Customers Indifferent to BI

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-05-06 Print this article Print

Theres more data to analyze, but Stinger beta testers like Tim Kuchlein [director of information systems at Clarity Payment Solutions Inc.] say its too much of a hassle to deal with keeping database servers replicated and in sync with reporting servers. Is Stinger going to help with that? Yes, I was just getting to that. The third piece is that for many reasons—complexity is one, also privacy—you may not want to move the data. You might have to go access it where its in place, at its source. Information Integrator, built on Stinger, provides the ability to reach out and access that data in place.
It adds to and extends your business intelligence. People will have a choice. I dont want to imply you dont have to put things together in a warehouse. You can continue to do that. But secondly, you have another choice, which is to access the data in place.
For business-intelligence users who want real-time, executive dashboard kinds of data, this is essential. For example: Id like to compare how many red shoes are selling right now, as opposed to at Thanksgiving. What were doing with the technologies in Stinger and Information Integrator, which exploits Stinger technology, is [giving customers] the ability to access more data for more users and to extend that with real-time access to source data. Click here to read commentary on the Oracle-IBM database rivalry. Speaking of source data, DB2s XML-handling capabilities have steadily been getting better, but youre still ranked slightly below Oracle Corp. databases in that regard. What can we look forward to vis-à-vis native XML capabilities in Stinger? Thats the final piece: the ability to access unstructured data. Because business intelligence needs to work at not only warehouse, inventory, transactions, sales and whatnot; it also needs a complete view of the customer. You need to look at not only what I bought but what customer complaints and e-mails Ive sent. Those would be in files and e-mails and so forth. You want to look at that and include that. XML is part of that, and so is Information Integrators ability to access unstructured data through Dominos Extended Search. That has access to Notes data [among other things]. Are we going to see native XML storage and indexing, or will we see more shredding—i.e., parsing of XML into relational tables, which slows performance? The extenders we have out there today are the first wave of our XML functionality. What youll see next is a deep implementation of XML that goes far beyond what we have today and will outclass anybody in the field. Were in the process of building an in-depth implementation of native XML storage, indexing and so on. Were showing it now in a closed alpha form to customers. Technology previews will come this year. What some other implementers that have relational systems have been doing, theyve been taking XML apart and putting it not in [the tree form in which native XML is stored—i.e., shredding]. What we have invented is a way to store things in a more native form in the tree structure itself, which gives a significant performance advantage. You have to have specialized indexes that index the branches of the tree, in essence. Data storage and indexing technologies have to go hand-in-hand. Next page: Masala will bring search capabilities for within the database, e-mail, the Web, intranets and the Internet.

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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