Fitting In

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-01-07 Print this article Print

The SRD acquisition is just the latest in a series of moves that IBMs Information Management division is taking to strengthen its position as a document-handling giant. For example, as IBM Information Management General Manager Janet Perna told recently, the company is quietly plugging away at what its calling the first-ever hybrid native XML and relational database, which is as yet unnamed. On top of that, IBM is planning to release in the second quarter a version of Data Warehouse Edition that finally integrates its hitherto disparate collection of BI parts, including the DB2 database, DB2 CubeViews, Information Integrator, Intelligent Miner, Warehouse Manager and OfficeConnect. Keith Gile, an analyst at Forrester Researchs Westport, Conn., branch, said the SRD acquisition addresses a "huge area of BI that really hasnt been addressed by too many folks"—namely, the area of operational data when youre talking about time-crunch mode.
Operational data analytics pertain to situations where workers have to make smart, data-dependent decisions in real time. For example, an airline worker checking in travelers has to make safety-related decisions based on what she thinks of a given traveler—a decision that should ideally be based in part on criminal records.
"Car dealerships, tellers in the bank, an insurance agency—there might be something about a human that hasnt been included [in one set of applications, for example], and thats where this type of technology, with large sets of data from really strange sources, can tell you theres an anomaly, so pay attention," Gile said. "There are so many times a decision has to be made based on what I think of you." Now, IBM is adding an engine to help scrub lots of inconsistent data, not just by cleaning it but by setting some profiling and establishing some benchmark by which a human being can be judged against some set of criteria, Gile said. That has huge ramifications in the realm of privacy, of course, as individuals get identified in various databases and then potentially experience discrimination based on analytical interpretation. Wozniak said SRD has a product in beta testing, called Anonymous Resolution, that addresses such concerns. Anonymous Resolution is designed to allow organizations to compare identity data without making that data visible to other organizations. Such a tool will allow organizations to check identities to protect themselves but still protect the privacy of customers or clients, he said. SRD, based in Las Vegas, has some 50 employees, most of whom will be absorbed into IBM, Wozniak said. Details of when SRDs products will be incorporated into Information Integrator were not immediately available. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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