Oracle, IBM and others have formed an alliance to develop standards to make it easier for users to build data warehouses and swap information between ebusiness systems.
The alliance also includes Unisys, NCR, Hyperion Solutions, UBS AG, Genesis Development and Dimension EDI., which will work together on the Common Warehouse Metadata Iinterchange (CWMI) standard.
This will be submitted to the Object Management Group (OMG), and a revised specification is expected later this year, with ratification due by early 2000.
The CWMI standard is based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and will enable enterprise systems to pool mission critical data required for business decision making by defining a common metadata format for all data warehouse and business intelligence products.
The alliance claims that existing software for creating data warehouses and ebusiness systems is based on proprietary data formats, which prevents applications from sharing information easily.
Michael Howard, vice president of Oracle's data warehouse programme office, said the specification was the result of a year long design effort, which analysed and integrated metadata requirements from data warehousing and metadata products and related industry standards.
"The benefits of CWMI are so significant that it compelled competitors and partners alike to come together to create a common language," he claimed.
According to research firm, the Meta Group, more than 90 per cent of Fortune 1000 companies either have deployed or are in the process of evaluating a data warehouse as the basis of their corporate decision making.
Aaron Zornes, executive vice president of the Meta Group's Application Delivery Strategies unit, said: "Solutions that address the metadata interchange issue will greatly help companies that are executing data warehousing, ebusiness and knowledge management implementations."
CWMI provides users with an object model, a set of application programming interfaces, interchange formats and services that define the extraction, transformation, transportation, loading integration and analysis processes of a data warehouse.
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