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SAS, DataFlux Unveil 'Project Unity'

SAS and its data-management subsidiary plan to combine technologies into one platform encompassing data quality, data integration and master data management for SAS's business intelligence software.
SAS and its subsidiary DataFlux have announced plans to build a single data-management platform for SAS's business intelligence software.

Dubbed Project Unity, the technology would encompass data quality, data integration and master data management. The platform, introduced this week at DatFlux's user conference in Las Vegas, Nev., combines the technologies of both companies, including SAS's Data Integration Studio, Enterprise Integration Server and Data Federation Server; and DataFlux's dfPower Studio and Integration Server.

The move is expected to end separate data management efforts by the companies, a strategy that led to a potentially confusing situation where both companies were "talking up" the same market, Ian Charlesworth, analyst for market researcher Ovum, said in a commentary.

"Something had to change, and the resolution could proceed in one of two ways: either subsume DataFlux into SAS or give ownership of data integration to DataFlux," Charlesworth said. "As a smaller entity, DataFlux has the benefit of being more agile and flexible, and thus the bold yet correct strategy has been taken and formally announced with Project Unity."

Data management is a key underlying component of busines intelligence, since the accuracy and overall usefulness of analytics depends on consistent data quality. But while the technology vision of SAS and DataFlux appear clear, the go-to-market strategy remains muddled, because there has been no public disclosure on which company will lead in marketing the new platform, Charlesworth said.

"The danger is that the technical clarity that Unity aims to create will become lost in a fog of compromise," he said. "What needs to happen is for the marketing of Unity to be owned by the organisation now responsible for its development."

SAS acquired DataFlux in June 2000. DataFlux, however, has retained its corporate and product names.