Moving Data In Real Time

Accenture's system will pull data from a variety of sources into Excel and Word
Accenture is quietly shopping around a new system that lets users copy data in real time from a wide range of back-end sources into Microsoft Excel and Word. The technology relies heavily on Web services and information-integration software from Juice Software Inc.

Packaged business-intelligence tools generally access pre-aggregated data stored in offline data warehouses. Accenture's system, called Live Information Models, pulls structured and unstructured data from databases, enterprise resource planning apps, legacy systems, and external data sources such as news wires and Web sites. The data streams into Excel or Word, where users manipulate it for their own needs.

Using Excel to access enterprise system data "gives the end users what they really want," Giga Information Group analyst Philip Russom says. Microsoft's Active X Data Objects technology also links Excel to back-end data sources, he says, but it's limited to point-to-point connections.

Accenture is showing prototypes of Live Information Models to potential customers, particularly in pharmaceutical and financial-services markets, but no companies are using the technology yet.

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