Information Builders Google-izes BI
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.
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.
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.
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