You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2011.

Kalido recently introduced version 9 of its Information Engine product. The company has been around for 10 years but has had difficulty establishing its identity in the information management market. Kalido was perhaps ahead of its time, partly a vendor of data integration, partly master data management and partly data governance. As an example of the positioning challenge, its core product, Information Engine, while not a data integration tool, could in some cases provide sufficient capabilities to meet an organization’s data integration needs. Its real value, however, comes from authoring and management of information about the user’s data warehouse.

Information Engine introduces an abstraction layer that separates the physical design of a warehouse from its logical design. Its repository holds information about the data model used in data warehouses and data marts, as well as the associated processes of managing the warehouse life cycle. This includes information about measures, hierarchies, aggregates, change management routines, security and auditing. By looking at the data warehouse as a process rather than a physical implementation of a data model, Kalido can help organizations manage processes that enhance data governance. For example, workflows with approvals and audit trails are a natural by-product of this process-based approach.

With version 9, Kalido continues to speed up data warehouse implementations. It pushes more of the processing down into the underlying database, which supports extract, load and transform (ELT) processes rather than the more conventional extract, transform and load (ETL). Doing more processing in the database using ELT eliminates the need to move the data twice: once to a transformation engine and then again to the data warehouse. The key change to support ELT in the new release is the introduction of staging tables, where data can land and be transformed before being loaded into the appropriate data warehouse tables. Version 9 also has more data integration features and additional testing capabilities.

Kalido also offers master data management (MDM) capabilities across multiple domains, derived from the process-driven approach of Information Engine. Kalido MDM provides separate interfaces for data stewards as well as users of the master data. Data stewards, who oversee the master data processes, can define and perform data matching, identity resolution, validation and publication. Kalido provides connectors to Trillium and DataFlux software for external data validation and claims to be building them for products from others. Users of the master data can search through it, browse the data model and issue change requests.

The most interesting aspect of the company’s process-driven approach is the ability to capture and apply data governance policies. As information management capabilities mature, organizations can focus more attention on data governance. Kalido has recognized this opportunity, and while for years its messaging has included data governance, only last year did it introduce Kalido Data Governance Director as a separate product. Data Governance Director uses a policy management metaphor in which organizations define their data governance policies as well as metrics to measure whether the policies are being enforced. Our benchmark research into data governance found that designing and maintaining policies and rules was the top objective for data governance in 75 percent of organizations and a current lack of satisfaction with current approaches. The research also found that a lack of sufficient policies was one of the top barriers towards a single version of data to leverage across the enterprise.

We are currently conducting benchmark research on trends in information management to help us understand whether interest in data governance has risen, and to determine the relative priorities of other information management processes, including master data management, data integration and data quality. I expect we’ll see rising interest in data governance, which could bode well for products such as Kalido’s Data Governance Director.

One of the challenges Kalido still faces is communicating its positioning clearly to the market. Information Engine 9 includes data integration features that make Kalido more competitive, yet the company does not attempt to compete directly in the data integration market – nor do I think it should. I would prefer to see more partnerships with those vendors, which would allow Kalido to focus where it can add the most value: managing the processes associated with data warehousing. In particular, Data Governance Director represents a unique approach that’s worth exploring. Even if your organization isn’t ready to purchase the product, you can probably learn something useful about data governance that you can apply to your own processes.

Regards,

David Menninger – VP & Research Director

Tibco recently introduced Spotfire 4.0, the most recent version of its interactive discovery and business intelligence (BI) tool. Spotfire comes at BI through visualization. It uses in-memory processing and good user interface design to develop highly interactive displays of data. Version 4.0 attempts to enhance Spotfire’s dashboard capabilities and offers integration with enterprise collaboration tools. The former capabilities are necessary to broaden Spotfire’s appeal and applicability for more BI projects, but the latter capabilities are more interesting since they represent a fundamental shift in the way enterprises use business intelligence.

I’ve written about the trend toward consumerization of collaborative BI that is part of new benchmark research in 2012. Spotfire 4.0 supports integration with Microsoft SharePoint and Tibco’s own collaboration tool tibbr. SharePoint integration will earn Tibco points with IT organizations, but tibbr integration is more likely to resonate with end users. SharePoint represents the “old school” model of portal-based collaboration, while tibbr represent the newer message-based form of collaboration. If you are not familiar with tibbr, it is similar to Twitter and Salesforce.com Chatter, but it is designed exclusively for use in an enterprise environment. For example, Spotfire’s analytics are nicely integrated with tibbr. While viewing a Spotfire 4.0 analysis you can send a message with the analysis embedded in it. Within tibbr the reader of the message can interact with the analysis and delve deeper or explore other aspects of the data. Spotfire 4.0 dashboards can include tibbr chat streams bringing together the notion of analyzing data and capturing the discussion about the information.

It remains to be seen if tibbr will grow sufficiently in popularity to help fuel the revolution in BI that we identified earlier this year. Critical mass of collaborators is a key ingredient to success in collaborative BI. If Spotfire or tibbr supported bridges to other social media tools, such as Twitter and Chatter, it could broaden the appeal of the new capabilities. IBM and SAP have taken a similar approach with their collaboration platforms, but some vendors without their own collaboration platform have no choice but to support third-party platforms. As I indicated in a recent post, one such vendor, QlikTech, is working to integrate its QlikView with Chatter.

In regard to new dashboard capabilities, Spotfire 4.0 introduces display objects and provides more finely grained control over existing objects. New objects include sparklines, which are small line graphs that can fit in a row of data, and conditional icons that are often used to give a visual indication of the value relative to its target as well as whether the value is trending up or down. These types of icons are common to performance management applications. Users now can control the display of dashboard objects more precisely. Because of Spotfire’s interactivity, in previous versions the dashboards sometimes appeared cluttered with various controls for altering the data selections. With the new capabilities, the dashboards can have a cleaner look that makes it easier for casual users to focus on the relevant data. It also is easier to embed Spotfire components in other portals and dashboards.

It is disappointing that version 4.0 does not enhance mobile capabilities in any significant way. While Spotfire supports the Apple iPad with a native application, that is really just a wrapper around its browser-based capabilities. When I worked with the application I found the user interface awkward relative to native offerings from competitors. For example, you could not pinch, zoom or pan with gestures. I expect we’ll see more investment in mobile capabilities going forward, especially since mobile and collaborative technologies are closely intertwined.

The bottom line is that Spotfire 4.0 incorporates key collaborative capabilities that can help organizations transform their business intelligence processes. It also includes incremental improvements in its dashboards that should make the product easier to use. If you are already using Spotfire or tibbr, you’ll likely appreciate what version 4.0 adds. Others who are looking to expand their collaborative BI capabilities should consider the combined offering.

Regards,

David Menninger – VP & Research Director

Follow on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 22 other followers

RSS David Menninger’s Analyst Perspective’s at Ventana Research

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

David Menninger – Twitter

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 45,986 hits
%d bloggers like this: