Informix is building a portfolio of data mining applications to let e-commerce operations collect and make sense of customer and supplier information.
In December, Informix will launch i.Decide, which will use data mining tools to analyse customer activity on a Web site, automatically collate the informaion and present it in a spreadsheet.
That information would then be fed back into an automated merchandising application that would instantaneously change the products offered to the customer.
Informix also plans to develop its MetaCube OLAP engine with an application to enable users to analyse the past behaviour of their suppliers, and thus determine where to do business in future.
MetaCube was made database independent in February, so the proposed tools could in theory also be database independent. Informix's e-commerce push is an effort to make the company less dependent on its database product line.
However, existing products in the company's i.Family of products, such as i.Sell (a rules engine that automatically assesses a buyer's behaviour and makes offers accordingly) and i.Reach (an Internat-based information delivery tool released last quarter) are not truly database independent.
Within the company, the debate continues on whether to make new software independent of Informix's database. "We've been talking about it," Wes Raffel, vice president and general manager of the i.Informix division, told PC Week. "We could run i.Sell against another database, but it will not scale as well and it will impact performance."
Future additions to the i.family could include i.Learn (now in trial at US telecommunications firm Sprint) and i.Marketing, the company said.
Rob Walters, vice president for business development in Informix's data warehouse division, told PC Week that the company is now considering acquisitions in the business intelligence and data mining field.
"We have several deals on the table," he said.
More enterprise news, p19.
- Informix plans to launch a joint marketing campaign with Sun, independent software vendors and systems integrators to counter the marketing might of rivals Oracle, IBM and Microsoft.
The company is also investigating shared-risk ventures with application service providers, to sell its database and family of analytic tools to large companies on a pay-as-you-go basis.
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