This past TDWI in Chicago ran from May 11 -16, 2008. Each conference focuses on providing technical and practical information to participants as well as the opportunity to network with peers and industry experts. In addition to being a key center of learning within the business intelligence community, many software providers take advantage of the event to introduce new software offerings as well as announce their entry into the North American market.
One of the interesting areas to note within BI is the increase in niche vendors that cater to specific areas within business intelligence to provide best of breed offerings that complement a full BI stack. As consolidations continue, the acquired vendor software becomes integrated into overall product offerings to enable organizations to pick and choose the solutions that most meet their requirements from one vendor. Although this strategy might work for some, other organizations still want the expertise of niche vendors or want to pick the best solutions for their organization that fit together but that don’t necessarily come from one place. Three such vendors that were first time exhibitors at TDWI include i-lluminate, Expressor, and ChartSearch and are working to position themselves within this clearly changing market.
illuminate (www.i-lluminate.com) adds another dimension to data warehousing. Without the constraints of building out star schemas or adding data relationships and dependencies, queries can be created on the fly to sift through data quickly and effectively. For example, if a request is made for trend data over three years within one month, the query results only search the required columns to quicken query times and enable truly adhoc queries without the constraints of searching through multiple indexes.
Expressor (www.expressor-software.com) is data integration software that enables real-time processing of data, reusable business rules, and consolidates data types to enable effective metadata management. For instance, part numbers that may be represented in several different ways across multiple data sources are combined into a centralized structure that helps enable overall MDM and data governance.
ChartSearch (www.chartsearch.net) is a new way to look at search. With a strong focus on unstructured data and searching text strings, ChartSearch actually takes the opposite approach by enabling end users to search for numerical data by asking questions. Instead of submitting a query and waiting for results, users ask questions and numerical results are provided. For instance, if an end user is interested in financial results or trends based data, their question will solicit results to enable quick access to enable further numerical analysis.
General market implications
As with any new entrant to the market, long-term presence is always questionable. However, because of the continued shifts and entry of niche players it is the opportune time for new software offerings as well as for vendors to position themselves in a way that helps them carve out their niche in the industry within the next three to five years. Additionally, each of the above vendors has key differentiators that will help them carve out a niche for themselves within the industry.
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