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Mike Ferguson

Welcome to my blog on the UK Business Intelligence Network. I hope to help you stay in touch with hot topics and reality on the ground in the UK and European business intelligence markets and to provide content, opinion and expertise on business intelligence (BI) and its related technologies. I also would relish it if you too can share your own valuable experiences. Let's hear what's going on in BI in the UK.

About the author >

Mike Ferguson is Managing Director of Intelligent Business Strategies Limited, a leading information technology analyst and consulting company. As lead analyst and consultant, he specializes in enterprise business intelligence, enterprise business integration, and enterprise portals. He can be contacted at +44 1625 520700 or via e-mail at

May 2008 Archives

The explosion of web feeds on the internet and now also within the enterprise rightly warrants the question "Is it possible to analyse feed data in real time?". The answer has got to be a resounding yes and opens up new ways to use BI that go beyond traditional BI systems. Analysing feed data in real time may be of significant business value and pushes corporations into the new world of Complex Event Processing (CEP). New extentions to SQL are being developed by various vendors to allow querying of live enent data. An example here would be Streambase.

Increasingly we are also seeing Enterprise Feed Servers (e,g, Newsgator) starting to be deployed inside the enterprise to aggregate RSS and ATOM feeds coming from internal and external sites so as to deliver relevant aggregated feed content to different people in different roles across the enterprise. Imagine if you could analyze feeds from news providers like Bloomberg and Reuters or if you could analyze messages as they flow over an enterprise service bus in a SOA. Sounds BAM doesn't it? But is is more than that. Imagine RFIDs and the event clouds they generate. Looking for patterns in event clouds is what CEP is about. All this analysis happens way before data gets to any kind of data warehouse or data mart. This is a really high value return on investment opportunity to push BI systems into the world of 'always on analysis'. The world of events and feeds are upon us. Time to get busy don't you think? If you are doing anything in this area in your own organisation please share it with us, it would be great to hear from you.

Posted May 17, 2008 10:34 PM
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The onslaught of virtualisation seems to be gaining momentum with vendors offering virtualisation of servers, PCs, applications and also the systems management tools to manage virtual server farms in a virtual data centre underpinned by grid computing. So the question is how does this apply to BI? BI tools are just effectively applications after all running on application servers and now as we deploy BI services it is clear that these can be deployed on virtual servers in a virtual data centre which could combine in-house BI services and BI as a Service (BIaaS) offerings.

So expect to see the BI virtualisation begin to appear. Already we have seen BI vendors like SAS stepping into the market with a VMWare offering and Vertica coining the term 'cloud based' analytics. I think this is the beginning of the flood gates opening on BI virtualisation. The challenge for most of us is how to best configure our BI systems to exploit virtualisation and how to manage a virtual BI environment to optimise performance, availability, reliability and scalability. If you are doing anything in your shop in this area please let us know. There is much to learn in this rapidly advancing area

Posted May 15, 2008 4:11 PM
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