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Business Intelligence: Blog Post

The Data-Driven Decade

SAS joins crowded vendor landscape moving to bring affordable BI to the masses

We're only in the first years of the data-driven decade. More companies will be making more of their business decisions -- and also added revenue -- on their own data services.

Investing in good data analytics infrastructure now allows companies to know themselves and their markets far better. It eliminates guessing and brings more of a real-time picture of their operations, challenges and opportunities.

Good data organizers can also then share or sell that data and analytics to partners and/or customers, and acquire meaningful additional outside data themselves from other data services purveyors.

The trick for IT is to allow their companies to extract business intelligence (BI) from these vast data sets at an affordable price. And more companies, that is small and medium businesses, will want in on the data and analytics revolution. Competition will drive them to.


So what's needed now is a change in the economics of business intelligence via value-oriented offerings for the mid-market. Traditional entry points for large data warehouses are often $500,000 and up, not to mention the ongoing operations costs and need to acquire data and systems management skills.

BI comes to wider audience

SAS at the A2010 conference last week launched Rapid Predictive Modeller (RPM), a service targeting non-analytical business users to help create more BI reports. SAS RPM joins the latest release of SAS Enterprise Miner 6.2, which includes an add-in for Microsoft Excel.

These steps toward making BI and reports available to more users and uses at a lower price will no doubt be welcome to SMBs and enterprises dripping in data, but struggling to make sense of it all.

We're only now seeing massively parallel data warehousing appliances priced at the $50,000 mark. And these appliances tend to be cheaper to administrate and operate. Aster Data Systems, for example, recently came out with a lower-cost competitive solution dubbed MapReduce Data Warehouse Appliance – Express Edition. Aster also has a new CEO, Quentin Gallivan, announced today.

Aster, Netezza and Teradata are all focusing on the mid-market. Green Plum was recently bought by EMC. A recent Forrester report put Teradata, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft at the head of the data warehouse market, with Netezza, Sybase and SAP noted for niche deployments.

Oracle and HP teamed up two years ago on the Exadata appliance for Oracle warehouse workloads. And now Oracle is putting its Sun Microsystems acquisition to use for its own Exadata appliances line-up.

Expect a vendor slugfest on the lower end of the data warehousing and BI market in the next few years. It will be fascinating to see how these vendors will both enter the entry-level markets, while also seeking to maintain the high-end pricing for the largest users. There could be a value sweet spot in the middle.

We should therefore expect to see prices come down on these systems across the board, making the systems more attainable for even more types of uses and users.

More Stories By Dana Gardner

At Interarbor Solutions, we create the analysis and in-depth podcasts on enterprise software and cloud trends that help fuel the social media revolution. As a veteran IT analyst, Dana Gardner moderates discussions and interviews get to the meat of the hottest technology topics. We define and forecast the business productivity effects of enterprise infrastructure, SOA and cloud advances. Our social media vehicles become conversational platforms, powerfully distributed via the BriefingsDirect Network of online media partners like ZDNet and IT-Director.com. As founder and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, Dana Gardner created BriefingsDirect to give online readers and listeners in-depth and direct access to the brightest thought leaders on IT. Our twice-monthly BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcasts examine the latest IT news with a panel of analysts and guests. Our sponsored discussions provide a unique, deep-dive focus on specific industry problems and the latest solutions. This podcast equivalent of an analyst briefing session -- made available as a podcast/transcript/blog to any interested viewer and search engine seeker -- breaks the mold on closed knowledge. These informational podcasts jump-start conversational evangelism, drive traffic to lead generation campaigns, and produce strong SEO returns. Interarbor Solutions provides fresh and creative thinking on IT, SOA, cloud and social media strategies based on the power of thoughtful content, made freely and easily available to proactive seekers of insights and information. As a result, marketers and branding professionals can communicate inexpensively with self-qualifiying readers/listeners in discreet market segments. BriefingsDirect podcasts hosted by Dana Gardner: Full turnkey planning, moderatiing, producing, hosting, and distribution via blogs and IT media partners of essential IT knowledge and understanding.