Business analytics software provider Informatica has revamped its product set, adding a new data warehouse aimed at faster and wider analytics deployment through a mix-and-match approach.
Acknowledged that many enterprises already have competitive front-end analysis products, the Informatica software includes a straightforward interface for other solutions.
The revamped product set consists of three main modules. The existing PowerCenter is complemented by PowerAnalyzer, renamed from its Analytic Server product, and the new Warehouse. The trio form a matrix sharing a common database architecture.
"There is no understanding of the scope of analytic applications and, in business intelligence, nobody has dominance," said Matthew Goldsbrough, European marketing director at Informatica.
"We wanted to bring in a modular, packaged approach so that users could decide how they use the software through an interface."
He explained that users needed little or no training to become productive, and that they could start small at low cost, which they could grow into a complete system.
"This release is important as the organisation is likely to have made investments in potentially competing products or business intelligence components," said Ian Charlesworth, of analyst Butler Group. "[Companies] don't need to rip them out in order to proceed with deployment."
Among several ways of constructing a business intelligence infrastructure, Informatica has chosen to break end-to-end capabilities into bite-sized chunks.
But Charlesworth warned that, in recommending a plug-and-play methodology, Informatica could be over-simplifying what is a complex system. "Ensuring data quality remains the cornerstone of a reliable business intelligence environment," he said.
IDC has estimated that 70 per cent of the work in extracting useful analytics takes place in back-end processes such as collecting and transforming data, and that this is where the highest level of customer product loyalty exists.
Goldsbrough claimed that Informatica has concentrated a lot of effort into pre-building back-end functionality culminating in Informatica Warehouse.
Warehouse consists of four business warehouses which, in turn, break down into 14 subject-specific modules:
- Customer relationship analytics (sales, marketing, service and web channel)
- Financial (sales, purchase and nominal ledger and profitability)
- Human resources (including compensation and scorecard)
- Supply chain (planning, sourcing, inventory and quality).
Charlesworth stressed that the most important aspect of the subject-specific warehouses is the ability to combine them to create cross-functional solution sets.
These provide a rapid way of gaining some functionality, he said, but would be subject to additional customisation to suit the specific business.
Completing the trio of products, Informatica PowerCenter provides data from many sources in a variety of formats with its PowerCenterRT variant, launched earlier this year, which interfaces to applications in real time.
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