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Colin White

I like the various blogs associated with my many hobbies and even those to do with work. I find them very useful and I was excited when the Business Intelligence Network invited me to write my very own blog. At last I now have somewhere to park all the various tidbits that I know are useful, but I am not sure what to do with. I am interested in a wide range of information technologies and so you might find my thoughts will bounce around a bit. I hope these thoughts will provoke some interesting discussions.

About the author >

Colin White is the founder of BI Research and president of DataBase Associates Inc. As an analyst, educator and writer, he is well known for his in-depth knowledge of data management, information integration, and business intelligence technologies and how they can be used for building the smart and agile business. With many years of IT experience, he has consulted for dozens of companies throughout the world and is a frequent speaker at leading IT events. Colin has written numerous articles and papers on deploying new and evolving information technologies for business benefit and is a regular contributor to several leading print- and web-based industry journals. For ten years he was the conference chair of the Shared Insights Portals, Content Management, and Collaboration conference. He was also the conference director of the DB/EXPO trade show and conference.

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

October 2005 Archives

Thanks for all the feedback on my MDM post. It shows how much interest there is in this topic. I agree with all of the comments sent to me. To answer some of the questions and comments I thought I would write a separate blog.

As I mentioned before, MDM is an application. It is about integrating reference data. This data may be used for business transaction processing or business intelligence processing or both. Customers will either custom build these applications (which is the main approach used at present) or buy a packaged solution from a vendor.

Vendors will either develop their own packages or acquire a company that already has a package. The winners here (as with all packaged solutions) will be those vendors that can bring the most domain expertise to the problem. Discussions I have had with companies about how to integrate master customer data, for example, have really demonstrated to me the complexity of the business problem.

Some vendors will bring out generic MDM applications that can be customized and extended for specific business domains, whereas other vendors will offer domain specific solutions.

The challenge for vendors (and their customers) will be to integrate these applications into an integrated enterprise architecture. This architecture may employ techniques like data consolidation, data federation and data propagation, and technologies such as ETL, EII and EAI. This underlying architecture can be thought of as a master data integration (MDI) framework for supporting MDM applications.

Posted October 21, 2005 6:20 PM
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Merrill Lynch just published its September 2005 CIO Spending Survey and BI/DW is at the top of the chart. To quote the report, "Business Intelligence/Data Warehousing showed a significant increase in spending priority, significantly outpacing other categories." The top five priorities were BI/DW (53% of respondents), application integration (33%), corporate portals (29%), security (27%) and supply chain management (26%). Ed Maguire at Merrill Lynch who very kindly send me a copy of the report told me that he cannot ever remember such a big gap between first and second places. The future of BI looks very good for 2006.

Posted October 21, 2005 6:10 PM
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This past few months I have been working with TDWI on a study and survey on data integration and the role of EII, ETL and EAI. The study report is now available and can be found on the TDWI Web site (www.tdwi.org). Happy reading!

Posted October 21, 2005 5:52 PM
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Hyperion yesterday announced Hyperion System 9, which was made generally available at the end of September. Like its main competitors, Cognos and Business Objects, the objective of System 9 is to provide a single set of tools for business performance management and business intelligence. What is interesting about System 9 is that this toolset not only contains business intelligence tools (System 9 BI+), but also financial management and business planning tools. This gives Hyperion a key advantage. In this respect Cognos is the main competitor.

Other key aspects of System 9 include a new user interface that provides a single user interface to the Hyperion toolset. Like other vendors, Hyperion realizes the importance of Microsoft Office integration. This integration is provided by a SmartView Office add-in. In the announcement Hyperion also placed strong emphasis on its integration with the SAP environment, which could provide a significant revenue base for Hyperion.

One product that has received less attention to date is Hyperion's Master Data Management, which it acquired from Razza Solutions. This product is gaining a lot of attention from customers and could become a key distinguishing feature of System 9 against the competition.

Over the last few weeks we have seen announcements from three key BI vendors, and this raises the stakes in the battle of suites. Next up is Microsoft SQL Server 2005 at the beginning of November.

Posted October 12, 2005 9:11 AM
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This quarter is going to be a hectic one for BI announcements. Cognos announced its new Cognos 8 suite a few weeks ago and today Business Objects announced Business Objects XI Release 2. Next up will be Hyperion System 9. All three vendors are trying to provide one-stop shopping for business intelligence. The key distinguishing factors between vendors are going to be the level of integration between the various components of the suites and pricing.

Another key direction for these vendors is integration with SAP (who are getting ready a new release of SAP NetWeaver) and Microsoft Office. Again, the level of integration here will be an important factor.

In early November Microsoft will launch SQL Server 2005, which could do some significant damage to customer base of other BI vendors. Worthy of note here is the Microsoft Business Scorecard Manager (BSM) 2005, which is tightly integrated with Microsoft Office. It offers a very competitive alternative to the scorecard and dashboard solutions of other leading BI vendors. It is also considerably cheaper. Both Panorama Software and ProClarity will be offering some interesting extensions to BSM.

All in all it's going to be an interesting to watch the vendors battle it out. Hopefully the customer will be the winner!

Posted October 3, 2005 7:07 PM
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