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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

July 2008 Archives

It seems that everywhere I look the number of vendors gearing up for Operational BI is just massing as if awaiting an onslaught on the market. Among them include HP, IBM, InforSense, Progress, Tibco, SL, ThinkAnalytics and many more. Key to this is event driven data integration, in-memory data, predictive analytics and rules engines. Vendors like SL have even released a data cache for in-memory analytics with its RTView product. Progress is also pushing with its Aparma product and long term pioneer ThinkAnalytics are also doing well. Clearly the giants are also moving to get all their pieces in play. IBM's acquisition of German rules vendor iLOG looks like it could also be used in the world of on-demand and automated decisioning. Also SAP Business Objects Labs have released a prototype on event-driven BI and seem to be partnering with SPSS on predictive analytics.

It's all heating up, yet in the UK it staggers me the number of companies that are not seeing the benefit of these emerging technologies. Some verticals would reap massive benefits by exploiting this technology. If you are interested in Operational BI drop me an email at or check out some of my articles on this either on my B-Eye-Network channel or on my web site and

Posted July 30, 2008 6:41 PM
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Why is it every time I take a week off on holiday something major happens in the BI market? I am of course talking about Microsoft's Announcement to acquire the data warehouse appliance vendor DatAllegro. The message on this is certainly obvious, the scaling of SQL Server. It's a very interesting announcement. With the exception of Netezza who have done well here in the UK and in Europe, many of the DW appliance vendors have been struggling. Almost all of them have been chasing business in the same vertical industries that have high volumes of data (e.g. Telco, Retail, Financial Services). Now the one giant that people were wondering about in terms of parallel DBMS scalability, has moved. However we are clearly going to have to wait to see how well SQL Server scales in this kind of setup. Even prior to this announcement the myth that SQL Server would not scale beyond 1 Terabyte has long been proved incorrect however. I have certainly had clients running single instance SQL Server BI system databases at around 13-15 terabytes for a number of years now. No doubt there are larger configurations than that out there. However this announcement will certainly lift Microsoft customer confidence that Redmond are serious about offering a scalable SQL Server option on non-proprietary hardware that starts to compete with the parallel DBMS offerings of IBM, Oracle and Teradata as well as other DW Appliance offerings. Time will tell what will happen and how competitive this will be. SQL Server Integration Services (the Microsoft ETL tool that ships with SQL Server) will also have to scale however to get larger data volumes on to a parallel SQL Server. So we have to see what Microsoft will do here. This announcement also offers up an interesting option for Kalido who recently annoounced support to generate for Microsoft SQL Server .

DW Appliance, Tag: Business Intelligence

Posted July 28, 2008 1:47 PM
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Yesterday Kalido announced the availability of Kalido Universal Information Director for Microsoft SQL Server which will speed up development of BI systems based on the Microsoft Platform. By using Universal Director (part of the Kalido Information Engine suite of technologies) it is possible to capture the metadata and automate the generation and population of Microsoft SQL Server® Analysis Services (SSAS) cubes with data from the Kalido Dynamic Information Warehouse™. Automatic generation of SSIS jobs, SSAS cubes needed speeds up Microsoft BI system development and enables rapidly constructed SSAS cubes to then be accessed from Microsoft Office Excel, PerformancePoint Server and SharePoint. Also 3rd party BI tools can access this data. Effectively this is like Kalido acting as a wrapper for the Microsoft environment.

Note that Kalido is supports automatic generation of SAP's Business Objects Universes and IBM's Cognos platform. If Kalido keeps adding heterogeneous BI platform support it could put itself in a powerful position with respect to being able to leverage common metadata to integrate BI systems built on multiple heterogeneous technology platforms across different lines of business in large enterprises. I have yet to determine if Kalido technologies can be deployed on the Eclipse platform. If so this would be even more promising. Also this announcement of Microsoft support may well also be welcomed by small and medium size businesses (SMBs) who struggle to afford, find and retain skilled resources to build BI systems. Price point will be all important in the SMB market however especially as open source BI offerings have also penetrated this market.

Posted July 16, 2008 1:08 PM
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Microsoft have been somewhat quiet in the enterprise data governance arena since their acquisition of MDM vendor Stratature in 2007. Since then they took that product off the market which clearly indicated that Stratature was a piece of a bigger puzzle they are building . Of course they already have their SQL Server Integration Services data integration tool (part of the SQL Server offering). Yesterday they added yet another piece to their solution by announcing their intent to acquire Zoomix a data quality vendor. So it seems that Redmond is clearly building and end-to-end enterprise data management offering which now includes data quality, data integration and master data management. We still need to see their solution for automated discovery and mapping (could come from Zoomix), metadata management (including business vocabularies and lineage), taxonomy generation and the ability to publish information services and use them from within SharePoint, Windows Workflow Foundation, BizTalk and Microsoft Dynamics.

Although Microsoft are late into this market I wouldn't be at all surprised if later this year or early next they unveil a major competitive offering to the independent MDM vendors as well as the Data Governance Vendors such as SAP Business Objects EIM, IBM Information Server, Informatica and DataFlux.

Posted July 15, 2008 8:57 AM
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