As IBM drives deeper into the intelligence space, steering the strategy is Karen Parrish, vice president of worldwide business intelligence solutions. Parrish sat down with eWEEK Senior Writer Dennis Callaghan in December to discuss the state of the BI space and future technology directions from the Armonk, N.Y., company in that area. The following are excerpts.
What is the business intelligence mission at IBM?
We have one real overriding mission of protecting investments because weve heard over and over from our clients that making investments in this space can be very costly, and they want to make sure that theyre constantly getting the return. The second overarching mission that we have is to deliver solutions. What I mean by solutions is really [the] specific solving [of] industry problems. … So youll see more solutions from us, and those solutions are going to heavily leverage our technology in business intelligence and in information management.
What, specifically, are IBMs deliverables for business intelligence?
We typically lead with our P-series hardware. … And we will lead with our Fastkey storage. We have a software platform that weve been evolving called Data Warehouse Edition. And underneath the covers of Data Warehouse Edition is DB2; DB2 CubeViews, which is our metadata bridge; theres the Information Integrator, which allows you to get to heterogeneous sources of data; theres the Intelligent Miner capability, which allows you to do scoring and analytics; and theres Warehouse Manager, which is rudimentary ETL [extraction, transformation and loading]. If you dont have ETL today, well give you some ETL capabilities. And theres actually a capability called OfficeConnect, which allows you to use spreadsheets as the presentation layer of the Data Warehouse Edition.
Now going forward, this software stack is going to evolve. So were going to enable, for instance, Alphablox to be the developer capability to develop analytical applications for that stack.
On top of that software and that hardware stack, we layer our services capabilities.
What is the single product IBM is looking to deliver?
Data Warehouse Edition. Today, those capabilities can be sold as different products. So if somebody wants just the mining capability, they can get that. We packaged all of the functionality that we thought was needed to build a warehouse from scratch. And were offering it at an attractive price point. But the desire, and what I will be delivering next year, is to come to a fully integrated platform.
How would that differ from Data Warehouse Edition today?
Same functionality, except it comes in one product, but weve fully integrated it. Today, some of the integration has to take place behind the scenes. But weve fully integrated it, and we will enhance it, so it has Alphablox, for instance.
How would you say IBMs approach to BI differs from Microsoft [Corp.]s and Oracle [Corp.]s approaches to BI?
We dont believe in the one-size-fits-all strategy, which I think differentiates us from our competitors. I also think what differentiates us from our competitors is the fact that we will deliver all the capabilities as an integrated package. We deliver the server, we deliver the storage, we deliver the services. Our competitors cant do that. Theyre software companies. They must partner.