IBM ups its BI ante with third-generation strategy

Dynamic warehousing adds embedded analytics to data warehouse

IBM Tuesday announced a new business intelligence strategy that makes the analysis of data stored in its data warehouse part of a business process.

Along with the new strategy, dubbed dynamic warehousing, the company brought out a new version of its DB2 Warehouse, a new data analysis tool and new data warehouse appliances aimed at small and midsize businesses.

IBM officials described the new strategy as the "third generation" of data warehousing -- query and reporting represented the first phase, and online analytical processing the second. The tools built during first two generations of data warehousing focused mainly on analyzing historical company data, while dynamic warehousing aims to bring that analysis into the business process in real time, said Marc Andrews, IBM's director of data warehousing.

Core to IBM's dynamic warehousing effort is a new version of the DB2 Warehouse based on the DB2 9 database, code-named Viper, which came out last June. The new OmniFind Analytic Edition tool can be used to mine and analyze data in the DB2 Warehouse, Andrews said. The new OmniFind tool can tool can analyze unstructured data in the warehouse, such as call center and field technician notes, which has historically been a very difficult task for analysis tools, according to Andrews.

"Data warehouses provide a store for information, and organizations have focused on making that store faster, more reliable and easier to use," Andrews said. "They haven't provided the actual analytics to generate new business insight directly from within the warehouse. This third generation is really about leveraging information on demand to optimize every transaction to make real-time business decisions."

The updated DB2 Warehouse can also be used with IBM's Information Server to add data quality and transformation, and with its Rational Data Architect to embed data modeling, the company said.

IBM also introduced two new configurations of its Balanced Configuration Unit data warehousing appliance, which includes prebundled hardware, software and storage. One new configuration is aimed at midsize businesses, while the other is aimed at small businesses. Earlier ones were configured for large customers.

For small businesses, the new C-Class configuration includes Business Objects SA's Crystal Reports reporting tool, IBM said.

The new appliances are aimed at easing configuration problems, which IBM contends are at the root of 80 percent of enterprise problems related to data warehouses.

All of the new products will be available by the end of the month.

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