innovations in grid computing. The next enhancement will be for different versions of the server to operate together. Eventually this innovation will avoid shutting down the entire grid for a version change several times per month.

Linden Labs was only received $20 million in venture capital to get to their current level of sustainable revenue. Rosedale predicted that, if the company had been traditional in its development strategies, they would never have been able to built SL to its level today. However, they have been driving SL toward better reliability. Over the last month, they introduced SL Voice, a major new capability of voice-to-voice chat sessions like Skype. At its peak usage, there have been 13 thousand people talking at the same time. All this was accomplished without disruptions in SL operations, as Rosedale proudly noted.

Over the past year, the international participation in SL has increased tremendously, to where residents from the US are only 25% of the total. SL is becoming a major influence on flattening the world and sharing cultures from one person to another.

Rosedale ended by predicting that SL will be bigger than the Web, when the technological problems are solved eventually. He remarked, "We do not appreciate how big this thing [SL] will get."

He is obviously a visionary, some of whom only blow hot air and some of whom change the world. So far, Linden Labs have accomplished a lot. But, the task ahead is a hundred or thousand times as large. Follow this one closely!

Posted August 25, 2007 11:29 AM
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IBM announced today the third generation of their Business Intelligence strategy. IBM outlines the generations as:

- query/reporting, followed by...
- online analytical processing (OLAP), and now...
- dynamic warehousing

According to Marc Andrews, IBM Director of Data Warehousing, dynamic warehousing is "about leveraging information on demand to optimize every transaction to make real-time business decisions" as stated in a ComputerWorld article. It is described as "makes the analysis of data stored in its data warehouse part of a business process".
A whitepaper is available from IBM.

So, what?

I read the whitepaper carefully and with the expectation of finding new concepts hidden within dynamic warehousing. Sadly I was disappointed. It was well written but a jumble of good concepts that do not go anywhere. I agree with the overall intent, but it is now so past session. It reminds me of the early positioning papers on active data warehousing by Teradata about five years ago. Worst, it hinted that the driving force behind the whitepaper was to make sense of a bunch of products, rather than mapping out a viable business solution. In other words, my feeling from reading this whitepaper is that dynamic warehousing is just marketing spin on some key but old concepts.

I expect more from IBM. They correctly pointed out that the hot issues are:

- complex data integration (as ALWAYS),
- increased data volume/variety (HELP, I am drowning)
- timely data (I mean NOW)

But then, IBM did not show how their strategy of dynamic warehousing offer an innovative approach to solve these real problems.

I will be closely watching the evolution of dynamic warehousing by IBM. Let's see if this horse has legs, now that it stumbled out of the gate. The race is not over!

Posted March 14, 2007 9:48 AM
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Despite the glitter of CES, there is significant news elsewhere. NCR announced that they were spinning off the Teradata Division as an independent publicly-traded company exclusively focusing on Data Warehousing. Wow!

I am not entirely clear on the equity transaction with shareholders. I am clear that this move with clarify the identity and future strategy of Teradata, who is often hidden behind the NCR corporate mystic.

I have seen the full circle. When I first visited Teradata in El Segundo, they were shipping the 'Big One' to K-Mart. Over the years, I have seen friends at Teradata go through merger hell and back. First, they were acquired by NCR and then by AT&T. Then, AT&T spun NCR back out. And now, NCR is spinning Teradata back out. Many good people left the company over those turbulent years.

I wonder... Is this the natural outcome of the DW market maturing? Can pure-play DW vendors now stand independently? Or, is this the prelude to massive consolidation within the DW market? Will Oracle (or your favorite corporate monopoly) buy Teradata? ...Any thoughts?

Whatever happens, I hope that the Teradata folks who endured through the full circle of acquisitions get special recognition. They are the seasoned vets of our IT wars.

Posted January 8, 2007 2:00 PM
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It is Monday. It must be the Business Objects Conference in San Francisco.

With a splash of Rhythm Extreme, the conference launched. At least, the actors were in synch. Will the company also be? There are 2,400 attendees, a 20% growth rate in attendance over the last several years. 150 sessions offered. Only one-twentieth the size of the Oracle Conference just two weeks ago, also in Moscone Center, but it is still impressive.

John Schwarz, CEO, spoke on the theme of BI being the enabler for transforming the way we work. He stated that BOBJ has 39,000 customers garnered over its 15 year history. He projecting annual revenue of $1.2B for 2006. Partnership program has grown to 3,000 companies. He emphasized the characteristics of High-Performance Organizations as having alignment, simplicity, trust, innovation in enterprise business intelligence. He also emphasized the industry specific solutions in financial services, telecommunications, government, healthcare and so on. A new product, The Productivity Suite, was announced for delivery early next year. To make it easier for smaller companies, their tools will be offered as a Software-As-A-Service. IBM was mentioned as a 'special' strategic partner. I wonder about the possibility of IBM acquiring Business Objects...

Bernard Liautaud, Founder, Chairman, Chief Strategy Officer, then spokes on his vision for BI 2.0. Like Web 2.0, Bernard feels that BI is undergoing a revolution in its usage and impacts on organizations, causing many constructive innovations and disruptive upheavals. Thus, he (like several others) is coining this phrase BI 2.0. Last year, Bernard listed five areas that he was focusing upon: users, platforms, networks, applications, community. My reaction was that his framework was to broad, needing to focus more on key issues. He predicted that ERP would evolve into an information-centric solution based upon BI. Bernard seemed current in his understand of Web 2.0, but he was still searching for the right formula relevant to Business Objects.

They announced a community aggregator The In-Site open to all conference attendees. I predict that this will be a standard part of trade conferences. Too bad that it starts after an event. It would to nice to use this as a planning/coordination mechanism prior to the event.

Posted November 6, 2006 10:00 AM
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