IBM rolls out combined OLAP, data mining tool

IBM is rolling out a tool that it said combines online analytical processing (OLAP) and data mining capabilities in one application, giving users the ability to do in-depth analyses not before possible.

The hardware and software giant announced Thursday that it had added what it called an "opportunity discovery" data mining feature to its DB2 OLAP server. The feature will allow companies to rapidly search through large amounts of data and find things like changes in customer behavior, allowing quick responses from executives, said IBM.

"Data mining enables enterprises to go far beyond 'naked-eye' analytics -- generating a far deeper understanding of trends, patterns and predictions that can be used to optimize business performance or uncover new business opportunities," Doug Laney, vice president of Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group Inc., said in the statement.

Product advocates claim that the new data mining feature will allow companies to detect ongoing trends and patterns and even make predictions about future business behaviors. For instance, IBM claims one customer can now analyze fraud claims data in two to three days, instead of two to three weeks.

Although IBM claims to be the only database vendor in the industry that offers these combined OLAP and data mining capabilities, rivals Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. differ. A Microsoft spokeswoman said her company added full integrated data mining and OLAP support to its SQL Server 2000 product a year ago.

The new IBM DB2 OLAP Server data mining tool will be available on Dec. 7 at no additional charge to existing users.

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