Spring's Integration Rites

The integration marketplace heated up a little more in the last week. Is Web analytics next?
Maybe it's the warm weather, but BI vendor news is popping up like springtime daisies. As of last week, we'd already heard IBM say it was buying data integration firm Ascential. Then Tibco Software said it's debuting a new, better tool for helping organizations aggregate data. As it turns out, we hadn't yet glimpsed all the changes the month would be yielding in the data integration market.

Informatica this week said it struck a joint development deal with Composite Software to thrust itself ahead of schedule into the world of EII (enterprise information integration).

EII is a form of data integration, but with a little something extra. In case you're not familiar with EII -- and that'd be natural enough -- it's basically the building of federated views of data from multiple sources, combined with reporting. But there's something more that sets EII apart: It doesn't require a data warehouse or any other central information repository. If Informatica and Composite can make their tools work together successfully, both firms will have helped themselves hugely on the shifting sands of the integration marketplace.

And speaking of dynamic competitive landscapes, there was also recent news in the Web analytics area that has the potential to turn that marketplace upside down. Google, which has become expert at grabbing everyone's attention when they announce practically anything, effectively entered the online analytics business by acquiring Urchin Software, a San Diego-based firm. Maybe the high-ups at Google just like being coy, but the company didn't reveal much about its plans, except to say the acquisition will add to the Web search giant's "advertising and publishing products."

Google got the attention of at least one established player in the Web analytics market. Omniture, a firm with a strong reputation for its stand-alone analysis tool, released a statement on the news from Google. Omniture said, in part, "It is an interesting move that will drive the market's education by addressing certain aspects of online marketing measurement. This education will accelerate demand for a full, integrated view of online marketing and ROI measurement provided by a comprehensive, on-demand Web analytics vendor." So in other words, thanks, Google, for bringing attention to Web analytics. But customers are still going to like "comprehensive, on-demand" vendors like us more than they like you. We'll see how that turns out.

Finally, while I've got spring's rites on your mind, check out a predictive analytics story that our writer Thomas Jamieson put together for Business Intelligence Pipeline. Turns out there are a couple university professors who used SAS tools to predict which NCAA basketball teams would get picked for at-large bids in the men's tournament, which reaches its crescendo this week. And as if that's not enough, they're also now using predictive analytics to pick winners -- with 75 percent accuracy. Hey, it's not perfect, but it's better than I've ever done in my office pool.