Information Builders Google-izes BI

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2006-03-06 Print this article Print

The WebFocus tool combines the company's iWay integration technology with a Google appliance to simplify enterprise search and BI reporting.

Information Builders is "Google-izing" enterprise search and business intelligence reporting, giving enterprises an easy way to search corporate data centers. The New York-based company plans to announce on March 6 its new tool, WebFocus Intelligent Search. WebFocus combines Information Builders iWay integration technology with the Google Search Appliance and an easy-to-use Google front end that requires no user training. The resulting search spans both data thats kept in databases and unstructured data thats tucked into all manner of places and forms, such as EDI (electronic data interchange), ERP (enterprise resource planning), flat files, Web services and HTML.
Kevin Quinn, Information Builders vice president, said the product was conceived in part to satisfy corporate users whove grown accustomed to fast answers from Google.
"If youre searching for something and you dont know where it is, everybody knows where to go: You go to a browser and search a Google engine, for example," he said. The Google Search Appliance allows users to search through documents and e-mail stored throughout the enterprise, but things arent that straightforward on the BI side of things, Quinn said. "If youre searching for something on a database, you typically go to a portal, to a tab, down some application line, and you may look through several folders of reports," he said. "Weve been able to bridge that gap" between the ease of Google searches and the complexity of BI, Quinn said, with WebFocus ability to search enterprise reports. "Even dynamic ones being created on the fly can be part of the search result," he said. Click here to read about Oracles enterprise search efforts. Information Builders news release quoted Wayne Eckerson, director of research and services at TDWI (The Data Warehousing Institute), as saying that the Google-ization of BI is "inexorable." "Business professionals are wondering why they can use Google and other search engines to locate billions of documents scattered across millions of machines worldwide in a matter of nanoseconds but cant do the same for corporate data stored on a few dozen systems in the company data center," Eckerson was quoted as saying. "Information Builders search-enabled BI marks a major step toward bridging these two worlds." The search results that WebFocus returns allow users to generate BI reports from formerly disjointed and often unreachable data. WebFocus links unstructured and structured data, reaching into the databases that elude Google search capabilities, using the capabilities of iWay, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Information Builders that covers the integration piece of the puzzle. EMC is sticking to its plans to incorporate Googles desktop search. Read more here. iWays Enterprise Index monitors the networks through which core applications are fed information and through which the enterprise is connected. It transforms messages flowing to core applications into formats that can be indexed by the Google Search Appliance. The index chronicles all enterprise data, regardless of its form. Searching on terms will return relevant information stored in core applications. WebFocus natively reads databases and applications, using algorithms to connect search terms with hits, original indexed material and the target to which the message was sent. Information Builders Quinn said customers are now evaluating WebFocus, and that iterations of the tool will be available in the second quarter of this year. 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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