Saturday, April 28

Sybase late to the party

Pretty much every vendor has a tool to move information into a data warehouse - an ETL (extract, transform, load) tool. More recently with Oracle and Sunopsis, they have a competing offering with E-L-T tools. And some vendors offer ETLT, like Microsoft's SSIS.

So isn't Sybase late to this party by announcing they are adding to their suite an ETL tool? Unfortunately it does look similar to Oracle's approach of an embedded ETL tool within their database. I'm sure there are technical differences and I'm sure some would say the Sybase IQ ETL tool is separate from and can be used independantly from their Sybase ASE database.

But what's the point?!?

The question if I were a company or IT department looking for ETL is, "if I don't have the Sybase database, why would I look at Sybase ETL tools?" Oracle has a similar problem. I have never heard of Oracle's ETL tools (or any Oracle BI tools) being used with anything but Oracle databases.

It's one of the major drawbacks of having an integrated database with BI/DW tools. Yes, there are advantages to being tightly coupled but aren't they just technical. Are there "true" advantages for companies having an all Oracle or Sybase or Microsoft shop?

Their mantra: the synergy of our single vendor offering is in the overall value, where the value is more than the sum of the pieces (one plus one is three).

But what about doing a 'mix and match' by taking the best tools from the best vendors? Our society wants choice, your company should also have choice. Choosing the tools that meet your company's critieria, such as price, functionality, and ease of use, would reduce your risks of relying on one vendor.
The moral: Purchase tools based on your specific meaningful criteria and don't be caught up with the 'we have that tool as well' sales game.

At least having a choice will ensure you get what you asked for. And you never know, that may be from one vendor afterall.

Monday, April 23

Best BI Workplaces in Canada

More than 20,000 employees from companies across Canada participated in the 2007 “Best Workplaces in Canada” survey. The list of Best Workplaces in Canada 2007 was published in the April 23rd's issue of Canadian Business.

I went through the list searching for any BI-related companies and found these:

19th Microsoft Canada
28th Online Business Systems
37th Deloitte and Touche

Not a great showing for BI vendors, except for Microsoft BI where their Canadian BI group is gaining momentum with mid to large installations. I'm sure they are looking forward to their PerformancePoint 2007 release.

Online Business Systems has a BI and integration consulting practice throughout Canada and US. And Deloitte and Touche also has BI practitioners but probably wants to focus more on business transformation, strategy and business cases around BI and DW.

Typically companies that have the "right" culture, like Canada's 50 best, attract the best and brightest people. Who wants to spend time working for a "bad boss" or a company with a culture of holding back their people?

What I'm getting at is the companies that can hire the "best people" will probably give you the best products and services in the end. If you're interested in doing BI, then I would start with these best.

It would be great to see more BI companies on that list but these 3 are a beginning.

Wednesday, April 11

BI Success Checklist

Excellent post by Timo Elliott about the five fatal flaws of BI. I would use these for any and every BI project. Are you starting BI internally and what to be successful? Use Timo's list as your guide.

Because I work on different projects for various organizations, having a checklist like Timo's would help me focus my efforts in the direction of success each and every time.

Friday, April 6

Finally a MS BI conference

Microsoft's first ever BI conference is in Seattle from May 9 - 11. I'm going so I can get an in-depth understanding of the ways Microsoft is being innovative for BI. Specifically whether PerformancePoint 2007 will compete with the industry's entrenched competitors. I'm also going to see what companies are attending as exhibitors and sponsors, as this should show who's fully on board with the Microsoft play.

The conference is expecting 2500 people but if you're there, I hope we can catch up. Drop me an email if you're going.