: Tech Outlook 2003"> Along with greater volumes of data, organizations are working to respond more quickly to information. This dynamic is partly driven by portal deployments because portals make data staleness painfully obvious to all. Processing and analyzing data in near real time is viewed as both the Holy Grail of enterprise data management and as a pipe dream, given its difficulties.Dynamic data gateways are key strategic tools in this process, as are more robust data collection tools at the start of the customer interaction chain. With todays demand for real-time information, data cleansing and aggregation can no longer be left until weeks after data collection occurs. Web services are proving to be an effective way to link disparate data systems to loosely coupled federated databases. In the Web services model, data is available in real time, mapped to a common, interoperable data format (XML) and supported through the entire client/midtier/database application stack. XML technologies will profoundly change the data landscape during the next 18 months. Every major transactional database is undergoing major internal surgery to natively support XML Schema data types and XML Query as a query language. Microsofts forthcoming Office 2003, for example, provides data creators with more powerful ways to generate structured, highly reusable data than ever before (see review, Office Embraces XML). While databases will continue to store data in a variety of ways, XML-influenced trends of data fluidity, in-flight transformation and self-describing data (the co-location of data with its structural description) are profound changes to how organizations manipulate data. West Coast Technical Director Timothy Dyck is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Real-time data analysis requires a more fluid approach to data storage than has been traditionally taken. Data in transit, data stored on a clients system or data stored in an internal federated database should all be viewed as part of a broader understanding of "database."